The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi


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Just a short one today. Still burnt out from the weekend’s tug boat races. Check out this video from tugster. I’ve got at least two major posts cooking right now.

IMG_3350_projectfirebox.jpg by you.

Project Firebox, 3350 – photo by Mitch Waxman

I realize and fully aspire to understand the harried mind of the metropolitan vehicular operator, but often wonder, how does one manage to ignore a 2 meter tall shiny red box until its too late?

The devastation endured by these silent sentinels is but one of the striking dichotomies one encounters when walking the shadows of concrete shrouded and legend haunted Newtown. To the benefit of this heterogeneous collection of guardian devices, which can raise titan armies of Fire and Police Departments at the touch of a button, their abuse must be remarked upon. We, as a community, must find some way to train drivers to notice the near presence of – a 6 foot tall gleaming metallic object with reflective surfaces. Calculation of its relative proximity to their vehicles would surely follow suit.

This is Project Firebox.

IMG_8778_projectfirebox.jpg by you.

Project Firebox, 8778 – photo by Mitch Waxman

This was on Hunters Point Avenue, opposite a mattress factory outlet store. This I understood. Simple kinetics, an impact, and subsidence. Fine.

from wikipedia

Alarm Boxes: The second most common method is by means of F.D.N.Y. alarm boxes in the street and in certain public buildings such as schools and hospitals as well as highways, bridges, etc. These consist of the following primarily two types. The first is mechanical boxes, also commonly called pull-boxes or telegraph boxes in which a spring-wound mechanism alternately opens and closes an electrical circuit thereby rendering a coded number linked to the specific location of the box. Until the advent of the STARFIRE Computer-Assisted Dispatch System (CAD), dispatchers had to physically count the taps from mechanical boxes when they were received in the central offices. Today, a “Box Alarm Readout System” (B.A.R.S.) display handles that aspect of the job. The second type is the “Emergency Reporting System” (E.R.S.) boxes that are equipped with buttons to notify either FDNY or NYPD, allowing either department’s dispatcher to have direct voice communication with a reporting party. E.R.S. boxes began to replace mechanical boxes in many areas of the City beginning in the 1970s.

IMG_6368_projectfirebox.jpg by you.

Project Firebox, 6368 – photo by Mitch Waxman

Down near Newtown Creek, this abandoned car was resting on this firebox for nearly a year, but this is a deserted little cul de sac near a hundred year old train station and the site of a long vanished bridge.

A pretty nice history of FDNY alarm boxes at google books

IMG_4477.jpg by you.

Project Firebox, 4477 – photo by Mitch Waxman

Where Astoria ends, and Dutch Kills begins, near Northern Blvd. Notice that it’s bent OUT, against the traffic.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 8, 2009 at 12:42 am

Posted in newtown creek

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