The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 6th, 2012

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the 24th of February, a Newtown Pentacle posting was offered in which description of an astounding demolition which had occurred along 30th street in Long Island City, and whose purpose was to clear the way for a gargantuan FedEx trucking depot and shipping center. Attempting to describe the sheer scale of this to friends and Our Lady of the Pentacle simply proved that words would be inadequate to convey the scale of it all.

So, a humble narrator went back, and did a little bit of climbing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having once been a child in Brooklyn, you humble narrator learned to climb the urban landscape like a monkey. This skill is something that still comes in handy, especially when something which needs photographing is behind a ten foot tall plywood construction fence. The shot above is a “stitched panorama” which incorporates around 16 individual exposures into a single image- encouragement is offered to click through to the largest incarnation of this shot at flickr (click here) to appreciate the massiveness of the footprint.

Click here to see it on a google map.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From the decking of the Borden Avenue Bridge, you can see that the construction site extends all the way to the Dutch Kills tributary of the malign Newtown Creek. FedEx must need an awful lot of space.

Wonder why?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well to begin with, the entirely coincidental condemnation and demolishing of the FedEx World Service Center building in Manhattan (528-556 West 34th Street) to make room for the Hudson Yards residential development has robbed the shipping giant of certain capabilities. My guess, and it’s a guess, is that they were offered Queens instead.

And once again, Manhattan exports its problems to Queens, I guess.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When this site has been mentioned, those who live and work in Queens get a wild look in their eyes. They ask “Wait, where will all those trucks go when heading into Manhattan?”. Sure, they’ll be taking truck routes, but what happens when they bottleneck at Queens Plaza, the Midtown Tunnel, or the Triborough? Care to guess?

What about the tractor trailers leaving from LaGuardia and Kennedy, how will they get to Long Island City?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of that climbing talent bragged about at the beginning of this posting, and a switch of POV to Hunters Point Avenue brings you this “stitched panorama” of the rubble beyond the fence. Notice the lack of water being sprayed on the shattered masonry, or any attempt at dust abatement, and remember that the factories which stood here for nearly a century adjoin the monstrous pollution of the Dutch Kills tributary.

This is no land that the site stands on either, rather it’s a construct. This area was filled in by Michael Degnon in the early 20th century with rubble from the Belmont Tunnel construction, and that the bulkheads which defined the modern shape of Dutch Kills were only installed in 1914 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This rubble is coated with a century worth of “the colour”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around thirty or forty feet down, the waters of the Newtown Creek gurgle about boulder and gravel, and around the wooden piles which the concrete mastabas of modernity stand upon. The Creek is eternal, and water always- inevitably and eternally and patiently- wins.

Like many things around the Newtown Creek, and Queens in particular, you must just accept the decisions of your betters in Manhattan- I guess. They wish to install playgrounds for the idle rich along the Hudson, erect fanciful condominiums for their comfort, and soaring office towers to administer and employ them. Why should those of us in Queens complain, when they export their waste, their trucking facilities, or their garbage to us?

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, I guess?


March 6th, as in tonight

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

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