The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

In the cold waste 3

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This is the 163rd posting of the Newtown Pentacle, last one of 2009, and just about 6 months into this little project. Halfway through writing this, I had to evacuate the building due to a fire in another apartment. NYFD was prompt and performed their work in the normal fashion. Thanks Guys, and Happy New Year… now on with the dirge, apostasy, and dire prophecies…

Gondor, or Manhattan- from recently completed sections of Gantry Plaza State Park – photo by Mitch Waxman

The new East River Parks are magnificent and welcome additions to the waterfront, a tony garland showcasing the shining shield wall of Manhattan, and a value adding loss leader for landlords to dazzle the prospective Tower People with. Queensbridge Park was similarly awe inspiring upon its completion in the 3rd incarnation of Ravenswood, until things went horribly wrong in the Housing Complex it was designed to serve and the vain optimists in City government lost interest in funding it.

Today, its bulkheads are collapsing into the river and the muddy ball fields and patchy lawns are shoddy at best. Perhaps the experiences of the Tower People will be different as the calendar pages roll by, here in the Newtown Pentacle.

From the Wheelspur Yard road crossing beneath the Pulaski Bridge – photo by Mitch Waxman

The story of Long Island City, as one proceeds south, is told in steel and concrete. Leave the modern world, which is possible in Long Island CIty, and see the apotheosis of victorian aspirations. The industrial past of the 19th century, whose cracked pavement and toxic inheritances define the modern era, can be accessed merely by crossing the street. By 2020, the Manhattan Skyline will be hidden behind even more Tower Condos, and Hunters Point will accommodate some 5,000 new housing units. Hotels and Parks are also planned.

All the while, the City is closing Queens Fire Houses and Hospitals.

LIE from the Pulaski Bridge – photo by Mitch Waxman

Surmount the Pulaski Bridge, but do not touch it with your bare skin. From here, the early and mid 20th century is visible. Witness a steel highway- Robert Moses’s LIE soaring over “the empty corridor“. It once carried the terrified middle class away from a troubled mid and late 20th century New York, in the manner of some open artery, creating the vast populations of suburban Long Island. It also blighted and depopulated western Queens, turning the valuable industrial land it shadowed into empty warehouses and abandoned brick lots. For the last half of the 20th century, Long Island City and the surrounding communities became ethnic ghettos and crime infested wards of municipal indifference. In this mid century midden, the rats ruled, and rat kings ruled over all.

Open air warehouse at Newtown Creek – photo by Mitch Waxman

And then there is the Creek. The Newtown Creek. I have a lot of purple prose fun with the Newtown Creek- these quotes are culled from various postings-

“I’d rather drink a glass of that queerly coloured effluviam which flows lugubriously through a crucible of dictatorial capitalism called the Newtown Creek.”

“just a little bit of the chemical recipe that produces an anaerobic broth like that found in the Newtown Creek”

“VOC’s are amongst the primary pollutants fouling the waters of a nearby cautionary tale called the Newtown Creek.”

“and indeed- swirling within a nearby cataract of tears called the Newtown Creek”

“which I attribute to the possibly mutagenic qualities of the chemical pollution of that nearby extinction of hope called the Newtown Creek.”

“languidly across that gelatinous slick of black water- called the Newtown Creek- triggered its horns”

“The secular spectacular merely whets the appetite of your humble narrator for the open skies and sacred vantages found along those unhallowed backwaters of an urban catastrophe called the Newtown Creek.”

“The motive engines of the Pulaski began grinding in those deep pilings sunken on both sides of that vexing mystery called the Newtown Creek”

” is powered, fed, and flushed by that which may be found around a shimmering ribbon of abnormality called the Newtown Creek.”

“flabby jowled, staring eyed, scaly group which had been tormenting me- and whose apparent leader was a young girl carrying a curiously polydactyl cat whose aspect “I did not like”- were running off in the direction of that stygian cataract called the Newtown Creek”

There is actually nothing funny about the Creek, its a sobering subject, but I do my best to keep things light. One of the maddening facts though, is that the open air warehouse observed above, is designated to become a City Park as the Hunters Point South phase of the Queenswest development gets rolling in 2010.

Still Waters Run Deep – photo by Mitch Waxman

The EPA comment period on the issue of “superfunding the creek” has just ended, and as expected, the Oligarchs of Manhattan have rendered their opinion that the Creek should remain under their jurisdiction.

Did you think, honestly, that City Hall is going to cede control over a 4 x1 mile strip of Brooklyn and Queens to Washington without a fight?

That’s what Superfund means, the feds TAKE OVER, for as long as it will take to clean up the mess. They will fine whoever they want to for whatever they want to, issue orders that MUST be followed by commoner and king alike, and will not take “NO” or “That isn’t possible in this climate” as an answer. In the case of the Newtown Creek, the estimates for completion of project (at the medium estimate) are 30-45 years (45 years ago in 1963, John Kennedy had just been assassinated in November and LBJ was president). A river of federal money will flush out the Newtown Creek, but the tide is going to hit the masters across the river in Manhattan.

Our fellow citizens in the Western States have been chaffing under the authority of the EPA for a long time, which has created an electoral preference for smaller and less intrusive government policy amongst the citizenry. A lack of “institutional memory”, a disturbing modern trend easily blamed on a 4th estate owned and operated by real estate interests, is a smoking volcano.

Your Humble Narrator – photo by Mitch Waxman

It is the end of a year of change- but all years are “years of change”. New York, and the United States on the whole, continue their trend toward apathy and quasi-fascism.

  • The rich are always right- for by virtue of their fortunes they are proven so
  • Our enemies are all around us- and we must consider which rights to trade away in the name of security
  • Endless is war, with new fronts opening in Northern Africa and the Far East as we speak (did you notice how fast the story of “the underwear bomber” came together?)
  • The burdens of the social contract suddenly seem to be too much to bear as the Baby Boomer population begins to retire.

Ceasar is just a few years away now, and will choose to reveal him or her self shortly- and offer clarity and purpose to the masses- who will love their Ceasar, along with the bread and circuses.

And all the poisons in the mud will leach out.

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  1. […] it seems that the “In the Cold Waste” postings (1, 2, and 3) from last week stirred the fecal material a little bit when LIQcity and Queenscrap linked into […]


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