The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for April 23rd, 2012

halting tongue

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior postings, an awful lot of time is consumed around Newtown Pentacle HQ in the pursuit of historical anecdote and photographic documentation of the Newtown Creek’s storied past. Often, I’m asked “where do you do your research?”. In the case of today’s posting, it’s the amazing archives of municipal journals and industrial journals which can accessed at google books.


1908 image from “Illustrated History of the Borough of Queens, New York City By Georg von Skal, Flushing Journal, Flushing, N.Y” – courtesy google books

The Pulaski Bridge is a block or so from the spot where the Vernon Avenue Bridge spanned the creek (between Vernon Ave. in Queens and Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn), until the Pulaski was erected in 1959 1954. The “Vernon Avenue Bridge” pictured above is the 1908 variant, as there was more than one version of the Vernon Avenue Bridge over the years- including an early swing bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Included today is this helpful graphic, shot from the Pulaski Bridge, illustrating the abutments of the old bridge. Both are street ends today. In Brooklyn, one will find a park and in Queens, one will find an unofficial dock.


– photo by Mitch Waxman

An NCA event, which I for one am pretty stoked about:

April NCA meeting hosts Dr. Eric Sanderson

April 26, 2012 at 6pm

Ridgewood Democratic Club, 
6070 Putnam Avenue, 
Ridgewood, NY 11385

In addition to important updates from our members – in particular the Bioremedition Workgroup has been very busy! – we will be hosting a special presentation on the “Historical Ecology of Newtown Creek”.

Dr. Eric Sanderson, senior conservation ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and author of “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City” (Abrams, 2009), will describe recent studies of the historical ecology of Newtown Creek, describing the original wetlands, creek channels, topography and vegetation of the area. He will show a series of 18th and 19th century maps of the watershed of the creek and discuss the process of synthesizing them into an integrated ecological picture that can be used to inform and inspire natural restoration and cultural appreciation of the Newtown Creek watershed. This work is part of the Welikia Project (, an investigation into the historical ecology of the five boroughs of New York City and surrounding waters.

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