The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 2010


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– photo by Mitch Waxman

He died alone, squirming in agony, surrounded by strangers. His last friend and only true colleague had recently used a colt handgun to commit suicide, and the only woman he ever loved had left him years ago. Instead he lay there alone in the charity ward- dying in anonymity and pain as his parents had. An orphan raised by matron aunts who indulged and spoiled the strange child who came to them in their dotage- they left him unprepared for adulthood. He retreated into his letters, wrote his stories, and never knew he would live on in the dreams of the sensitive and artistic forever more.

Just 14 months previous to his death, the newspapers detailed the lurid crimes of Albert Fish- the Gray Man, the Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, The Boogeyman– who was executed at SingSing. The good old days, indeed.

“In relating the circumstances which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative. It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Severely malnourished due to privation and poverty, cancer of the intestine was the diagnosis when he finally checked himself in to the hospital, for the pain had become unbearable. Some money had been found by cousins to bury him in a family plot, but there was no memorial to him on the stone, just his name. He lay with the parents who had disappeared into mental hospitals. Rumors and postmortem analysis of medical records support the theory of tertiary syphilis as the cause of their ruination- but for the son, though, it was failure and loneliness.

In the year same month that he was born, a genius painter– who also suffered from the madness induced by syphilis- shot himself in the chest.

“Our modern worship of empty ideals is ludicrous. What does the condition of the rabble matter? All we need do is to keep it as quiet as we can. What is more important, is to perpetuate those things of beauty which are of real value because involving actual sense-impressions rather than vapid theories. “Equality” is a joke — but a great abbey or cathedral, covered with moss, is a poignant reality. If it is for us to safeguard and preserve the conditions which produce great abbeys, and palaces, and picturesque walled town, and vivid sky-lines of steeples and domes, and luxurious tapestries, and fascinating books, paintings and statuary, and colossal organs and noble music, and dramatic deeds on embattled fields — these are all there is of life: take them away and we have nothing which a man of taste or spirit would care to live for. Take them away and our poets have nothing to sing — our dreamers have nothing to dream about. The blood of a million men is well shed in producing one glorious legend which thrills posterity and it is not at all important why it was shed.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For a time, he lived in New York, and took a wife. They lived in Brooklyn, and like any writer of the early 20th century, he spent a great deal of his time in Greenwich Village. The settings of several of his stories are still extant within the Shining City. Xenophobic and racially charged viewpoints, which are actually quite liberal by the standards of early 20th century America, dog his reputation to this day. However, the company he kept while in New York was a cross section of ethnicity. His wife was Jewish, after all, and his friends were shocked when they learned of his racial politics.

The New York he knew was a seething cauldron of crime and hatred, with all the tribes of man battling for their slice of the American Pie. For a bourgeois anglophile from New England, this was his first taste of fear, and when he picked up the newspapers they spoke of a sensational englishman who had proclaimed himself “the Great Beast”. This english wizard had just moved from Greenwich VIllage to Palermo to set up the “Abbey of Thelema“, after having performed a secret rite on Esopus island (in the Hudson RIver) and receiving the revelation “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.

“I have dwelt ever in realms apart from the visible world; spending my youth and adolescence in ancient and little-known books, and in roaming the fields and groves of the region near my ancestral home. I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there; but of this I must say little, since detailed speech would but confirm those cruel slanders upon my intellect which I sometimes overhear from the whispers of the stealthy attendants around me. It is sufficient for me to relate events without analysing causes.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The existential and celestial nature of the abyssal future mankind, as elucidated by the frenchman Camus, would soon be facing as the second World War slouched toward the use of atomic weaponry would not have surprised him . Long ago, in his house, quaint iterations of the macabre had been put aside for something grander. He looked past our world, into cosmic gulfs of infinity whose utter vastness filled him with dread.

That there are some things to which even madness and death are preferable to, and culturally childlike monstrosities like ghosts and vampires and messiahs should be shelved as quaint relics. He foresaw a world in which men would be regarded as ants, and the gods care not if you worship them or not, and all the faiths of men are mere superstition.

He put forward the belief that if mankind as a whole was to discover our true importance in the universe it would trigger a new dark age. He warned that the cosmic revelations would teach men new ways to fight, and eat, and enjoy themselves- while at the center of it all, cosmic evil would slaver with delight as mankind destroyed itself.

“Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Howard Philips Lovecraft died in Providence on the Ides of March, of instestinal cancer, in 1937.

from wikipedia

In 1932, Lovecraft wrote in a letter to Robert E. Howard: “All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don’t regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Pickman

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Kill Van Kull walk 2

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for part one, click here

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Kill Van Kull is an industrial waterway which provides a border between Staten Island and New Jersey, as well as serving the role of a maritime route between the Port of Newark and the greater body of water called New York Harbor or the New York Harbor Estuary- depending on your priorities. The New Jersey side of the Kill Van Kull is lined with modern docks and industrial facilities. The Staten Island side seems to have abandoned its industrial role, with storm shattered pilings and relict rail tracks found lining its banks.

from wikipedia

New York Harbor lies at the confluence of three major bodies of water. The harbor opens onto the New York Bight (Atlantic Ocean) to the southeast and the Long Island Sound to the northeast. Both of these are essentially marine bodies with both tides and saltwater, but the Sound compared to the Atlantic is about 20-30% less saline (as an estuary), and the tide is about 3 hours later with as much as 70% more variation. The Hudson River adds a fresher, non-tidal inflow from the north, although the tide and brackishness extend well up river.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Critters abound along this cement clad shore, and large flocks of coastal and ocean fowl may be observed. My ignorance of the natural world is an ongoing handicap (why can’t I know everything about anything? … human… all too… human…) so I cannot describe the taxonomy of these birds. Perhaps a helpful Newtown Pentacle reader with ornithological knowledge can assist in identifying the specie observed above. I can tell you that they were apparent in great numbers, during the early days of March.

UPDATE: Sharp eyed reader Christina informs me that these are Brant Geese.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District recently shared its plans to improve the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary with members of Congress and other key decision-makers. Representatives of more than 20 organizations joined the District commander aboard the USACE vessel Hayward tour of the estuary and the Hudson River.

“It’s the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic exploration up this great river,” said Col. John R. Boulé II, New York District commander, addressing the group from the bow of the Hayward. “Our view must be very different from his. Years of industrialization have considerably degraded this part of the Hudson.”

The Corps plans to help turn back the hands of time on the estuary. The event to celebrated the unveiling of an innovative, comprehensive restoration plan created in collaboration with partners, and with a focus on restoring the estuary. This will create a healthier environment for fish and wildlife, and also provide the public cleaner waters, healthier fisheries, increased flood protection, recreational opportunities, and a boost to the region’s economy.

“The primary goal of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Comprehensive Restoration Plan is to develop a mosaic of habitats that provides maximum ecological and societal benefits to the region,” said Lisa Baron, project manager and marine biologist with the New York District.

A diverse group of USACE technical experts and consultants developed the plan as part of the Hudson Raritan Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Study sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The plan was prepared in collaboration with the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program and more than 60 partnering organizations, including federal, state and local agencies, non-governmental organizations and regional stakeholders. The overall plan is unique in that these agencies are presently combining their funds and forces to reduce redundancy, become more efficient and save taxpayers a considerable amount of money. The plan will serve as a master guide and framework for restoration efforts throughout the estuary.

The plan involves many partners because the estuary spans 1,600 square miles across New York and New Jersey. An estuary is the area where the fresh waters of a river meet the salt water of the sea. The New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary includes rivers, wetlands, coastline and open waters, and is located within a complex ecological system and a metropolitan region with a population of 20 million people. The plan’s boundary covers a large region of the estuary, which is a 25-mile radius around the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

“To perform restoration work in the estuary, the plan divides the estuary into eight regional areas associated with specific watersheds,” said Peter Weppler, chief of the New York District’s Coastal Ecosystem Section. He is a biologist with an extensive background in ecological investigations.

The plan includes 11 priority targets for restoration, recognized as Target Ecosystem Characteristics that include methods to restore and create habitats, ensure these habitats live in harmony and with the surrounding urban infrastructure, and to ensure the estuary is safe and accessible to the millions of estuary residents and visitors.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The big show on the Kill Van Kull, of course, are the Tugboats transiting between the lower Harbor and the Port of Newark. Tugboats, for those of you unfamiliar with the role they are engineered to perform, act as precision guides that pilot and nudge ocean going vessels through the relatively shallow and tight quarters found in coastal waters. Powered by engines many times more powerful than required for vessels of their size and tonnage, Tugs are also designed with specially stiffened and overly robust frames which allow them to manipulate the elephantine ships that they shepherd to safe harbor. Pictured above is the Jill Reinauer. For an interesting window on the life of a tugboat crew and the hazards they face in New York Harbor, check out this post at


Built for Interstate Oil Transport by Main Iron Works of Houma, La in 1967 (hull #183) as the tug Ranger. She measures 91’(ft) long, with a 9’(ft) draft and 26’(ft) wide rating at 2,000 horsepower.

At the time Interstate Oil Transport had two fleets. Their Northeast Fleet “Green Fleet” that operated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And a Southern Fleet “White fleet” which operated out of Tampa, Florida. The Ranger was assigned to the “Green Fleet.” However, many changes came to Interstate Oil, a company called Southern National Resources (also known for a time as SONAT Marine) purchased Interstate Oil Transport. SONAT eventually sold out to Maritrans Operating Partners LLP.

In 1998, Maritrans’s northeast fleet was thinned. Many of the vessels where acquired by K-Sea Transportation Partners. Reinauer Transportation acquired three vessels, the Ranger was one of the three vessels. She was renamed the Jill Reinauer the others vessels Reinauer acquired where the Interstate Transporter (Kristy-Ann Reinauer), and the Delaware (Curtis Reinauer). In 2005, the Jill Reinauer was re-powered with MTU engines and fitted with canted windows in her main wheelhouse to reduce glare in the wheelhouse, and was fitted with an upper wheelhouse as well, this work was done at Reinauer’s yard in Staten Island, New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A sudden flurry of activity on the Kill Van Kull began when the Charles D. McAllister sped by, after having passed beneath the elegant Bayonne Bridge (designed by Omar Othman under the guidance of Gustav Lindenthal, who designed the Hells Gate Bridge spanning the East River nearby storied Astoria). For a different perspective on the Kill Van Kull and lots of information on the Chemical Coast of New Jersey, Bayonne Bridge, and Port of Newark- check out the Newtown Pentacle postings from June of 2009 here, and here.

also from

Built in 1967 as the Esso Bayou State by Jacksonville Shipyard of Jacksonville, FLA.  Rated at 1,800 horsepower she is driven by two Caterpillar 12-D398 Turbo main engines, with Lufkin reduction gears with a ratio of 7.14:1  She is a  twin screw tug, fitted kort nozzles and flanking rudders.  She is outfitted with two fire monitors that produce 1,500 Gallons Per Minute.  She has a fuel capacity of 26,670 gallons, 628 gallons of Lube Oil and 3,480 gallons of potable water.

She was later renamed the Exxon Bayou State, and when Exxon became Sea River Maritime, her name was altered to S/R Bayou State.  When Sea River sold off their assets she was acquired by McAllister Towing and Transportation she was renamed the Charles D. McAllister and is currently assigned to McAllister’s New York, New York fleet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moran towing’s Cape Cod shot past at what seemed to be it full 4,200 HP throttle, undoubtedly in an urgent rush. Note the lesson in physics illustrated by the waveforms around the speeding tug. The warping of the water’s surface illustrate the principles of displacement, surface tension, and offer visible waveforms for study.


Tugs are “displacement” hull vessels, the hull is designed so water flows around it, there is no consideration for having the vessel “plane”. Because of this the hull form is limited to a maximum speed when running “free” that is about 1.5 times the square root of the waterline length. As the tug approaches this speed when running “free” it is perched between the bow wave and the stern wave. Since the hull cannot plane, application of additional power when approaching maximum hull speed only results in a larger bow wave, with the tug “squatting” further into the trough.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Amy C McAllister was next on the parade, and it seemed to also be in quite a hurry. Something was approaching, something big.

also from

Built in 1975, she was formerly named the Jane A. Bouchard.  She is fitted with two EMD 16-645-E2 main engines for a rating of  4,000 horsepower turning two Falk  reduction gears at a ratio of 4.708:1.  She is also fitted kort nozzles, and flanking rudders with a Smatco single drum towing winch outfitted with 2,200′ (ft) of 2 ¼” (in) towing wire.  When she was acquired by McAllister Towing and Transportation she was renamed the Amy C. McAllister.

She is currently assigned to McAllister’s New York, New York Fleet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Turns out that “something big” was the Eagle Beaumont, a gargantuan fuel ship which was flagged in far off Singapore.  Sources reveal that the Eagle Beaumont is an “aframax tanker“, was built at the Korean Samsung Heavy Industries Yard in 1996, has a maximum DWT of 99,448, and is a double hulled vessel classified as “1A1 Tanker for Oil ESP E0 LCS-SI” with a worth of some $52 million.


AET’s double-hulled VLCC fleet is managed from London and is mostly engaged in the Atlantic trades, as well as longer haul trips to the US West Coast. There are currently 11 vessels in this fleet with an average age of less than five years. Growing VLCC capability is a priority and we are on target to achieve a 25-strong fleet within the next five years.

The fleet of aframax vessels forms the core of AET’s crude oil activities. All double-hulled and with an average age of around 9 years, these workhorses of the tanker industry transport crude oil in Europe, Asia and the Americas. This fleet and its global footprint will continue to grow, to provide increased connectivity between geographic regions and between our VLCC operations and our lightering activities.

AET vessels are employed for customers on long-term period charters, shorter voyage charters or on extended contracts of affreightment (COAs). The dedicated chartering teams in London, Singapore, Gurgaon and Houston work alongside our customers to ensure we deliver the best possible solutions.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The two tugs maneuvering the Eagle Beaumont in the narrow space of the Kill Van Kull are the aforementioned Amy C. McAllister and a second McAllister tug which escapes my identification due to the shadows cast by the titanic fuel tanker. My suspicions point to the Charles B. McAllister, but the wheel house exhibits minor differences from the shot above, so I’m probably wrong. At any rate, they performed a rotation of the tanker using sturdy cables and precision coordination of effort.

from wikipedia

Tankers used for liquid fuels are classified according to their capacity.

In 1954 Shell Oil developed the average freight rate assessment (AFRA) system which classifies tankers of different sizes. To make it an independent instrument, Shell consulted the London Tanker Brokers’ Panel (LTBP). At first, they divided the groups as General Purpose for tankers under 25,000  tons deadweight (DWT); Medium Range for ships between 25,000 and 45,000 DWT and Large Range for the then-enormous ships that were larger than 45,000 DWT. The ships became larger during the 1970s, and the list was extended, where the tons are long tons:

  • 10,000–24,999 DWT: General Purpose tanker
  • 25,000–44,999 DWT: Medium Range tanker
  • 45,000–79,999 DWT: Large Range 1 (LR1)
  • 80,000–159,999 DWT: Large Range 2 (LR2)
  • 160,000–319,999 DWT: Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC)
  • 320,000–549,999 DWT: Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From the direction of the Port of Newark, a behemoth container ship suddenly appeared. Notice how high it’s riding in the water, signifying that its pessimistically half empty. A Liberian flagged 231 meter long by 32 meter wide ocean going vessel, it was built in the year 2000, and is capable of moving at 21.1 knots. Another product of the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Korea, it’s the Santa Carolina.

from wikipedia

Samsung Heavy Industries or SHI (Korean: 삼성중공업, Hanja: 三星重工業) is the second-largest shipbuilder in the world and one of the “Big Three” shipbuilders of South Korea. A core subsidiary of the Samsung Group, South Korea’s and the world’s largest conglomerate, SHI’s main focus is on shipbuilding, offshore floaters, digital devices for ships, and construction and engineering concerns.

SHI operates manufacturing facilities at home and abroad, including ship block fabrication factories in Ningbo and Rongcheng, China. The Geoje Shipyard in particular, SHI’s largest shipyard in South Korea, boasts the highest dock turnover rate in the world. The largest of the three docks, Dock No. 3, is 640 meters long, 97.5 meters wide, and 13 meters deep. Mostly ultra-large ships are built at this dock, having the world’s highest production efficiency with yearly dock turnover rate of 10 and the launch of 30 ships per year.[2]

SHI specializes in the building of high added-value and special purpose vessels, including LNG carriers, off-shore related vessels, oil drilling ships, FPSO/FSO’s, ultra Large container ships and Arctic shuttle tankers. In recent times SHI has concentrated on LNG tankers and drillships, for which it is the market leader.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Laura K. Moran tug appeared, and took up its position to guide the Santa Carolina through the narrow hazards faced by the Santa Carolina passing by the Eagle Beaumont. Realize that a ship of this size is incapable of stopping on a dime, and the dynamics of such massive objects suggest vast kinetic energy transfers should they accidentally come in contact with other objects. An interesting point of language, interesting to your humble narrator at least, in the correct usage of the words allision and collision. An Allision is used when a moving object strikes a fixed object- i.e. when a ship strikes a pier or shoreline feature. A Collision is when two moving objects meet. The job of the Tugboat Captain is to avoid either.


When one thinks of admiralty law the archetypical fact pattern that comes to many people’s minds is a collision or allision (vessel contact with a fixed object). There are many well ingrained legal concepts and rules, some of which are unlike anything found in land based law.

First, when there has been a collision or allision the vessel herself may be sued as if she were a person. This is an “in rem” action and the complaint is against the vessel her tackle her engines and appurtenances.

Second, under general maritime law, each vessel must pay in proportion to the amount that it was at fault. This rule stands in stark contrast to state law in a those states, including Maryland, where plaintiffs who bear any fault can be barred from all recovery.

Third, there are several judicial presumptions of fault that all vessel operators should bear in mind. A vessel creating wake is presumed at fault for damage caused by wave wash. A vessel in violation of any safety statute which could have prevented the casualty is presumed at fault. A vessel that is drifting or dragging anchor is presumed at fault. A vessel that allides with a fixed object (unless it is submerged) is presumed at fault.

Fourth, there are several sources of fault in addition to the judicial presumptions including, statutory violations, local rules, unseaworthiness of your vessel and custom. If you violate a custom you may well find yourself liable for the casualty. A prime example of a custom is the Point Bend Custom on the Mississippi River. Since the current flows fastest on the outside of a bend and slower under a point of land, all downbound traffic travels around the outside of a bend while upriver traffic takes advantage of reduced current by traveling from point of land to point of land. This creates a situation in which large vessels must weave through each other’s paths.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In fact, the two ships were quite a distance from each other, but in nautical terms, this is a tight squeeze for the vagaries of displacement and current are somewhat unpredictable. The Tug crews that inhabit New York Harbor carry a knowledge passed from father to son and captain to deckmate, and represent millions of hours of applied labor and hard won familiarity with the liquid thoroughfare of the Kill Van Kull. No room for error is to be found as they nudge and pull, and mistakes can be deadly to crew and environment alike. The Kill Van Kull is only a thousand feet wide, after all.


Errors in judgment by the navigators aboard two tanker ships carrying volatile cargos resulted in a collision, explosion and fire that consumed both tankers, two attending tugs and left 37 sailors dead and more than 20 injured in New York harbor on June 16, 1966.

The fiery accident remains counted even today as among the deadliest shipwrecks in the history of New York Harbor.

The tankers, the British MV Alva Cape was entering the harbor with a cargo of naphtha and was struck amidships on the starboard side by the outgoing American tanker Texaco Massachusetts. The raging explosion and fire that resulted from the crash destroyed not only the tankers but the tugs Latin America and Esso Vermont.

Thirty-four sailors perished during this first explosive event on July 3. Nineteen of them perished on the Alva Cape, eight on the Esso Vermont, three on the Texaco Massachusetts and three on the tug Latin America. The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and New York City fire boats worked together to battle the flames and rescue as many sailors as possible from the burning vessels in a place with the ominous name of Kill Van Kull Channel.

The blaze was finally extinguished, but the Alva Cape was not finished as a human death trap. Three more men were killed in yet another explosion while they were aboard the burned out wreck, attempting to unload what remained of its deadly cargo. This happened just 12 days later, bringing the death toll from the accident to 37.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the Staten Island coastline, an abandoned rail line is observed. Forgotten-NY has rolled through here, and as always, wrote the book on Cornelius Vanderbilt’s SIRT.

check out the words of the Master- click here

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Inheritances of the industrial revolution such as these rusted tracks litter the North Shore of Staten Island. The lovely homes and tree lined streets nearby are sited, unfortunately, amongst the toxic inheritances of the heroic age of the mills and factories which defined the area- which cause your humble narrator to muse on analogies to Maspeth and Greenpoint, found along the route of the malefic Newtown Creek as it gurgles along the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

from wikipedia

Much of the North Shore is industrialized, which when paired with the fumes being exuded from New Jersey factories, helps to give Staten Island the worst smog in New York City. According to the New York State Department of Health, deaths from lung cancer are 48% higher on Staten Island than in the city as a whole. The poorest air quality being on the North Shore of the island. Within the North Shore’s approximately 5.2 square mile area, there has been around 21 different sites that the Environmental Protection Agency or residents have identified as contaminated. All of them sit within 70 feet of homes and apartment buildings, and residents believe that many violate state environmental regulations.

While the famed Fresh Kills Landfill much further South on the island has received large media coverage for its harmful effects, eventually leading to its closing in 2001, the numerous problems on the North Shore have gone ignored. The demographics of those who live around the former landfill differ quite drastically from those who live on the island’s North Shore, leading some to point the finger at racism and classism as answers to why so many North Shore sites remain contaminated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Santa Carolina threaded through the Kill Van Kull without incident, as do most of the hundreds of large ships that pass through it daily. The redoubtable Army Corps of Engineers is involved in a multi year project to deepen the Kill so as to accommodate even larger trans oceanic shipping and ensure that the Port of Newark remains a primary destination for all the world’s traders and merchants.

from wikipedia

Planned and built during the 1950s by the Port Authority, it is the largest container port in the eastern United States and the third largest in the country. Container goods typically arrive on container ships through the Narrows and the Kill Van Kull before entering Newark Bay, a shallow body of water which is dredged to accommodate the larger ships (some ships enter Newark Bay via the Arthur Kill). The port facility consists of two main dredged slips and multiple loading cranes. Metal containers are stacked in large arrays visible from the New Jersey Turnpike before being loaded onto rail cars and trucks. The building of the port facility antiquated most of the waterfront port facilities in New York Harbor, leading to a steep decline in such areas as Manhattan, Hoboken, and Brooklyn. The automated nature of the facility requires far fewer workers and does not require the opening of containers before onward shipping.

Today, the major Port operators at Port Newark-Elizabeth include Maher terminals, APM terminal (A. P. Moller-Maersk), and PNCT (Port Newark Container terminal).

Other significant seaport terminals under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey include: Global Marine Terminal in Jersey City, NJ; NYCT (New York Container Terminal) in Staten Island, NY; and Red Hook Container Terminal at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Brooklyn, NY.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I wonder if this duck knows that menacing “menage a mallard” that I saw at Dutch Kills a few weeks ago? Couldn’t be the same suspicious quacker, could it?

from wikipedia

The Kill Van Kull is a tidal strait approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long and 1,000 feet (305 m) wide separating Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey, USA. The name kill comes from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning “riverbed” or “water channel.”

Kill Van Kull connects Newark Bay with Upper New York Bay. The Robbins Reef Light marks the eastern end. Historically it has been one of the most important channels for the commerce of the region, providing a passage for marine traffic between Manhattan and the industrial towns of New Jersey. Since the final third of the 20th century, it has provided the principal access for ocean-going container ships to Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the busiest port facility in the eastern United States and the principal marine terminal for New York Harbor.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Kill Van Kull walk 1

with 3 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A legendarily squalid and desolate abode of pirates, gangsters, and irresolute opportunists- the docks of Manhattan- have been recast by modernity as “the financial district”- and simply referred to as “wall street”. The end of the line, the Staten Island Ferry docks at South Ferry and offers a free maritime connection between the far flung Staten Island and Manhattan across New York Harbor. The boat leaves every half hour, like clockwork (and the fleet is orange).

from wikipedia

The origin of the name South Ferry is probably one of the more misunderstood trivia, even to New Yorkers accustomed to using it in a geographical sense. One would suppose that it is so called because it is at the southern tip of Manhattan, and it hosts ferries. In actuality, it was the name of the South Ferry, one of several ferries between what were then the separate cities of New York and Brooklyn. The “Old Ferry”, which later was renamed the “Fulton Ferry”, crossed between Manhattan and Brooklyn from streets that in each city would eventually be renamed “Fulton Street” after the ferry company. The “New Ferry” crossed further east, between Catherine Street in Manhattan, and Main Street in Brooklyn.

As the City of Brooklyn grew, the area south of Atlantic Avenue (known as “South Brooklyn”) began to become built-up, but lacked easy access to the ferry terminals in the northern parts of the city of Brooklyn. Thus, a new ferry was established in 1836 to take passengers directly to Atlantic Avenue and the southern parts of the City of Brooklyn, and so was called the “South Ferry”. The ferry connected to the foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad (later part of the Long Island Rail Road) through the Cobble Hill Tunnel. In addition, South Ferry was the name of the Brooklyn landing and ferry house of the aforementioned ferry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another great opportunity to take photos of the shining city is offered by this short trip, and one must pick a spot soon after boarding or the masses of camera wielding citizenry will cheat you out from an unoccluded vantage point. Staten Island is a rapidly growing part of New York City, a hilly district of quiet and well planted streets that frame envious homes on one shore, and highways lined with medium density apartment houses and condominiums on the other which are served by a never ending series of strip malls and the occasional “big box” store. The older sections of the community are of maritime heritage, largely, and clustered around the Kill Van Kull.

from wikipedia

In the 1700s ferry service between Staten Island and the city of New York (then occupying only the southern tip of Manhattan) was conducted by private individuals with “periaugers”, shallow-draft, two-masted sailboats used for local traffic in New York harbor. In the early 1800s, Vice President (and former New York governor) Daniel D. Tompkins secured a charter for the Richmond Turnpike Company, as part of his efforts to develop the village of Tompkinsville; though intended to build a highway across Staten Island, the company also received the right to run a ferry to New York. The Richmond Turnpike Company is the direct ancestor of the current municipal ferry.

In 1817 the Richmond Turnpike Company began to run the first motorized ferry between New York and Staten Island, the steam-powered Nautilus. It was commanded by Captain John De Forest, the brother-in-law of a young man named Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1838 Vanderbilt, who had grown wealthy in the steamboat business in New York waters, bought control of the company. Except for a brief period in the 1850s, he would remain the dominant figure in the ferry until the Civil War, when he sold it to the Staten Island Railway, led by his brother Jacob Vanderbilt. (Three of the Staten Island ferries were requisitioned by the United States Army for service in the war, but none ever returned to New York harbor.)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just after passing Liberty Island, an abundance of industrial terminals and petroleum mills are apparent. A dizzying display of technology may be observed as the Ferry makes its way from Manhattan to Staten Island, and the lighting conditions demand a morning trip for photographic opportunities to be realized. You don’t have to be up fiendishly early, these shots for instance, were from a ferry ride that left Manhattan at 9:30 AM.


The Staten Island Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and currently carries over 21 million passengers annually on a 5.2-mile run between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Staten Island Ferry is the most reliable form of mass transit, with an on-time performance of over 96 percent.

A typical weekday schedule involves the use of five boats to transport approximately 65,000 passengers daily (110 daily trips). A four-boat (15 minute headway) rush hour schedule is maintained. During the day, between rush hours, boats are regularly fueled and maintenance work is performed. Terminals are cleaned around the clock and routine terminal maintenance is performed on the day shift. On weekends, three boats are used (64 trips each weekend day). Over 33,000 trips are made annually. Ferry terminal supervisors, assigned around the clock at both Whitehall and St. George, are responsible for ensuring that the ferry operates according to its published schedule (pdf) or (html).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Vane Bros. Choptank, a very modern tug built by Thoma-Sea, a shipbuilder which operates out of the Lockport shipyard in Houma, LA. Vane Bros. and its plans for an ultra modern fleet was featured in a 2007 feature at


The tug Choptank is the fifth in a line of Patapsco-class tugs.  Like her sister tugs, she was designed by Frank Basile of Entech & Associates, and built by the Thoma-Sea Boat Builders in Houma, Louisiana. She joined the fleet in January 2007, and was subsequently named one of the “17 top new tugs of 2007” by American Tugboat Review, an annual publication of Professional Mariner.  

The Choptank is 95’ long, 34’ abeam, and 15’ deep. Her gross tonnage is 99 tons. She is powered by two CAT 3516, 2100 horsepower engines with Kort nozzles, and maintains running speeds of better than 12 knots. Featuring a model bow and square stern, her fuel capacity is approximately 90,000 gallons. Potable water capacity is approximately 9,000 gallons. With accommodations for seven crew members, the Choptank is dedicated to 50-class tank barges on the coastwide trade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I love this boat, the Tug Ellen McAllister. A familiar sight in New York Harbor, it’s actually the same age as I am. I mentioned this ship in a posting about last June’s Working Harbor Committee “Sunset Cruise”.

The tug Ellen McAllister was originally built for the U.S. Navy, as the Piqua, at the Marinette Marine Shipyards in Wisconsin in July of 1967. The Piqua’s anchorage for many years was at Holy Loch, Scotland. It spent most of its naval career providing tug services for the 1st naval district and the Atlantic Fleet. It was sold under its current name in 2001 to McAllister Towing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over there, that’s the Peter F. Gallatly, another Thoma-Sea built ship. A 1,200 HP, 327 GT tugboat, it went into service in December of 2008.



Official #: 1212432

  • Year Built: December, 2008
  • Dimensions: 100’L x 34’B x 15’D (Molded)
  • Gross Tons: 327 tons
  • Net Tons: 98 tons
  • Draft Loaded: 13.6 Feet
  • Speed Light: 11 Knots
  • Classifications: Endorsement for Oceans, Coastwise Trade, ABS Load Line
  • Eye Level: Lower Pilot House (23 Feet)
  • Upper Pilot House (40 Feet)
  • Capacities:
  • Fuel Oil 85,900 Gallons
  • Lube Oil 662 Gallons
  • Hydraulic Oil  496 Gallons
  • Gear Oil 662 Gallons
  • Potable Water 8,816 Gallons
  • Ballast Water 10,621 Gallons
  • Dirty Bilge 1,263 Gallons
  • Dirty Lube Oil 1,306 Gallons
  • Grey/Brown Water 3,898 Gallons (ZERO (0) Discharge Compliant)
  • Horse Power: 4,200 Continuous
  • Main Engines: (2) 3516 CAT @ 1600 RPM Tier 2 Compliant
  • Reduction Gears: (2) Reintjes WAF 11 37 7.087:1 Reduction with Shaft Brakes
  • Propellers: (2) Rolls-Royce Stainless Steel (4) Blades GWAN 104″ x 77″
  • Pitch ABS Open Wheel
  • Shafts: 9 1/2″ Diameter
  • Generators: (2) John Deere 6068T 99KW 120/208V Tier 2 Complaint
  • Towing Winch: (1) Intercon DD200 Double Drum with Level Winder and Capsan
  • 2,200′ x 2 ¼” Galv. Cable
  • 1,000′ x 1 3/4″ Galv. Cable
  • John Deere Engine, Torque Converter Tier 2 Complaint
  • Towing Arch: 8″ x Sch. 120 with (2) Bronze Bushed Sheaves
  • Air Compressors: (2) Quincy 325 Operating @ 150 PSI with 160 Gallon Receiver
  • C02 System: Herbert Hiller

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just as the Ferry was maneuvering into its dock at St. George Terminal on Staten Island, Ellen McAllister was good enough to move into an egregious spot. This tugboat, of course, was the Division A winner of the 17th Annual Running of the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition in 2009 and its Captain, Kirk Watts, won the contest for “Best Tattoo”. I was on a circleline observer boat at the event, and photos from the race can be found in this set at flickr.


McAllister Towing is one of the oldest and largest marine towing and transportation companies in the United States.  They operate a fleet of more than seventy tugboats and twelve barges along the East Coast from Portland, Maine to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Although their corporate headquarters are located in New York City they operates in the ports of: Portland Maine, Staten Island New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Wilmington North Carolina, Georgetown, and Charleston, South Carolina as well as Jacksonville, and Port Everglades, Florida; including San Juan Puerto Rico.  McAllister engages in ship docking, general harbor towing, coastal towing and bulk transportation.

Captain James McAllister started the first McAllister enterprise shortly after he arrived from Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland . Together with his brothers and in-laws, McAllister formed the Greenpoint Lighterage Company. They augmented the lighterage business with towing, with the acquisition of their first steam tug, the R.W. Burke, in the 1880’s, while the Brooklyn Bridge was still being built.  In the early twentieth century there was a period of innovation and expansion.  Captain James was one of the first to convert a sail lighter into a bulk oil carrier, for the transport of oil around New York Harbor. The company also became known nationally for its salvage work, which extended from the West Indies, along the Atlantic Coast as far north as Maine.

In 1909, the company acquired the Starin Fleet of steamboat excursion vessels, forming the McAllister Steamboat Company, which was then among the largest excursion boat operators in New York, with regular runs to the Statue of Liberty, Bear Mountain, Coney Island, and Long Island.  After the death of Captain James in 1916, his four sons assumed control of the company.  The new partnership consisted of James, John E., Charles D. and William H., the second generation of McAllisters.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

chugging along…

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

An unholy and untrammeled period of exertions, which have left your humble narrator a hollow eyed wreck in the last few days, are nearly complete. A short missive this morning, as I am off to the shores of “sub jersey”, or Staten Island as the rest of you might describe it, to meet with my aged mother’s physicians. The poor woman’s health collapsed several years ago, and on doctor’s orders, we moved her into a nursing home. Luckily, dementia has shielded her from the depersonalization and horror of institutionalization- her constructed reality is filled with deceased loved ones and the belief that she is going home “tomorrow”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately for my Mom, and even worse for the facility she resides in, she has developed a bed sore of some severity which has forced me to turn my attentions to Staten Island. A pressure ulcer, which is to be expected in patients suffering from her portfolio of illness but is nevertheless representative of neglectful failure for her caregivers, developed to Stage 4 (which I won’t even link to wikipedia to explain, as it’s that hideous). An open wound the size of softball, it is on her back and advanced enough to have required surgical debridement last week. An investigation into “how this advanced so quickly”, and “when, who, what, and how often” was initiated at my insistence by the administration of the Nursing Home, the findings of which are the point of my trip to… “sub jersey” today.

Something wicked this way comes… if you see a filthy black raincoat tattering down Victory Blvd. today… beware the coming of the Ides. Know that a storm is arrived, venom will be spat, and the dragon loosed.

Delayed by obligation, the next installment of “Creek Week” is on the stove and simmering, expect it tomorrow…

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 11, 2010 at 10:52 am

Posted in Pickman

Tagged with , ,

the shadow over sunnyside

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

First Canto,

Lords and Ladies of Newtown-

Homosexuality is a non issue to me. This is partly because I’m not gay, and therefore I don’t suffer the oppression, discrimination, and second class status afforded this slice of the american pie by so called political conservatives. Most people hate me for reasons having nothing to do with sexual preference, but when the subject is brought up by my blue collar buddies- a standard response I offer is “what the hell do you care what somebody else does in the bedroom?”. The antics some of my heterosexual friends get up to would curl your hair, I tell you, but this is a society based on choice and self determination and anyone can follow whatever dream may intrigue them.


The Keltic Dreams Irish Dancers, are a group of 33 children ages 7-12 from Public School 59, PS 59 in the Bronx, NY. The school is situated in a low Socio Economic area in the Bronx and has a 95% poverty rate. The students are all African American and Hispanic and have no background in Irish culture. Hired by the Department of Education, I, Caroline Duggan, moved to New York over 4 years ago and began teaching music in the school. I had no intention of staying more than one year in the school but fell in love with the children’s drive to become professional. After being constantly asked by the children why I spoke funny I told them that I was from Ireland. The fascination began with questions about the Irish lifestyle, leprechauns and Irish dance. They questioned me about a huge photo of Riverdance I had hanging in the classroom . I showed the children a few steps and was truly amazed by how quick they grasped even the most complicated steps. They were fascinated with the Riverdance video from Radio City, which I still show them on a regular basis. Especially how the show incorporated different cultures into Irish dancing. With this idea in mind and with the amazing support of the principal and school, I began an Irish dancing program after school twice a week. The group The Keltic Dreams was born and have since had their own one hour show on The Plaza at Lincoln Center, in the Bronx Botanical Garden for Bronx week , St Barnabas Nursing Home, on the Band shell at Central Park, at Lehman College in the Bronx and in The Manhattan Mall at Herald Square NYC. They were the sole performers at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Queens for Mayor Bloomberg and afterwards all the students marched in the parade joined by their parents. The Irish dance program has encouraged huge parental involvement, bringing the whole community together!!!! Much to my surprise some of the children had never been to Manhattan before they performed in these shows!!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The St. Pat’s for All parade in Sunnyside, Queens, however, was organized as a response to the banning of homosexual marchers in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan 10 years ago. My take on this, based on an outsider’s view of the Roman Catholic Church- is that although exclusionary politics rub me the wrong way, church policy is that Catholicism is not a buffet. You eat the meal they serve or dine elsewhere, there are no substitutions allowed on their menu.

Saying that, “what the hell do you care what somebody else does in the bedroom?” once again escapes my lips and I remind you that I’m neither gay nor catholic. I grew up in an ethnic culture that encourages the wearing of funny little hats, having Saturday’s off, and the mass consumption of cake. As always, I remain an Outsider.

Shunning homosexuals from public view or acknowledgment – is bigotry in my opinion – and the power elite of New York City’s political class seems to agree with me on this one. One finds an alternative to such rudeness at this all inclusive event.

At this parade, you don’t even have to be Irish.

from wikipedia

John Chun Liu (simplified Chinese: 刘醇逸; traditional Chinese: 劉醇逸; pinyin: Liú Chúnyì, born January 8, 1967 in Taiwan) is a New York City elected official, currently serving as New York City Comptroller. Liu previously served on the New York City Council representing District 20. He was elected to the City Council in 2001 to represent northeast Queens (Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Mitchell Linden, Murray Hill, Holly, Kissena Park, Harding Heights, Auburndale, part of Whitestone) and was re-elected in 2003 and 2005.

Liu entered the New York City Comptroller election in 2009 and won the race on November 3, 2009, becoming the first Asian American to be elected to a city-wide office in New York City. He was succeeded in the City Council by pharmacist Republican Peter Koo. Koo, along with Democrat Margaret Chin, a Council member from Manhattan, comprise the Asian-American delegation of the Council.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Events like this are a photographer’s dream, a time when the politicos let their guards down for a few minutes, and they seem to conduct a lot of business at the sidelines. The politician smile mask, which is every bit as menacing and shallow as a shark’s grin, drops away and you see the actual face of the people who run our government. To wit, witness the Mayor in a contemplative moment, and his assumption of the public face he normally shows us when Carolyn Maloney greets him, and then his “big show” face used for working the crowd. This is part of the art they practice, the methodology of navigating the “endless sea”- as a 15th century Italian Poet might have described politics.

from wikipedia

Elizabeth Crowley (born November 27, 1977, Queens, New York) is a member of the New York City Council and a Democratic Party politician in New York.

Crowley was elected in November 2008, defeating the incumbent Republican, Anthony Como. She was sworn in January 2009 to represent the Queens neighborhoods of Glendale, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Woodhaven.

Crowley is the first Democrat and first woman to represent the 30th Council District. She was born and raised in Middle Village and now resides with her family in Glendale, Queens. She has two sons, Dennis and Owen. Crowley graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors degree in Restoration/Preservation from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY). She has a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute Graduate School of Architecture.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An admission I must make is that I love taking pictures of Michael Bloomberg. Absolutely no gap seems to exist between his thoughts and the facial postures exhibited, which is of course what his public persona is designed to intone. If it seems that I’m describing stagecraft and thespian performance, I am. Like all great actors, the elite who have clawed their way to the dangerous summit of political life in New York City must go to where a receptive audience can be found, and for politicians- places where their constituents can see them supporting favored causes. The LGT community is an important voting bloc, and those who do not take them seriously will suffer the consequences- and appropriately so.

from wikipedia

Carolyn B. Maloney (born February 19, 1946) is a New York Democrat who has served in the United States House of Representatives as the Congresswoman for New York’s 14th congressional district since 1993. This district, popularly known as the “silk stocking district”, includes most of Manhattan’s East Side; Astoria and Long Island City in Queens; and Roosevelt Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Social conservatives- a term which is actually a bit of a misnomer as it refers to a series of radical ideologies which advocate the overthrow of current social mores and policies in favor of something that would have nauseated Ronald Reagan, infuriated Nixon (who was an evil genius), and that even Ayn Rand might find severe- have a right to their opinion, also known as conscience. The Constitution of the United States acknowledges and protects this right- it does not GRANT this inalienable and irrevocable human right– as asserted by the so called “right wing”, it bows before it. This notion is something that evolved out of the religious wars of 16th and 17th century Europe, producing “the enlightenment“, Freemasonry, and representative democracy by the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Conservatism” can serve traditionally left wing causes as well, with do gooder progressives regulating what you eat and drink and inhale in the name of knowing what’s good for you – I term this “the left hand of fascism”- but that’s a story for another day.

from wikipedia

Christine Callaghan Quinn (born July 25, 1966) is a Democratic politician and the current Speaker of the New York City Council, which is among the most powerful positions in city government after the Mayor. The office of speaker was established in 1990 as a result of the revision of the City Charter.The third person to hold this office, Quinn is the first female and first openly gay speaker.

In 2007, the New York Post named Quinn the third-most powerful woman in New York, after Hillary Rodham Clinton and Diane Sawyer.She was rated one of the “Forty Under Forty” by Gotham Magazine.

Second Canto,

Lords and Ladies of Newtown-

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Early in the parade, I encountered a community affairs officer of the NYPD I had met during the Manhattan Bridge Centennial planning meetings, and after I reminded him of our amiable conversations- he shepherded me into the “press box”. Feeling haughty, as I was shoulder to shoulder with the Daily News, NY1, and CBS News personnel, I scanned around from my vantage and did my thing.

As long time readers of this Newtown Pentacle know, “my thing” is to look for what doesn’t fit or belong in a scene, and find out everything I can about it. That’s when I noticed the gentleman in the shot above, who seemed to be aghast at the unfolding tableau. In the middle of a happy and raucous crowd, he was radiating sorrow.

from wikipedia

A lone wolf is a wolf that lives by itself rather than with others as part of a pack. Lone wolves are typically old specimens driven from their pack or young adults in search of new territory. Instead of openly challenging the leadership of the pack leaders, most young wolves between the ages of 1 and 4 years leave their family in order to search for a pack of their own. Some wolves will simply remain lone wolves; as such, lone wolves are usually stronger, more aggressive and far more dangerous than the average wolf that is a member of a pack. They have difficulty hunting, as wolves’ favorite prey are large ungulates, and it is nearly impossible for a wolf to bring one down by itself (hunting on their own can be done, as lone wolves are naturally stronger and some specialize in hunting moose on their own). Instead, they will hunt smaller animals and scavenge. Sometimes, a lone wolf will find another lone wolf of the opposite sex, and the two will start a new pack.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Soon, his dour and expressionless countenance found company in the form of protesters waving signs. Ugly sentiment on such placards is commonplace at public events centering around LGT communities and these were rather tame by the standards of such protest. Once again- not commenting on right or wrong, just what “is”.

Noticing that the protesters were all carrying similar signs, however, made me realize that this might be a coordinated effort by a small group to manufacture the appearance that the surrounding community disapproves of the event and disseminate this false impression via the news media.

The news media ignored them… but your humble narrator…  scuttles forward


for the Newtown Pentacle is back in session…

Third Canto,

Lords and Ladies of Newtown-

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Were it not so, but there is a shadow which fell on the sylvan lanes of Sunnyside this last weekend, a malevolent force which seeks to hurl down the hard fought progress of mankind and return us to serfdom. An organization whose roots reach into the sandy amazonian soil of Brazil, and has spread to all points on the globe.

A true conspiracy, the apostate organization whose identity is displayed on these unhandsomely designed placards reads “The American TFP – America Needs Fatima”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling ahead of the parade, and I really must compliment NYPD on their gentle touch in keeping me ahead of the pack as I walked backwards up Skillman Avenue, I kept on noticing sullen faces with leaden eyes scanning the scene.

People who didn’t fit.

The first warm day after a torturous period of winter storms and blasting wind, families and dogs and marching bands promulgated a general feeling of relaxed enjoyment along the route. The parade felt like a safety valve, blowing off the high pressures of a very cold and dark winter in the megalopolis, but there were those who felt other things.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The American TFP (Tradition, Family, Property) is a Catholic Lay organization which is the United States arm of the international TFP. Banned from Brazil by diocesan edict, outlawed in France as a cult organization, the TFP was founded by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. A very interesting group of people, the American TFP and America Needs Fatima can be contacted here:

American TFP P.O. Box 341 Hanover, PA 17331

Phone – (888) 317-5571 or (717) 225-7147 FAX – (717) 225-7382

and at their web site,

At this site, which is a tremendous and expensive feat of web engineering, you can expose yourself to the totality of their views. I recommend “Dispelling Myths about the Crusades“, “Virgin is not a dirty word“, and the credo of their group which is Prof. de Oliveira’s Revolution and Counter Revolution.

quoting from Revolution and Counter Revolution:

This terrible enemy has a name: It is called the Revolution.

Its profound cause is an explosion of pride and sensuality that has inspired, not one system, but, rather, a whole chain of ideological systems. Their wide acceptance gave rise to the three great revolutions in the history of the West: the Pseudo-Reformation, the French Revolution, and Communism.

Pride leads to hatred of all superiority and, thus, to the affirmation that inequality is an evil in itself at all levels, principally at the metaphysical and religious ones. This is the egalitarian aspect of the Revolution.

Sensuality, per se, tends to sweep aside all barriers. It does not accept restraints and leads to revolt against all authority and law, divine or human, ecclesiastical or civil. This is the liberal aspect of the Revolution.

Both aspects, which in the final analysis have a metaphysical character, seem contradictory on many occasions. But they are reconciled in the Marxist utopia of an anarchic paradise where a highly evolved mankind, “emancipated” from religion, would live in utmost order without political authority in total freedom. This, however, would not give rise to any inequality.

The Pseudo-Reformation was a first revolution. It implanted, in varying degrees, the spirit of doubt, religious liberalism, and ecclesiastical egalitarianism in the different sects it produced.

The French Revolution came next. It was the triumph of egalitarianism in two fields: the religious field in the form of atheism, speciously labeled as secularism; and the political field through the false maxim that all inequality is an injustice, all authority a danger, and freedom the supreme good.

and from wikipedia

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (São Paulo, December 13, 1908 — October 3, 1995) was a Brazilian intellectual, politician and Catholic activist.

His mother, Lucilia Corrêa de Oliveira, was a devout Roman Catholic. He was educated by Jesuits. In 1928 he joined the Marian Congregations of São Paulo and soon became a leader of that organization, often giving speeches. In 1933 he helped organize the Catholic Electoral League and was elected to the nation’s Constitutional Convention. As the youngest congressman in Brazil’s history he was part of the “Catholic bloc”.

He assumed the chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. He was also the first president of the São Paulo Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Action.

From 1935 to 1947 he served as director of the Catholic weekly Legionário. In 1951 he began his direction of the monthly paper Catolicismo. From 1968 to 1990 he wrote a column for the Folha de São Paulo, the city’s largest daily newspaper. He opposed communism and Catholic leftism in Latin America, believing instead in the breeding of a ruling elite to run society.

An admirer of Thomas Aquinas, he was the author of 15 books and over 2,500 essays and articles. His works include: In Defense of Catholic Action, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The Church and the Communist State: The Impossible Coexistence, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII, and many others.

To put his ideas into action, he founded the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) in 1960 and served as president of its national council until his death in 1995. His treatise Revolution and Counter-Revolution inspired the founding of autonomous TFPs groups in nearly 20 countries worldwide.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Come into my house, and make the Lords and Ladies of Newtown uncomfortable on the first nice day in 2010? You get what you get, folks. The storm approaching you is the light of day, and something wicked this way comes… its called Truth.


TFP’s worldview is based on Corrêa de Oliveira’s 1959 study Revolution and Counter-Revolution. According to the aims laid out in this book, TFP strives to reverse what it sees as the immoral processes that have undermined Christian civilization since the 14th century, the “Revolution” of the study’s title. TFP promotes the values of Christianity, and opposes liberal and egalitarian ideas, policies, and trends in both society as a whole and in the Catholic Church. Thus, in addition to supporting official Catholic teaching on matters like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the like, the group distinguishes itself by also being monarchist and feudalist in its political tendencies and advocating a return to rule by “aristocracies” and “elites,” such as the titled, landed nobility of the Middle Ages, as witnessed by one of Corrêa de Oliveira’s most available works, Nobility & Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII (in this book, Corrêa de Oliveira rejects the “preferential option for the poor” idea that has become the core of modern Catholic social teaching, and argues for a “preferential option for the nobility”). Ardently anti-Communist, the group’s Catholic identity did not prevent it from excoriating the Pope over his perceived softness on Communism (Corrêa de Oliveira, The Church and the Communist State: The Impossible Coexistence)…

…The group’s activities, notably its pro-life marches, have won it the admiration of many conservative Catholics.On the other hand, most other Catholics, including conservative ones, consider the group an embarrassment, and allege that it advocates a return to Medieval society by advocating values that are, paradoxically, incompatible with Christianity. Recent pronouncements on their website that the Indian Ocean Tsunami was sent by God the day after Christmas as a punishment for the sinfulness of vacationers and the rest of the world, have added to this controversy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman presented a fully realized reporting of this organization here.

Amongst other revelations found in the posting are: the story of Carmina Salcido, TFP’s banning or condemnation by the governments of  Venezuela (1985’s version), Chile, and France. The Church’s response to them is similar- take for example this bulletin from the Archdiocese of Miami from 2007, this study of them by the University of Durban (written DURING apartheid, I would add), and this lovely exchange at’s message board in which the current director of the American TFP- Robert Ritchie- offers his views to an anxious public.

from wikipedia

The American TFP’s worldview is based on Corrêa de Oliveira’s 1959 study, Revolution and Counter-Revolution. According to the aims laid out in this book, TFP acts to oppose the anti-Christian process that has undermined Christian civilization since the 14th century, the “Revolution” of the study’s title. This “Revolution” has three phases which progressively undermine the Church and social order:

The Protestant “Pseudo-Reformation” and its rejection of religious authority and inequality, in particular the Pope.

The “Enlightenment” and the French Revolution and its rejection of temporal authority, in particular the King and nobility.

The Communist Revolution and its rejection of economic inequality.

The final phases that follow (now taking place) seek to eradicate the Church and Christian civilization while applying more radical egalitarianism and implementing neo-paganism.

The American TFP promotes the values of Christianity, and opposes liberal and egalitarian ideas, policies, and trends in both society as a whole and in the Catholic Church. In addition to supporting all official Catholic teaching, the group also argues for the need for authentic elites in society that raise, above all, the moral tone of general society, as witnessed by Corrêa de Oliveira’s Nobility & Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII. In this book, Corrêa de Oliveira seeks to balance the notion of “preferential option for the poor” idea in some modern liberal Catholic social thinking, with support for the natural elite that exists in all societies, according to the teaching of Pius XII, that they may become the obligated class working for the good of society (Noblesse Oblige).

If the Revolution is disorder, the Counter-Revolution is the restoration of order. And by order we understand the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ. That is, Christian civilization, austere and hierarchical, fundamentally sacral, anti-egalitarian and anti-liberal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

And yet, most of the people along this parade route in Sunnyside would agree to defend the right these people have to express this odd stance in public without fear of state retribution. It would be nice if the same courtesy was afforded in return…

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm

St. Pat’s day for all Parade

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Another gargantuan set of photos can be found at flickr, this time from the St. Pat’s Day for all parade in Sunnyside on March 7, 2010. Here’s a few shots for now, as I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning, but we’ve got to talk about the protesters later on- VERRRY Interesting…

Malachy McCourt and Daniel Dromm – photo by Mitch Waxman

Brendan Fay and John Liu – photo by Mitch Waxman

Irish Traditional Dance – photo by Mitch Waxman

Joseph Crowley – photo by Mitch Waxman

Christine Quinn and Michael R. Bloomberg – photo by Mitch Waxman

Just how tall is Bill de Blasio, anyway? – photo by Mitch Waxman

Christine Quinn and Moppet – photo by Mitch Waxman

A great dog – photo by Mitch Waxman

Protester – photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ll be talking about these folks in some depth in a post this evening, which you will not want to miss (come into my house, from a Brazilian right wing cult, and think that the Newtown Pentacle won’t notice- HA). In the meanwhile, the entire photoset is up at flickr, and can be accessed by clicking here.

Lots of politicians and dignitaries, and if you attended, I swept the crowd a few times. Here’s a link to the whole shebang in a slideshow.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 9, 2010 at 10:14 am


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Phew. Busy couple of days… sorry for the lack of contact. Creek week is extending into next week as well, but check out what I did on Friday the 5th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Friday, I attended a ceremony which placed a time capsule in the Manhattan Bridge, then walked from Chinatown to Astoria, developed a LOT of photos, slept 4 hours.

Saturday- woke up, took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, then walked part of the Kill Van Kull shoreline , visited my sick mom in the hospital, and came back to Astoria.

Tomorrow is the “St. Pat’s Day for All” parade in Sunnyside- which promises to be enjoyable AND photogenic- if you’re around the neighborhood- don’t miss it.

Now, here’s a few shots from the Manhattan Bridge event.

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan – photo by Mitch Waxman


Janette Sadik-Khan serves as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation since her appointment by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in April of 2007. She manages 4,500 skilled employees with wide ranging expertise from engineering to construction finance, to marine navigation, and is responsible for 6,000 miles of streets and highways, nearly 800 bridges, 1.3 million street signs, 300,000 streetlights and 12,000 signalized intersections, as well as the Staten Island Ferry, the nation’s busiest commuter ferry service carrying over 19 million passengers annually.

Since her appointment, Sadik-Khan has implemented an ambitious program to improve safety, mobility and sustainability throughout New York City, and ensure a state of good repair on all the Department’s roads and bridges. In April 2008 the Agency published its Strategic Plan, Sustainable Streets. Projects highlighted in that plan include the first Select Bus routes for NYC, the NYC Plaza Program, the creation of Broadway Boulevard in midtown Manhattan, the addition of 200 miles of on-street bike lanes, car-free summer streets and weekend pedestrian walks.

“Gridlock Sam” Schwartz – photo by Mitch Waxman


From 1982-86, Sam Schwartz served an extremely successful term as New York City’s Traffic Commissioner before going on to serve the next four years as the New York City Department of Transportation’s Chief Engineer/First Deputy Commissioner.

After nearly twenty years with the New York City Department of Transportation, Mr. Schwartz moved from public service in 1990 to join Hayden-Wegman Consulting Engineers, Inc. as Senior Vice President in charge of transportation engineering, infrastructure, quality control and planning.

In the summer of 1995, The Sam Schwartz Engineering opened its doors with a staff of two. Since that time, the company has grown to include over sixty diverse professionals. Today, under Sam’s direction, The Sam Schwartz Engineering produces some of the finest work in civil engineering, planning, and urban design.

Henry Perahia, Deputy Commissioner Chief Bridge Officer DOT – photo by Mitch Waxman


In 1998 Mr. Perahia was promoted to Chief Engineer of the Department. In 1999, he was given the added responsibilities of Chief Bridge Officer. As Chief Engineer, he serves as the Department’s representative on all engineering issues, including review of all major Department projects, response to engineering emergencies, and advising the Commissioner on all engineering issues. As Chief Bridge Officer, he is responsible for the planning and administration of all aspects of design, construction and maintenance of approximately 750 City-owned bridges, tunnels, and culverts, with an annual capital program of approximately $500 million and an annual expense budget of approximately $56 million.

The Division of Bridges is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of all City owned bridges and tunnels. It undertakes the design and construction of all rehabilitation and reconstruction work, including in-house design, engineering support, engineering review, and quality assurance. It inspects the City’s bridges to identify hazardous or potentially hazardous.

A few of the items that were placed in the Time Capsule – photo by Mitch Waxman

The assembled crowd of dignitaries, DOT workers, and invited well wishers – photo by Mitch Waxman

The time capsule was sealed up within the ornate arches of the Bridge – photo by Mitch Waxman

Specifically, right about here (this is inside the arch) – photo by Mitch Waxman

How could I not have a look around? I mean, how often are you inside the Manhattan Bridge, after all? – photo by Mitch Waxman

A window? – photo by Mitch Waxman

Here’s the view from said window – photo by Mitch Waxman

for the complete set of photos at flickr- click here

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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