The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 16th, 2012

habitual secretiveness

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO, on the Brooklyn side of that parable laden river of urban neglect called the Newtown Creek, is an industrial zone which most New Yorkers wouldn’t want to acknowledge ownership of. The particular stretch which is focused on today is not long for this world, as the replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge will obliterate these streets from the map when construction begins in 2014.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to the impermanence of this area, and the certain doom it will enjoy, your humble narrator has been making it a point to divert my path into its shadowed corridors and record what might exist here. As mentioned to many, one of the goals of this- your Newtown Pentacle- is to leave behind some sort of record of what the Creeklands were before the massive changes wrought by Superfund, the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement, and all the other mega projects planned for the area begin.

It is, in my opinion, important to have the realities of this place reported on by a source not affiliated with commercial or governmental interests, and to allow some future researcher to witness the inheritances of the past as they were at the start of this century. The paucity of documentation about Newtown Creek at the start of the 20th century are a major impediment to studying its history.

That’s my “elevator speech”, by the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, the specific focus of today’s posting has little to do with history, rather it’s the utter immolation suffered by this vehicle (refer to a Newtown Pentacle post of January 4, 2012 titled “Old School 2” for context). It seems that DUKBO continues to be a great place to ditch an unwanted vehicle, and the complete destruction of this automobile speaks to a considerable interval between ignition and the intervention of the NYFD.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s an assumption, by the way, based on the absolute destruction of the vehicle interior. The absence of doors, engine hood, and other usual amenities found on modern cars (not present lying in some heap on the sidewalk) suggests that the vehicle was probably stripped, abandoned, and torched- but that is another assumption. Both of these are wide interpretations born of having grown up in South Brooklyn during the 1980’s, a time when an epidemic of car thefts and vehicular arson ran rampant and vehicles in similar condition would regularly be encountered along the Belt Parkway and its service roads.

Kids in my neighborhood became very familiar with the difference between “an accident” and an “on purpose”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Can’t blame NYFD for not getting to it in time for anything else than extinguishing the husk, as this is the middle of nowhere and residential housing is quite distant in any direction. At night, this a ghost town, with shuttered businesses and truck lots, and little or no traffic. Who can guess what transpires here, in the dead of night amidst the darkness of DUKBO?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you’re missing what looks like a mid size SUV or perhaps a minivan, this corner in DUKBO seems to be a great place to start looking for what remains of it.

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