The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

colossal and protuberant

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

There I sat, broken hearted…

Somehow that old Brooklyn Public School aphorism was on my mind as I scuttled along the street ends of Greenpoint. These shots were attained at India Street’s junction with the East River and depict the shield wall of a Shining City as viewed from the collapsing pierages of an ancient and crumbling competitor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s difficult for us to think of the Boroughs as separate cities… well, it’s hard to imagine Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx as separate while with Staten Island it’s quite easy… but they were. This location upon which I was standing was, until quite recently (from a historical perspective), heavily industrialized. A workshop, this section of Greenpoint is in many ways responsible for the ascendency of Manhattan over not just it’s local competition but the Nation itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is another of the zones which the City fathers has designated for whatever they call “urban renewal” these days, and plans are both afoot and underway to convert certain structures to residential use (such as the “Pencil Factory”) or to clear away the existing building stock to make way for new construction.

The good news, or bad depending on your perspective, is that a condition set forward to the real estate interests by the City is that a waterfront pedestrian concourse not unlike the one nearing completion across the Newtown Creek in Long Island City must be built in return for certain laxities of enforcement regarding the zoned height of waterfront development.

At least there’ll still be a place down by the water where the kids in Greenpoint can go and dream of an age when you needn’t have to commute to get to work.

Additionally, the following event will be happening in Greenpoint on May 4th, 2011. I’ve met Shawn Shafner and he’s got a LOT of good stuff to say about some very bad stuff indeed. I’ll be there- at the Temple of Cloacina- how about you, Citizen?

Text from the flyer with links:

Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge*

Moderated by Shawn Shafner of The People’s Own Organic Power Project www.thePOOPproject.org

Wednesday, May 4th 2011 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm Talks followed by a panel discussion

Visitor Center at Newtown Creek 329 Greenpoint Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11222

The Speakers are: Frederik Pischke Interagency Water Advisor UN-Water, Vyjayanthi Rao Assistant Professor of Anthropology New School for Social Research, New York, Jennifer Farmwald Project Manager Water Supply Infrastructure & Watershed Assessment NYC Environmental Protection.

Visit DEP’s website at www.nyc.gov/dep Follow us at www.facebook.com/nycwater


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