The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 21st, 2009

Open Sesame, Pulaski, Says A Me

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Just as a note, this is the 100th post at Newtown Pentacle.

ret_g10_img_1326_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of the Newtown sun burst through the occluding clouds of a murky sky, as I crossed the Pulaski Bridge. With the objective of Queens in sight, barriers suddenly sprang into action, and alarm bells rang. The motive engines of the Pulaski began grinding in those deep pilings sunken on both sides of that vexing mystery called the Newtown Creek, and the roadway of the Bascule bridge rose… ominously.

Newtown Pentacle did a fairly thorough posting on the Pulaski Bridge a while back called DUPBO, check it out here.

ret_g10_img_1327_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The basso horn of an unidentified tug drew the attentions of that small group of obstructed pedestrians and unlucky cyclists which I found myself a part of. In the central lanes of the bridge, angry drivers changed automotive gears from drive to park. Some switched off their engine ignitions and muttered obscene phrases in a great variety of tongues.

A bascule drawbridge of paralell counterweight design, the Pulaski Bridge was overseen by New York City Commissioner of Public Works Frederick Zurmuhlen, and the general contractor was the Horn Construction Company, with steel and expertise supplied by Bethlehem Steel. It opened in September of 1954 at a cost of $9,664,446.25- a reconstruction of the bridge in 1994 cost $40 million. It carries six lanes of vehicular traffic, and is a primary link between north Brooklyn and western Queens.

ret_g10_img_1337_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Clumsily, I climbed atop the roadway barrier, in an attempt to gain a better vantage. Normally, this would be a death defying balancing act, as traffic would be hurtling out of Long Island City at many times the posted speed limit. Even so, the mere 3 and one half foot elevation was enough to set off my timid side of nature, and vertigo nearly claimed me.

ret_g10_img_1328_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This lone tugboat, which I cannot identify, is heading up the creek empty. This would suggest its coming to pick up a barge, but your guess is as good as mine.

ret_g10_img_1332_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The inner works of the bridge as it extends to its euclidean apex. The stresses inflicted on the superstructure of this bridge by such actions are beyond my meager ability to calculate, as tons of steel move effortlessly into position and into a shaky balance.

ret_g10_img_1344_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tug passed by, as I could tell by the action of my ears, but was occluded visually by the bridge’s roadway. The struggles of its engines as they churned those hatefully gelatin waters of the Newtown Creek caused vibrations which shuddered out as they traveled against the raised members of the Pulaski Bridge.

ret_g10_img_1350_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Overcome by the unique harmonic and its drug-like effects upon my overly sensitive equilibrium, I missed the Tug’s passage by seconds (in the center of the above shot), due to both a bungled manipulation and inexpert handling of camera settings.

ret_g10_img_1352_ohny2.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bells rang out again, and the Pulaski bridge transformed itself back into a vehicular roadway, and the steel wall of Long Island City appeared.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 21, 2009 at 3:58 am

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