The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for August 29th, 2011

revel and chaff

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As soon as the rain died down, I descended from Newtown Pentacle HQ here in the rolling hillocks of Astoria to the so called “Zone A” to see what Irene might have wrought here in western Queens. The shot above is from Second Street near Borden Avenue, at the largish worksite which Skanska has been employing hundreds for the last few months. Cleverly, the construction giant had dug a diversion ditch to allow storm water drainage.


– photo by Mitch Waxman

“There will be plenty of cameras walking around in Tower Town, so it would be silly of me to spend much time there” were the actual words spoken to my walking companion, who we’ll call the Charismatic Croat (CC). CC was also told that we’d be taking a short walk, and would be back in a half hour. He’s used to my lies and wasn’t surprised when we had inexorably headed for another part of “Zone A”.

All through the storm, I was wishing that I had the camera out at Newtown Creek, or at least Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Curiosity about the actions of the much feared storm surge upon the fragile bulkheads of Dutch Kills was killing this cat, and I dragged CC back and forth over these streets. There was some flooding, but in the usual places that flood anyway. Back on 2nd street, a few nice shots of the surge were captured by Jesse Winter and others, and an actual wave of East River had risen up and flooded 2nd. The Crab House was bailing water from their basement and more than one giant puddle still remained.

Down at Dutch Kills, 29th street and the large truck yard which houses this cement company were under a foot or more of water- but they are regularly immersed by small amounts of rain anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What made the day noteworthy, from a Newtown Creek point of view, was this little river of urban chocolate flowing out of one of the many CSO’s (Combined Sewer Outfall) which are found abundantly along the waterfront of the Creek and it’s tributaries. It smelled just the way it looks like it might. One often sees discharges coming from these CSO’s, but this was just a spectacular flow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I will point out that this could be soil washed into the pipes during the tremendous amount of rain which Irene brought to Queens. It could be sand or actually be a chocolate spill at some industrial confectionary which got washed into the sewers or something. That’s what I said to CC at the time.

Doesn’t smell like chocolate, the Charismatic Croat opined.

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