The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

profound discouragement

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With my favored vantage on Dutch Kills, the estimable Borden Avenue Bridge, once more accessible– I’ve been making it a point to aim my wanderings toward its general direction whenever I can summon the fortitude to brave the ice. As crazy as it sounds, and regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle- have become fairly accustomed to crazy, I really missed this little bridge for the nearly 2 years it had been undergoing emergency repair.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps its because this is the first section of the Newtown Creek that I actively explored, researched, and made it a point of documenting. Maybe its simply because this is the most easily attained of the Creek’s tributaries for one who walks, or that it seems to be the most “down on it’s luck” section of the vast watershed and I’m drawn by nature to the runt of the litter.

English Kills in far off Brooklyn makes for far better cautionary tales, but there’s just something tragic about Dutch Kills that always draws me in.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An actual “out loud gasp” escaped my food hole when I discovered that the resident Crow of the Borden Avenue Bridge had not been forced out of his shanty by the long construction project, and if anything- the fellow had been building additions to the ramshackle hut constructed from found materials.

Last time that I had pointed my lens at this character was in the February 3rd posting of 2010 titled “affordable housing development on Borden Avenue“.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The smell of a wood fire was wafting from the Crow’s slapdash of plywood, tyvek, and sheet metal- a vague scent which crowded its way into the otherwise extant perfumes normally associated with Dutch Kills.

For those of you who haven’t been reading the Newtown Pentacle since inception- “Crow” is a term I picked up from the neighborhood in Astoria that describes the armies of itinerant scrap metal collectors who find profit in other people’s waste- “put something shiny out on the sidewalk, and the crows will show up and take it” is a common aphorism around my part of Astoria.

I’ve assigned this crow a name “Blue Crow”, but both the “red crow” and the “burgundy crow” have been mentioned previously.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a bunch of these folks I’ve been spying on, and I’ve even heard rumors of a criminal group who pilfer the white bronze monuments and copper fittings of area cemeteries to sell the valuable metals on the scrap market, but I have yet to regale you with tales of the other- and quite polychromatic- crows who hold the “Green Recycling Jobs of Tomorrow, Today”.

One has also wondered, and more than wondered, at what foul congress the Blue Crow might have had with that which cannot possibly exist in the velvet deep of the malign Dutch Kills.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] That’s the Thomas D. Witte tugboat maneuvering a barge into position at the SimsMetal dock, and the rusty crossing in the background is the non functioning swing bridge which spans the larger Queens side tributary of Newtown Creek called Dutch Kills. […]

  2. […] an archaic sewer outfall, and were the brush not at it’s mid summer height, one would observe the shanty home of the Blue Crow […]


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