The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Pulaski Bridge

writhing mass

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In today’s post- a vehicle accident in DUPBO, LIC.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Happily perambulating upon Jackson Avenue in venerable Hunter Point recently, a cacophony of automotive horns heralded my arrival in DUPBO- Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp- at the corner of Vernon and Jackson. I have actually used Vernon Jackson as an alias, in the past, it should be noted. To my ears, Vernon Jackson is an extremely credible sounding name, the sort of handle which a bounty hunter or hard hitting journalist might be blessed with.

At any rate, there was an awful traffic tie up, and even the legendary patience of the Queens driver was wearing thin.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Motorists in Queens, it should be pointed out, drive angry. The slightest transgression- not immediately hitting the gas at the precise second which a red light turns green, slowing down for any reason, allowing a passenger to debark the automobile- is greeted by an enthusiastic usage of the horn. There is also a societal taboo against going around an obstacle, and one is obliged to sit and honk at an obstruction until it is cleared away. In the case of this particular tie up, it seemed that an “accidental” had occurred.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Such “accidentals” are common, here in this place where highways and rail systems converge upon and feed into those narrow corridors which allow egress to the Shining City. Literally hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross western Queens on any given day, the odds that collisions wouldn’t proliferate would be astronomical. When I say “collision,” it is because I presume that both of the unfortunate conveyances found at the center of this scene were in motion.

Were one of them static, it would instead be an “allision.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The honking continued as I wove my way though tangle, on my way to Greenpoint. During my walk from Astoria, a roughly one and one half mile saunter accomplished in roughly forty minutes, I observed two vehicle accident scenes like this. One wonders if there is some database out there which describes the quantity of vehicular incidents in any given neighborhood?

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Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 29, 2013 at 12:15 am

dream swamp

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Progeny of an aforementioned early morning trek recently enacted across Long Island City from Astoria, these shots depict a February sunrise at certain points of land which adjoin the notorious Newtown Creek.

Driven by a period of certain insomniac ideations, a seasonal affliction whose annual appointment and arrival is scheduled between the months of December and March, the effects of this inability to sleep are are felt on both financial and interpersonal fronts. The good news is that I get a LOT of work done.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Possessing me for much of this year has been the job of updating and retooling of my “Magic Lantern” show, a slideshow presentation which describes and details the various noteworthy features and remarkable history of this loquacious cataract forming the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, a 3.8 mile long industrial canal known as the Newtown Creek.

The modern version is designed with HD television and computer screens in mind (prior versions were designed for projection), and has been complied at a ridiculous resolution (suitable for Blu-Ray, actually). The master file is a tad under two hours long, and includes literally every tributary, inlet, cove, rivet, and screw found along the banks of Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The “production model” comes in at just over 45 minutes, and will be the version presented this Friday at Observatory. It is still a ludicrously detailed accounting of the place, which is limited to a short geospatial distance from the Creek’s bulkheads. The long version examines a much larger area, but that’s something I’m not able to speak freely about yet.

I’d love it if you can join us at Observatory this Friday.

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show- presented by the Obscura Society NYC- at Observatory, on February the 15th- ThisFriday.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

ghastly stillness

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Whilst scuttling across Jackson Avenue in the venerable section of Long Island City recently, the ebb tide of traffic emerging from infinite Brooklyn carried a small vehicle which caught my eye. It was an Italian motor scooter, the perennially in fashion Vespa, but this one had a sidecar.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator has a soft spot in both heart and head concerning the subject of attaching sidecars to any sort of two wheeled transportation devices, as well as an acquired appreciation for the finer points of Italian vehicle design. I’ve never owned one, but were I to purchase such a conveyance, a sidecar for my little dog Zuzu would be part of the deal. I suppose Our Lady of the Pentacle could ride around in it too, but this desire is really built around seeing the dog in a leather aviators cap and goggles.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Practical transportation like this is commonplace in Europe and Asia, where streets are Medieval in size and scope, and the price of Petrol makes even the outrageous modern rate of $3-4 a gallon seem cheap. One of the things which future generations of Americans will never experience, and this may or may not be a bad thing, is cheap gasoline.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

lurk unseen

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned a day or two ago, your humble narrator is currently incapacitated due to a lower back injury. Manifestations of my inferior physical robustness such as this pop up occasionally, serving as reminders of a weak and sickly childhood. Seldom does one go more than a few weeks without some new complaint, which when compounded with the diminishment of advancing years, paints dire portents about long term survival.

from wikipedia

Back pain is regularly cited by national governments as having a major impact on productivity, through loss of workers on sick leave. Some national governments, notably Australia and the United Kingdom, have launched campaigns of public health awareness to help combat the problem, for example the Health and Safety Executive’s Better Backs campaign. In the United States lower back pain’s economic impact reveals that it is the number one reason for individuals under the age of 45 to limit their activity, second highest complaint seen in physician’s offices, fifth most common requirement for hospitalization, and the third leading cause for surgery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those around me grow increasingly wary watching this process working upon me. Extraordinary effort at maintaining an appearance and facade of bon vivant and vigor fall apart when these sudden spells occur. Unfortunately, this is my true self- timorous and wracked with an inconceivable number of physical maladies. For the moment, it is difficult to surmount a shallow set of stairs, let alone perform a perambulation.

from wikipedia

The lumbar region (or lower back region) is made up of five vertebrae (L1-L5). In between these vertebrae lie fibrocartilage discs (intervertebral discs), which act as cushions, preventing the vertebrae from rubbing together while at the same time protecting the spinal cord. Nerves stem from the spinal cord through foramina within the vertebrae, providing muscles with sensations and motor associated messages. Stability of the spine is provided through ligaments and muscles of the back, lower back and abdomen. Small joints which prevent, as well as direct, motion of the spine are called facet joints (zygapophysial joints).

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Pain, aside from the psychological torments and thwarted ambitions which are part and parcel of my daily round, is something I am quite used to. The particular complaint in my lower back has all the appearance of something temporary, a visitor for the holidays sent to remind me that time is short, and that despite all- I am human, all too human. At least I still have a heated and electrified house to live in, which seems to be a blessing in the New York City area these days. My little dog, however, seems quite concerned about me and has been sticking to my heels.

from wikipedia

Before the relatively recent discovery of neurons and their role in pain, various different body functions were proposed to account for pain. There were several competing early theories of pain among the ancient Greeks: Aristotle believed that pain was due to evil spirits entering the body through injury, and Hippocrates believed that it was due to an imbalance in vital fluids. In the 11th century, Avicenna theorized that there were a number of feeling senses including touch, pain and titillation, but prior to the scientific Renaissance in Europe pain was not well-understood, and it was thought that pain originated outside the body, perhaps as a punishment from God.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

spaces and travelers

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Lonely and alienated, your humble narrator nevertheless enjoys several safe harbors where pitying hosts allow me a chance to sit and recover from my endless marching across the great human hive. One of these spots is the North Brooklyn Boat Club in DUPBO, where the tug Cheyenne recently revealed itself to me. Cheyenne is employed by DonJon Marine, and on this day was hitched up to two recycling barges- likely coming from the SimsMetal dock adjoining the Dutch Kills tributary of the loquacious and far larger Newtown Creek. Welcome to yet another Maritime Sunday, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1965, by Ira S. Bushey and Sons of Brooklyn, New York (hull #628) as the tug Glenwood for Red Star Towing.

In 1970, she was acquired by Spentonbush Towing where she was renamed as the Cheyenne

The tug was later acquired by Amerada Hess where she retained her name.

She was then acquired by Empire Harbor Marine where the tug retained her name. The company would later be renamed as Port Albany Ventures.

In 2009, Port Albany Ventures was acquired by the DonJon Marine Company of Hillside, New Jersey.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The mast on Cheyenne was rigged backward, no doubt to allow passage under the Pulaski Bridge without having to waste time waiting for the bridge operators to open the span. The captain is quite visible in the wheel house, and he sounded a couple of toots to the crew at North Brooklyn Boat Club. He did seem aghast when I came into view, but who could blame anyone for reacting in shock to the sort of shambling mess and crude imposture which stares back at me from the mirror.

from donjon.com

Founded in 1964 by Mr. J. Arnold Witte, Donjon’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Donjon Marine’s principal business activities were marine salvage, marine transportation, and related services. Today Donjon Marine is a true provider of multifaceted marine services. Donjon’s controlled expansion into related businesses such as dredging, ferrous and non-ferrous recycling and heavy lift services are a natural progression, paralleling our record of solid technical and cost-effective performance.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Cheyenne fled the scene, no doubt alerting the authorities to the weird habitation witnessed in DUPBO. Regardless of the thunder struck expression on the Captain’s face, another of the dread realizations that a sailor’s life holds, a hearty Maritime Sunday shout out is nevertheless offered.

from donjon.com

DIMENSIONS: Length Overall: 83.0 ft./ 25.30 m

CONSTRUCTION: All Steel

PROPULSION & STEERING: Main Engines: Single Screw Fairbanks Morse Diesel 1,800 bhp

Also- Upcoming tours…

for an expanded description of the October 13th Kill Van Kull tour, please click here

for an expanded description of the October 20th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

ruined palaces

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Attempts to “take it easy” for a week or two at the end of the summer, coupled with the puzzling virus which hampered all egress to joy, have left your humble narrator in a state of quivering misery. Downtrodden by vast physical inadequacies, failing organs, and a certain sense of ennui- nowhere is nepenthe to be found. Truly- I’m all ‘effed up. Crises, both existential and supranormal, abound.

from wikipedia

Within the framework of the post-Classic cycle of thirteen katuns (the so-called ‘Short Count’), some of the Yucatec Books of Chilam Balam present a deluge myth describing the collapse of the sky, the subsequent flood, and the re-establishment of the world and its five world trees upon the cycle’s conclusion and resumption. In this cosmic drama, the Lightning deity (Bolon Dzacab), the Earth Crocodile (Itzam Cab Ain), and the divine carriers of sky and earth (the Bacabs) have an important role to play. The Quichean Popol Vuh does not mention the collapse of the sky and the establishment of the five trees, but focuses instead on a succession of previous mankinds, the last of which was destroyed by a flood.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A very bad thought, the sort of tormenting suspicion which instructs and informs madness, infects my mind. There are certain questions which should never even be asked, lest they be answered. Forbidden knowledge is prohibited for a reason, there are some things you cannot unlearn- like what the term “sediment mounds” connotes. The actions of others, with their unknowable motivations, rain random and unpredictable consequences into my days.

from wikipedia

There is a long philosophical and scientific history to the underlying thesis that reality is an illusion. This skeptical hypothesis (which can be dated in Western thought back to Parmenides, Zeno of Elea and Plato and in Eastern thought to the Advaita Vedanta concept of Maya) arguably underpins the mind-body dualism of Descartes, and is closely related to phenomenalism, a stance briefly adopted by Bertrand Russell. In a narrower sense it has become an important theme in science fiction, and recently has become a serious topic of study for futurology, in particular for transhumanism through the work of Nick Bostrom. The Simulation Hypothesis is a subject of serious academic debate within the field of transhumanism.

In its current form, the Simulation Argument began in 2003 with the publication of a paper by Nick Bostrom. Bostrom considers that the argument goes beyond skepticism, claiming that “…we have interesting empirical reasons to believe that a certain disjunctive claim about the world is true”, one of the disjunctive propositions being that we are almost certainly living in a simulation. Bostrom and other writers postulate there are empirical reasons why the ‘Simulation Hypothesis’ might be valid. Bostrom’s trilemma is formulated in temporal logic as follows:

“A technologically mature “posthuman” civilization would have enormous computing power. Based on this empirical fact, the simulation argument shows that at least one of the following propositions is true:

The fraction of human-level civilizations that reach a posthuman stage is very close to zero;

The fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor-simulations is very close to zero;

The fraction of all people with our kind of experiences that are living in a simulation is very close to one.

If (1) is true, then we will almost certainly go extinct before reaching posthumanity.

If (2) is true, then there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations so that virtually none contains any relatively wealthy individuals who desire to run ancestor-simulations and are free to do so.

If (3) is true, then we almost certainly live in a simulation.

In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).

Unless we are now living in a simulation, our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor-simulation.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Instead of allowing the intangible to complicate an already tenuous circumstance, and in the name of the annual “it’s September, so time to double down on the work” season, your humble narrator is retreating to the Creeklands. This is, after all, where one such as myself belongs- amongst the discarded and the decayed.

A long black raincoat hangs in my closet, awaiting the coming of another equinox, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

from wikipedia

In the near future, anthropogenic extinction scenarios exist: global nuclear annihilation, overpopulation or global accidental pandemic; besides natural ones: bolide impact and large scale volcanism or other catastrophic climate change. These natural causes have occurred multiple times in the geologic past although the probability of reoccurence within the human timescale of the near future is infinitesimally small. As technology develops, there is a theoretical possibility that humans may be deliberately destroyed by the actions of a nation state, corporation or individual in a form of global suicide attack. There is also a theoretical possibility that technological advancement may resolve or prevent potential extinction scenarios. The emergence of a pandemic of such virulence and infectiousness that very few humans survive the disease is a credible scenario. While not actually a human extinction event, this may leave only very small, very scattered human populations that would then evolve in isolation. It is important to differentiate between human extinction and the extinction of all life on Earth. Of possible extinction events, only a pandemic is selective enough to eliminate humanity while leaving the rest of complex life on earth relatively unscathed.

momentary panic

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve got a boo-boo.

On May 12, your humble narrator conducted a walking tour of Dutch Kills and Newtown Creek which ended at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Brooklyn. Having concluded the day’s exertions, the pathway back to benighted Astoria followed the familiar route of crossing the Pulaski Bridge.

At mid span, I noticed a tugboat- the Franklin Reinauer- waiting for the bridge to open, and decided to take advantage of its static position to gather a few shots.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Franklin Reinauer has been featured here in prior postings, and in an attempt to capture a slightly different angle of the vessel (as I’ve taken virtually identical shots of it from this very spot in the past), I decided to climb up on the weird wooden “art thing” which is installed mid span on the bridge.

Happy with the quality of light and the positioning of the ship in my shot, I noticed that the DOT bridge crew had shown up to open the Pulaski and allow the tug access to the Newtown Creek. Desire to get shots of the tug entering the Creek from below infected me and I tucked away my gear and attempted to dismount the “wooden art thing”.

That’s when it happened.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The injury wasn’t severe enough to preclude me from flying down the stairs and getting the shots I desired, as evinced above and below, but the swelling had already started.

As I was climbing down from the “wooden art thing”, I put my left hand down to steady myself as I descended back to the deck. My left thumb then exceeded its normal course and bent approximately forty five degrees in the wrong direction. While I didn’t hear the cracking sound familiar to anyone who has broken a bone, there was a distinct and rather disturbing “pop” that travelled up my arm.

It immediately began to swell.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By the time that the shot above was captured, an ugly and redolent bruise was spreading around the joint, and the big muscle at the heel of my hand (where the thumb joins the wrist) had swollen up and it appeared as if I had an apricot growing in the shallow part of my palm. Ibuprofen and an ice pack were applied back at HQ, and the swelling subsided after a day or two. Full range of motion, and normal gripping strength, were confirmed and no doctoring seemed to be required. Today, it is still sore, but on the mend.

This is the tale of my boo-boo.

At least I got my shots.

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