The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

reflective power

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The places I go, the things I see… often strain credulity. This is not the world you know, this 3.8 mile long waterway located directly across the East River from Manhattan’s Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital which provides the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. If it can happen, it has happened here, and if it happened here it happened worse and grander than anywhere else it ever happened. Come visit the night soil and offal dock, hear the stories of the great men- Bliss and Kingsland and Flowers and Degnon and Cooper. This is the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, where the death of nature itself was accomplished, and our modern world was born.

Welcome to the Newtown Creek, poison heart of the Newtown Pentacle…

from a Newtown Pentacle post of April 13th, 2011

Just under an hour long, this Magic Lantern Show about Newtown Creek is personally narrated, and transports the viewer to every corner of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and street end, on the water and above it, and is presented in the idiosyncratic and off beat manner which has become familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle. It attempts to explain certain core questions in under an hour which have been repeatedly presented to me over the last couple of years, and the entire talk is illustrated with both my own photography and the product of my historical research:

  • What exactly do you mean by the “Newtown Pentacle”?
  • When did the Newtown Creek begin to matter?
  • Why should I care, how does the Newtown Creek affect me, as I live in Manhattan?
  • Where exactly is this place?
  • Who is responsible for this mess, and exactly who is it that’s going to clean it up?
  • How can I get involved and help my community revitalize and or restore the Newtown Creek?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It would probably be “politique” to mention that this is not a Newtown Creek Alliance event, which is one of the many organizations which I’ve become affiliated and identified with. Instead this is purely a Newtown Pentacle show, which the studied philosophs who inhabit the upper echelons of the Greater Astoria Historical Society are allowing me to present in their convenient location on Astoria’s Broadway- stumbling distance from the R,M, and N trains. The efficacy of gambling their precious time and effort upon such a poor specimen as myself would be proven by the event being well attended, and the negligible $5 fee at the door should prove an easy burden for most to bear. Therefore, a narrator humbly invites and requests your support and attendance.


Mon Jun 6, 7:00 pm

Travel the length and breadth of Americas most polluted waterway, the Newtown Creek, with‘s Mitch Waxman.

Breathtaking photography illustrates the journey, exploring the various tributaries and discussing the industrial history of New York City‘s least known waterway.

Witty and irreverent, the narration describes Waxman‘s own discovery of this place and the fantastic journey it has taken him on.

Question and Answer period follows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual presentation is just over a hour long, and during it, you’ll travel the length and breadth of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and bridge, each keystone of historical import will be illustrated with both personal experience and historical meaning. For those of you new to the story of the Newtown Creek (or the neighborhood) this will make a fine primer. Attempts will be made by your humble narrator to reveal this willfully hidden place, and introduce the uninitiated to the hellish flames of revelation which only the Newtown Creek can offer.


2 Responses

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  1. Hi, Mitch,
    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the talk you gave about the Newtown Creek this past Monday night at the Greater Astoria Historical Society! (I’m the guy who asked you about touring the Calvary Cemetary). I also enjoyed going out to the diner with some of you after the meeting. Look forward to seeing you again soon.
    Ron Caveglia (Forest HIlls)

    Ron Caveglia

    June 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

  2. It was a very good presentation and I enjoyed it. Thanks Mitch.
    Although It was a bit disconcerting the way Mr. Walsh was scowling at me with a look of murderous intent. Some jape of mine gang awry I fear!
    Aye, I beat a hasty retreat after the Q and A…


    June 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

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