The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 21st, 2011

betwixt the horns

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Call me paranoid, but the Fireboat Three Forty Three seems to be following me around. Everywhere I go these days, there it is. Has anyone ever been stalked by a crewed ship on its shakedown cruise?


from wikipedia

140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million dollar boat will be the country’s largest fireboat with a maximum speed of 18 knots. The Three Forty Three will provide the FDNY with the latest technology available for Marine vessels, including the capability of pumping 50,000 gallons of water per minute; nearly 30,000 gallons more than its predecessor. The need for this increased pumping capacity was graphically displayed as FDNY’s existing fireboats supplied the only water available for many days after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. However, the technological advances of these new boats do not end there. The boat’s original design by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. will catapult FDNY’s Marine Division into the 21st century and beyond.

Because of the very real threat of additional terrorist attacks after 9/11, the boats will also be capable of protecting firefighters from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear agents (CBRN). While performing in any of these hostile environments, the crew will be protected in a pressurized area that will also have its air supply filtered by special charcoal and HEPA filters. Assistance on the design of the CBRN system was provided by engineers from the U.S. military’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command. United States Navy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Day two of a particularly interesting summer cold, and as you’re reading this (assuming it’s daylight) your humble narrator is most likely aboard a Circle Line and talking on the microphone describing the sights and hidden meanings of NY Harbor to a group of 700 Octa, Nona, and Centenarians.

Such odd moments in life are, of course, owed to the Working Harbor Committee and the Borough President of Manhattan, who makes money available for his constituents in nursing homes to “get out for a day”.


Scott M. Stringer, a native New Yorker, is the 26th Manhattan Borough President.

Since taking office at the start of 2006, he has dedicated himself to making Manhattan more affordable, livable…and breathable – preserving the sense of neighborhood for the 1.6 million residents of what is best known as a world capital of culture and commerce.

The foundation for much of the borough president’s work is the change he’s brought to Manhattan’s community boards. Energizing these formal institutions of neighborhood democracy was a top priority of Stringer’s upon becoming borough president. A new merit selection process, combined with an infusion of badly needed resources – such as dedicating to each board a graduate student from the city’s architecture and planning schools – has served to strengthen the voice of Manhattan’s neighborhoods in debates over city planning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was actually a recent Working Harbor trip, this time a program for kids in which representatives of certain maritime organizations like Coast Guard and Port Authority commune with a group of “city kids” onboard a boat, which had brought me to the Hudson on the day these shots were taken. The goal is to introduce to them the idea of a career on the harbor, something not often considered in the wilds of central Brooklyn or Queens.

Another maritime engagement would require me to be at South Street Seaport in the evening, and I had a few hours to kill so I decided to walk from 42nd street to South Street the long way, around the Battery.

from wikipedia

Battery Park is a 25-acre (10 hectare) public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city’s early years in order to protect the settlement behind them. At the north end of the park is Castle Clinton, the often re-purposed last remnant of the defensive works that inspired the name of the park; Pier A, formerly a fireboat station; and Hope Garden, a memorial to AIDS victims. At the other end is Battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard Battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and there is also a New York Water Taxi stop. The park is also the site of the East Coast Memorial which commemorates U.S. servicemen who died in coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean during World War II, and several other memorials.

To the northwest of the park lies Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the Battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park, a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline. A bikeway might be built through the park that will connect the Hudson River and East River parts of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. Across State Street to the northeast stands the old U.S. Customs House, now used as a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and the district U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In planning my route, however, I forgot to factor in the Freedom Tower and the 911 site, which is something I normally avoid like the plague. As a rule, I stay away from this subject, don’t discuss my dead friends who were Port Authority cops or Fire Fighters, and don’t engage in conversational speculation about the event with either the “Truthers” or the conspiracists.

On the other hand, I think that naming a Fireboat “Three Forty Three” is extremely appropriate while the term “Freedom Tower” is just silly and smacks of bad comic book writing.

from wikipedia

One World Trade Center (1 World Trade Center), more simply known as 1 WTC and formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The tower will be located in the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site, and will occupy the location where the original 8-story 6 World Trade Center once stood. The north side of the tower runs between the intersection of Vesey and West streets on the northwest and the intersection of Vesey and Washington streets on the northeast, with the site of the original North Tower/1 WTC offset to the southeast. Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority confirmed that the building will be known by its legal name of ‘One World Trade Center’, rather than the colloquial name ‘Freedom Tower’. Upon completion, One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the United States, standing at a height of 1,776 feet (541.3 m), and among the tallest buildings in the world.  It will be taller than the Empire State Building, and will be completed by the beginning of 2014.

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