The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 11th, 2009

Rare opportunities…

leave a comment »

Working Harbor Committee is scheduling 4 Hidden Harbor Tours this summer – we’ll be on the June 15th one. Don’t miss this, get your tickets and ready your  cameras!!!

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Big Allis is not in the Land of the Lost… or how I learned to stop worrying and love Ravenswood #3

with 9 comments

Big Allis

16% percent of the electricity consumed by New York City is generated at the junction of Vernon and 36th avenues in Queens where the gargantuan Big Allis power plant is found.

Big Allis

The first million kilowatt facility in the entire country, built at the behest of Consolidated Edison, Ravenswood number three first went online in 1965. Upon activation, the 
cyclopean dynamos of Big Allis were reduced to slag by volcanic emanations issuing from within its massive, natural gas driven turbines. 

Railyard with powerplant

Six months later, a rebuilt system managed to withstand a full hour and twenty-seven minutes of these cosmic stresses before it too went out of commission for a further four months. The problem was diagnosed by experts and teams of engineers to be the responsibility of a malfunctioning bearing which was producing disharmonious vibrations.


After the blackouts of the late seventies, it seemed that Big Allis had finally been tamed by the tireless labor of the indomitable employees
of Consolidated Edison. Perfected, the plant was sold by ConEd to the Keyspan Energy Corporation, which then sold it in 2008 to the TransCanada company for 2.9 billion dollars.

photos by Mitch Waxman

As always, if something you read here is contradicted by something you know, please leave a comment or contact us. Corrections and additions are always welcome.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

The Horrors of Hallet’s Cove

with 5 comments

On the Queens waterfront, at the junction of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard, can be found the Socrates Sculpture Garden, a very modern warehouse store, and dozens of derelicted industrial mills which define Hallet’s Cove and hint at its hidden past.

quote from

“In 1839, Steven Halsey, a fur merchant, founded a village at Hallets Cove and started the 92nd Street Ferry service to Manhattan. Hallets Cove became a recreational destination and resort for Manhattan’s elite”

and from wikipedia:

Originally, Astoria was known as Hallet’s Cove, after its original landowner William Hallet, who settled there in 1659 with his wife Elizabeth (Fones)

View Google Map

Rusted Factory in LIC 003

This area (between the nineteenth century’s American Civil war and the second thirty years war -called World Wars 1 and 2), along with the nearby Newtown Creek, was the busiest industrial manufacturing zone to be found in the entire world.

Rusted Factory in LIC 002

Today, its an abandoned patch of corrupted ruins whose ancient poisons and toxic filth leech through glass strewn mud into the East River.

Rusted Factory in LIC 004

I rarely cross a fence line, but this structure seemed to be calling out to me.


Once, this structure had been a metal finishing plant of some kind, but today it serves as a garbage dump for surviving area businesses.

Rusted Factory in LIC 005

The building is marked as condemned by the inspectors of the New York City Fire Department with a squared X, and apparently for good reason.

Rusted Factory in LIC 001

Spoke to a Fireman in a bar one night about what the squared x means. Won’t be crossing that mark again. 

Falling factory

It disappeared in the spring of 2009, this place on Hallet’s Cove.

Inside Falling factory

What remains is a brick lot with a fence around it.

from another 22nd street

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2009 at 1:53 am

Flickr group

leave a comment »

I use Flickr to share photos, and waste a lot of time there. After years of lurking and posting in various LIC and Astoria groups, its time to start the Newtown Pentacle Group. Quoted from the group page:

“The Newtown Pentacle is looking for unique points of view along the 3.5 mile long industrial waterway in New York City. Shots of victorian relicts, aging industrial neighborhoods, remnants of a historical site. Do not break the law. No pics of floating poop or prophylactics. Pics are even better if you’ve got a story to go with them.”

So far, its a little heavy on Old Mitch’s stuff, which I threw in just to get things started. Got a pic with a story or anecdote? Want to share? Do it at the Newtown Pentacle group- here

I’m serious about the “do not break the law” part, by the way. The creek is a dangerous place full of giant machines moving at full throttle and at high voltages. 911 is probably not an option on the wrong side of a fence when you’ve just crashed into a homeless camp or found out where the cement factories guard dogs live. A controversial post at citynoise not long ago showcased an urban explorer moving along the trackbeds along Dutch kills.

The photographer crossed active tracks- and such activities are both considered trespassing by the Police (in this case- Amtrack Federal Police), and are crazy dangerous. They were very nice shots and interesting perspectives on Dutch Kills- but- Break The Law at your own risk

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 11, 2009 at 12:31 am

Posted in newtown creek

%d bloggers like this: