The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘recycling

unavoidable oversight

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What the end of the world will look like, as observed in Greenpoint USA.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan’s recyclable paper and plastic went up in flames in Greenpoint the other night, when a blaze began at the Rapid Processing Center on Humboldt St. and Greenpoint Ave. at around 7 p.m. on March 18th. The operation was in the Waste Transfer Station Recycling business, acting as a depot for the unloading of the DSNY’s white packer trucks which perform curbside pickup of paper and plastic materials.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In the end, it took 200 firefighters and all of their arts to fight this four alarm fire.

Almost as soon as it started, social media sites like Facebook began to light up as well with comments and queries offered by community members about the fire and the possible hazards of being exposed to its smoke and effluents.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the torrents of water used to combat the blaze also flooded the streets, and news reports described a lake of water on Greenpoint Avenue, which carried garbage off the site and allowed it to move around with the wind as flotsam. As you can see in the shot above, puddles of unusual size persist, and carry a sheen of something on their surface.

These shots were captured yesterday, March 23rd, and the mound of material was still smoldering.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The structure is a total loss, obviously, and I did observe air quality monitoring equipment at work. Directly following the fire, FDNY announced that there was nothing, air quality wise, for the community to fret about.

Of course, there was reportedly NO air quality monitoring going on during the fire when a plume of (probably) dioxin laced smoke was infiltrating into the neighborhood.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There was talk following the flooding of Hurricane Sandy about prepositioning environmental sampling kits around Greenpoint, so that actual “time of event” samples could be captured, but that seems to have been forgotten.

Green Infrastructure, instead, is the buzzword of the present day.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

During the fire your humble narrator was safe and sound and upwind in Astoria, but a point was made of interjecting myself into their lively debate to adjure the Greenpointers to call 311 and complain of the smoke, as this would have compelled DEP to set up air monitors DURING the event. No one listened, and no monitors were set up, so everything is fine and nobody was exposed to anything bad.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

New York City would not acknowledge the presence of an elephant in the City Council chamber room unless a statistically relevant number of 311 calls were received about it.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

massing around

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An arrangement was made to meet up with some of my North Brooklyn chums to hash around a few ideas and discuss the news of the day at the thankfully reopened Ashbox restaurant in Greenpoint. A bit early for the assignation, your humble narrator drifted down to the street end, and former bulkhead of the Vernon Avenue Bridge, whereupon the Iron Wolf motored by.

from seawolfmarine.net

TUG: IRON WOLF (SINGLE SCREW) 450 HP, COASTWISE, MODEL BOW, HAWSWER TUG

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Long have I wished that my parents had been avid motorcyclists and named me Iron Wolf, but alas. In fact, anything even remotely canid would satisfy this urge, but this could have resulted in my name being “Laddie”, “Butch”, or “Spot.” Iron Wolf sounds like a metal band from the early 1980’s, the sort that would have headlined at L’Amour’s over in Bay Ridge.

from tugboatenthusiastsociety.org

Name: IRON WOLF,

  • O/N: 0653661
  • Tug, Length: 50
  • Width: 16.7
  • HP: 400
  • Built Year: 1983
  • Built At: New Bedford, Ma.
  • Builder: Bear Marine Service
  • Home Port: New York, NY

- photo by Mitch Waxman

All I could find online about Iron Wolf was terse, straight to the point, and in “all caps.” I suppose that’s appropriate. IF YOU NAME SOMETHING IRON WOLF, YOU SHOULD USE ALL CAPS TO DESCRIBE IT. TERSE GREETINGS AND A MARITIME SUNDAY SHOUT OUT TO THE IRON WOLF. WELCOME TO NEWTOWN CREEK.

from wikipedia

A tugboat (tug) is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal, or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, log rafts, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for their size and strongly built, and some are ocean-going.

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

rough handling

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rejoice, for this is the day when men and women return to their ancestral villages and seaside hamlets, gathering beneath cobbled roofs and behind garret windows to celebrate “America Recycles Day”. Children shall be offered solemn pledges and vast ritual amalgamations of litter will be assembled for display and dissemination. Many and varied will be the manifestations of this occasion, which is ultimately rooted in the solemn traditions set down by a group known as “Keep America Beautiful”.

from wikipedia

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. ARD is celebrated annually on November 15. The World Recycling Day celebrated in most countries, though falls on July 8. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage Americans to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze in astonished wonder at the industry of man, and the tyranny of wealth. Imagine, if you would, the raw tonnages of refined metals displayed in these shots. Surely, just in today’s posting, we are seeing a greater amount of waste metals than an entire nation might be capable of producing just a scant 200 years ago. We waste so much, and our culture- if nothing else- will prove itself a boon to future archaeologists.

The multitudinous middens of the megalopolis, well moistened with motor oil, will stand as our monument.

from wikipedia

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by consortium of American businesses (including founding member Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola) nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and concerned individuals in reaction to the growing problem of highway litter that followed the construction of the Interstate Highway System, and an increasingly mobile and convenience-oriented American consumer. The original goal of the organization was to reduce litter through public service advertising (PSA) campaigns.

Keep America Beautiful conducted many local PSA campaigns early in its history. One of these early campaigns in Pennsylvania (PENNDOT), some attribute to having coined the term “litterbug”, as opposed to the New York Transit Authority. There is some confusion over the origin of the actual word “litterbug” due to several early uses of it in widespread public service advertisements. It was, in fact, coined by Paul B. Gioni, a copywriter in New York City who originated it for The American Ad Council in 1947. Keep America Beautiful joined with the Ad Council in 1961 to dramatize the idea that every individual must help protect against the terrible effects litter has on the environment.

A popular television campaign theme in 1963, with copy written by Paul B. Gioni who also coined the word “litterbug” in 1947, was “Every Litter Bit Hurts”. Another appeared in 1964 featuring character Susan Spotless. In 1970 KAB began distributing a free brochure; more than 100,000 copies were requested within 4 months.

On Earth Day 1971, a new campaign was launched with the theme “People Start Pollution. People can stop it” featuring the now iconic “Crying Indian” played by Iron Eyes Cody.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Amongst those who tolerate my presence, some work in the recycling industry. A missive they ask a humble narrator to transmit reads as: “Recycle. Please. Don’t do it for us and our business, do it for your kids”. They continue that it’s probably already too late, and that the future is trashed. Perhaps, just perhaps, they are wrong. Until the ultimate answer is found to this disposables issue, they are likely being far more pragmatic than the rest of us. It is they, after all, who see the trucks tipping and collecting, and spend more time than they would like handling putrescent garbage as a loss leader.

from americarecyclesday.org

Figuring out when, where and how to recycle in your community couldn’t be easier. Log on to www.americarecyclesday.org and select the “Find Recycling” tab and click on the Earth911.com logo. This will direct you their recycling resource page, where you can enter the item type and your zip code to find the nearest recycling facility.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

By no means should this humble narrator be considered a creature of primal intelligence, good hygiene, or high moral turpitude. Neither should it be inferred that the role of exemplar is claimed, as far as the contributions of my own household to the problem. A lone and singular advantage is that I am instead smart enough to realize how smart I’m not, and realize the shallow depths of my grasp on the situation. Around here, we just try not to be too loose with using things that can’t be washed, or reused, or cross purposed. How about you?

from wikipedia

Recycling statistics:

  • 251 million – tons of trash in the United States
  • 53.4 – percentage of all paper products recycled in the United States
  • 32.5 – percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States
  • 100 – approximate percentage of increase in total recycling in the United States during the past decade
  • 8,660 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2006
  • 8,875 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2003
  • 95 – percentage of energy saved by recycling an aluminum can, compared with manufacturing a new one
  • 4.6 – pounds of trash per person per day in the United States (most in the world)
  • 1.5 – pounds of recycled materials per person per day in the United States

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2012 at 12:15 am

vast reaches

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured today are the operations of A.R.C. scrap metal division of a corporation called Alloco found at 540 Kingsland avenue in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, pictured from a vantage point on the loquacious Newtown Creek.

Another former Standard Oil property converted over to modern usage, A.R.C. scrap metal is involved in the recycling trade.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the folks who work here, and you couldn’t ask to encounter a nicer bunch of guys. Their yard always displays a frenzy of activity, with heavy equipment sorting through the flow of waste materials and what seems like dozens of safety vested and hard hatted workers laboring away.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

You may have seen one of these shots before, and apologies are offered for repetition. One is still sorting out problems and playing catch up after the interruption to work flow offered by the lightning strike which disabled much of my equipment.

It has been a very, very busy period of time with many unexpected and unscheduled obstacles.

_______________________________________________________________

August 5th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman will be leading a walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City, exploring the insalubrious valley of the Newtown Creek.

The currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, provides a dramatic and picturesque setting for this exploration. We’ll be visiting two movable bridges, the still standing remains of an early 19th century highway, and a forgotten tributary of the larger waterway. As we walk along the Newtown Creek and explore the “wrong side of the tracks” – you’ll hear tales of the early chemical industry, “Dead Animal and Night Soil Wharfs”, colonial era heretics and witches and the coming of the railroad. The tour concludes at the famed Clinton Diner in Maspeth- where scenes from the Martin Scorcese movie “Goodfellas” were shot.

Lunch at Clinton Diner is included with the ticket.

Details/special instructions.

Meetup at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. on August 5, 2012. The L train serves a station at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well. Check MTA.info as ongoing weekend construction often causes delays and interruptions. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your vehicle in the vicinity of the Clinton Diner in Maspeth, Queens or near the start of the walk at Grand St. and Morgan Avenue (you can pick up the bus to Brooklyn nearby the Clinton Diner).

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic as we move through a virtual urban desert. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.

Clinton Diner Menu:

  • Cheese burger deluxe
  • Grilled chicken over garden salad
  • Turkey BLT triple decker sandwich with fries
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce or butter
  • Greek salad medium
  • Greek Salad wrap with French fries
  • Can of soda or 16oz bottle of Poland Spring

for August 5th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

frightful parts

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

In ancient Greenpoint, down on Manhattan Avenue, a scrap metal processing yard has opened.

This is a somewhat puzzling development, as the modern streets around these parts host a large number of residential buildings- both old and new- and the locale is clearly trending toward the residential rather than industrial in the future. Regardless, this business brings badly needed jobs to recession plagued Brooklyn, and all I can say to these new stakeholders along the water is this- “Welcome to Newtown Creek”.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that this particular metals business- which is TnT Scrap Metal, by the way- is using barges in the pursuit of their trade.

A single barge carries the equivalent load of better than 150 trucks, and one of the tried and true complaints offered incessantly at this – your Newtown Pentacle- is how few of the businesses based along the Newtown Creek utilize their bulkheads. The metals trade, at least the big players like SimsMetal, utilize maritime methodologies routinely.

This Newtown Creek of ours was once one of the finest industrial waterways on earth, and could be again someday.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Once upon a time, the sight of a barge tied up here would have been nothing special. The Newtown Creek Towing Company was nearby, as was the New York State Barge canal. The enormous brick structure framing the shot above, known to modernity as the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) was once home of the Chelsea Fiber Mill, an 1868 era factory building which was employed in the manufacture of maritime textiles and rope.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Manhattan Avenue Street end, where once the Vernon Avenue Bridge connected the Brooklyn municipality of Greenpoint to Long Island City’s Hunters Point, is a park and sports a kayak launch. It’s actually a pretty popular place for the locals- for dog walking, coffee drinking… and god help us all… people actually fish and crab here as well.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

TNT is making an effort at being a good neighbor, and has recently announced a contest for local artists to compete for a monetary prize and the chance to paint a mural on their largish metal gates on Manhattan Avenue. When word of this reached me a few weeks back, and TNT’s “rfp” crossed my desk, the first person I thought of to disseminate the news to the arts community of Greenpoint was none other than Ms. Heather over at newyorkshitty.com.

Ever gracious and instinctually curatorial, she ran the news in this post- where you can get all the details on the competition.

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

wonderful epics of a nameless city

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is not the world you know, this unmentioned and currently undefended border between Brooklyn and Queens, where the requiescant waters of the Newtown Creek gurgle and splash. Beyond the Pulaski Bridge- where an observable and otherworldly colour stains animal, and structure, and vegetable- the heavy industries which conspire to sustain the shining city of Manhattan spread out under the Newtown sun.

from nycedc.com

The Newtown Creek according to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) had a listing of 26 piers with a total of 8,483 feet of berthing space. However, only 16 piers with a total of 4,986 feet of berthing space are in use by 12 firms. Furthermore, six firms are using their 1,952 feet of pier berthing space and waterfront facilities occasionally only. The waterfront activity is primarily for ship and barge.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Along its path, the bulkheaded shorelines of the Newtown Creek reveal the rotted timber and risible decay associated with exposure to the poisons and refuse of the vast human hive, and its associated infestations. The waters have been observed, personally, to host a surprising variety of life forms- including a dizzying array of non vertebrates. Within the cemented and artificial shores, internal voids and long abandoned pipelines shelter teeming populations of rodent forms, and unguessable possibilities present themselves when discussing what else may be hiding down there, in flooded cellar and forgotten basement.

from wikipedia

The creek begins near the intersection of 47th Street and Grand Avenue on the Brooklyn-Queens border 40°43′06″N 73°55′27″W at the intersection of the East Branch and English Kills. It empties into the East River at 40°44′14″N 73°57′40″W (2nd Street and 54th Avenue in Long Island City) opposite Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan at 26th Street. Its waterfront, and that of its tributaries Dutch Kills, Whale Creek, Maspeth Creek and English Kills, are heavily industrialized.

The creek has no natural waterflows. Its outgoing flow of 14,000 million gallons/year consists of combined sewer overflow, urban runoff, raw domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater. Being estuarine, the creek is largely stagnant. Since there is no current in the creek, sludge has congealed into a 15-foot thick layer of “black mayonnaise” on the creek bed.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just after passing the yawning mouth of the malign Dutch Kills, one encounters a scrap metal operation, which operates a car shredding operation. The great mill utilizes the “Newtown Creek Dock” and is owned and operated by the Hugo Neu Schnitzer East Co.

In a nutshell, the way that things work is:

Hugo Neu Schnitzer East Co. (HNSEC from this point) receives the metal glass and plastic collected by the DSNY and private contractors at its Hunts Point bulkheads in the Bronx, New Jersey, and Brooklyn…

  • HNSEC then barges certain materials to Newtown Creek, where bulk metal is separated from the less valuable plastic and virtually worthless glass.
  • A preliminary sorting of plastic and glass is performed, while the bulk metal is loaded onto barges.
  • The metals are shipped by barge to other facilities, and offered for sale on the worldwide commodities markets.

According to those principalities who authored and designed this system, it reduces the per ton cost of processing the waste stream as well as reducing the reliance on automotive conveyance for it and nourishes the maritime industry.

from a nytimes.com article of 2004

One of the toughest challenges with recycling has always been finding markets for the recycled goods, whose resale can then help defray the costs of the program. In announcing a 20-year recycling contract yesterday, the Bloomberg administration said it had solved that problem by encouraging a company to find those markets.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

As is the way of things, Hugo Neu merged with Sim Group in 2005, and formed one of the largest recycling conglomerates in the world. According to our friends at Habitatmap, whose stout adherence to the scientific method and stalwart advocacy of the unvarnished truth has both terrified and impressed your humble narrator, the composite company- SimsMetal- is the largest single source of air pollution to be found along the modern Newtown Creek.

from simsmm.com

Sims Metal Management was originally established in 1917 by Albert Sims, a Sydney-based recycled metals dealer. The business was incorporated as Albert G. Sims Limited in 1928 and was renamed Simsmetal Limited in 1968.

In 1970, it merged with Consolidated Metal Products Limited and the merged ASX-listed company was named Sims Consolidated Limited. In 1979, Sims Consolidated Limited was acquired by Peko-Wallsend Limited and subsequently delisted. Sims Consolidated Limited was then acquired by North Limited (previously known as North Broken Hill Holdings Limited, and then North Broken Hill Peko Limited) in 1988. In 1989, North Limited sold the business to Elders Resources NZFP Limited, a diversified resources company.

In 1990, Carter Holt Harvey Limited made a successful takeover bid for Elders Resources NZFP Limited and divested that company’s non-forestry businesses, which included Sims. Sims changed its name to Simsmetal Limited in 1990 and relisted on the ASX in 1991. Simsmetal Limited changed its name to Sims Group Limited in 2003.

Sims Metal Management’s corporate strategy includes leading industry consolidation through acquisitions. Over a number of years, with experience gained from numerous international acquisitions, Sims Metal Management has established strict acquisition criteria. The acquisition criteria require that any acquisition target holds the number one or number two market position, delivers access to domestic and international customers, offers a sound platform for future growth and, above all else, will likely enhance shareholder value. The acquisition criteria have underpinned Sims Metal Management’s strong track record of international expansion.

In October 2005, Sims Group Limited merged with the recycling businesses of Hugo Neu Corporation, a privately owned U.S. corporation. The merger created a new ASX listed company named Sims Group Limited, which is traded under the ASX code “SGM.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

I am told by knowledgeable sources that much of this scrap metal will eventually find its way to the mercantile courts of far away Asia, with the bulk of it headed to the smokestacks of China. This is less recycling and waste disposal than it is mining, if one actually takes a step back and looks at it.

from wikipedia

The scrap industry contributed $65 billion in 2006 and is one of the few contributing positively to the U.S. balance of trade, exporting $15.7 billion in scrap commodities in 2006. This imbalance of trade has resulted in rising scrap prices during 2007 and 2008 within the United States.[2] Scrap recycling also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserves energy and natural resources. For example, scrap recycling diverts 145,000,000 short tons (129,464,286 long tons; 131,541,787 t) of materials away from landfills. Recycled scrap is a raw material feedstock for 2 out of 3 pounds of steel made in the U.S., for 60% of the metals and alloys produced in the U.S., for more than 50% of the U.S. paper industry’s needs, and for 33% of U.S. aluminum. Recycled scrap helps keep air and water cleaner by removing potentially hazardous materials and keeping them out of landfills.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Frequently observed on the East River, these barges of shredded steel and metal maintain a regular schedule back and forth from the Newtown Creek. This particular barge is the 886 gross ton Cape Lucy, a 146 foot long freight vessel operated by the Inland Barge Corporation, and constructed by Bethlehem Steel in 1953.

Always fascinated by minutia, your humble narrator wonders if this barge is a “leave behind” from the construction of the Pulaski Bridge by the self same Bethlehem Steel in 1953.

from nyc.gov

In 1881, the New York City Department of Street Cleaning was created in response to the public uproar over litter-lined streets and disorganized garbage collection. Originally called the Department of Street Cleaning, the agency took over waste responsibilities from the New York City Police Department. In 1933, the name was changed to the Department of Sanitation.

Throughout the 1880’s, 75% of NYC’s waste was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1895, Commissioner George Waring instituted a waste management plan that eliminated ocean dumping and mandated recycling. Household waste was separated into three categories: food waste, which was steamed and compressed to eventually produce grease (for soap products) and fertilizer; rubbish, from which paper and other marketable materials were salvaged; and ash, which along with the nonsalable rubbish was landfilled. The Police Department, under the direction of its Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, enforced the recycling law.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Heavy equipment and esoteric machinery is always on display at this location, and it attracts no small amount of attention from area photographic enthusiasts. Proximity to the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Nature Walk, with its wide open sight lines and panoramic scope, no doubt aids in the fame of this place. These shots, however, were captured from onboard a boat which was plying the volatile surface of the Newtown Creek.

from wikipedia

Critics dispute the net economic and environmental benefits of recycling over its costs, and suggest that proponents of recycling often make matters worse and suffer from confirmation bias. Specifically, critics argue that the costs and energy used in collection and transportation detract from (and outweigh) the costs and energy saved in the production process; also that the jobs produced by the recycling industry can be a poor trade for the jobs lost in logging, mining, and other industries associated with virgin production; and that materials such as paper pulp can only be recycled a few times before material degradation prevents further recycling. Proponents of recycling dispute each of these claims, and the validity of arguments from both sides has led to enduring controversy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Weirdly organic, the Sennebogen hydraulic loaders which effortlessly move the scrap from land to barge seem to be a favored item for the scrap industry to purchase (and Sims Metal in particular), valued for its mechanical advantages and engineering accumen. Sennebogen, like the fabled Steinway clan which has left such an indelible stamp on the surrounding communities, is a German corporation operated by a single family and founded by an enigmatic sire.

from sennebogen-na.com

RICHMOND, CA – The existing pedestal crane at the 18-acre Sims Metal Management scrap metal yard in Richmond, California had become a bit of a production liability for Jesse Garcia, Sims NW Equipment Manager. Repairs to the pedestal crane were difficult and Garcia often found himself having to lease replacement equipment to keep up production on the yard’s shear when the crane went down. When it came time to replace the crane, Garcia chose a SENNEBOGEN 840 R special, a purpose-built material handler that gives him the mobility and problem-free reliability and uptime he was seeking.

“Metal on metal”

“A scrap yard is a tough environment – it’s constant metal on metal. You need dependable equipment that is built for this application. SENNEBOGEN machines are purpose-built for handling scrap metal, they’re not just retrofitted excavators,” says Garcia. “Our tracked SENNEBOGEN 840 R special is perfect for this application. We can move it in and out for quick, easy maintenance, and should the shear go down, we can utilize it elsewhere in the yard.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Forgotten by modernity, even your humble narrator had to consult with one of the “Rabbi’s” to double confirm that this dock was originally the location of the “Manure Dock”, where Manhattan’s human waste products, animal carcasses, and organic waste would be barged to.

Journalists of the era referred to it as the “Offal dock“.

Some of the redolant cargo would be shipped untreated to points East by the LIRR to be utilized as fertilizer on the bountiful farms which once typified the eastern counties, and some percentage of it was processed by local commercial rendering operations owned by the likes of Conrad Wessel and Peter Cooper who saw the rotting filth as a raw material for various food products- aspic, isenglass, and gelatin amongst others. The remnants of that process, which involved the usage of high pressure steam and other state of the art victorian technologies, were further processed into glues, waxes, and potent acids.

from wikipedia

Where a cargo is coarser in size than minerals, commonly for scrap metal, then an orange-peel grab may be used instead of a shell. These have six or eight segments of “peel” independently hinged around a central core. They are better able to grab at an uneven load, rather than just scooping at small pieces. If the load is made of long thin pieces, a grab may also be able to carry far more than a single “grabful” at one time.

Although orange-peel grabs may be hung from cables on a jib, they’re also commonly mounted directly onto a jib. This is more suitable for grabbing at awkward loads that might otherwise tend to tip a hanging grab over. They may also use hydraulics to control the segments rather than weight and hoist cables.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The concept of recycling is nothing new, here in the megalopolis of New York, and then as now- it was the Newtown Creek and its surrounding communities that absorbed and absolved Manhattan’s sins. The stink, as reported in the late 19th century, that arose from this section of the Creek was legendary even to those hardened by close quartered tenement conditions and the press of an unventilated and crowded city which counted its draft animals in the hundreds of thousands.

Imagine a hot August day in Manhattan, 100 years ago, and that same day… on a slick of oily water some 4 miles long that defined the undefended border between the cities of Long Island City, Newtown, Greenpoint, Bushwick, and Williamsburg.

Pictured above is the DonJon towing Tug Peter Andrew, part of the DonJon Marine fleet that handles the metal and other recyclables trade from Newtown Creek to and from the Newtown Creek to the other links in the waste stream scattered about the New York Harbor archipelago. Photo is from last year, and was shot on the East River.

from donjon.com

Donjon Marine Co., Inc. offers the marine community full-service solutions to meet your every need in the field of marine salvage, dredging, material recycling and related services. 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.

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