The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

maddeningly untransmissible

with 3 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A curious thing happens when one exits the former Celtic Park at 43rd street in Queens, and crosses beneath a titan viaduct carrying the Long Island Expressway near its singular junction with the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. First, one realizes the enormity of having entered DUKBO (Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp), and secondarily the realization that this is not the safest path for a pedestrian to have chosen becomes readily apparent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is a “back door” to the massive truss bridge, thrice damned, which spans the Newtown Creek and has done so since 1939. Any driver with NY plates on their vehicle, ones worth their salt at least, has several of these short cuts etched into their mind. Taking Hunters Point Avenue to Skillman Avenue when exiting the Pulaski Bridge in order to avoid the traffic at Queens Plaza is another one of the Creek specific ones, but there are hundreds of similar opportunities to shave a few minutes off of a drive found all over the megalopolis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent announcements by the elites of Albany have made it clear that the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement project has had its timeline amplified, and work will begin on the endeavor in 2013 rather than the following year. Accordingly, your humble narrator has been attempting to spend a whole lot of time in the neighborhood of late, with the goal of recording everything in the place during its final days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the features here that I will sorely miss is this lovely little footbridge which carries pedestrian traffic from the 43rd street sidewalk over to the head of Laurel Hill Blvd., which runs alongside Calvary Cemetery’s eastern wall. As far as I’ve been able to discern, this structure is unnamed, here is where it might be found on a google map. If anyone reading this post works for an “official” agency and has information on the structure which you can share, please email me here, and let me know if you’d like to stay anonymous.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you can see, the foot bridge spirals over the onramp of the Kosciuszko fed by the Long Island Expressway’s “Queens Midtown Expressway” section, and said road channels Brooklyn bound traffic onto the truss bridge. In my estimation, the foot bridge is just wide enough to accommodate an automobile, although the turns would be tricky to negotiate in anything larger than a compact. Perhaps this is what it was originally intended to do, or it might just be a feature designed to allow emergency access to police.

Unlikely, but long have I wondered why the foot bridge is so over built. Look at all that steel.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An access hatch is visible beneath the brick and mortar abutment which is freestanding from the LIE ramps, and evidence of some regular habitation is readily apparent. Someone is indeed living under, or actually within, this little footbridge.

One can imagine few places less peaceful to exist, at the locus point of the BQE and LIE at the foot of the Kosciuszko, within a masonry cairn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Habit and expectations demand that this person be labelled a “troll”, after the mythical creatures which European folklore describe as living beneath bridges. Odds are that this would be a cruel description for whomever it might be that calls this his or her “little hole in the wall”. Of course, this somewhat circular apartment offers one of the finest city views in all of Queens, and easy access to the B24 bus.

What tales might this individual describe, living across the way from Calvary Cemetery?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All around the Newtown Creek, hidden amongst the bridges and rails tracks and amongst weed choked lots and abandoned industrial buildings, live an undocumented population. The odd thing is that they have jobs, or seem to, and just don’t mind a little discomfort if it means not paying rent. Once, it would have made sense to me to try and help out somehow, but age and experience have taught me to be afraid of people who brave such hardships.

Whoever this troll is, it is probably best to leave them alone, as the NY State DOT will be evicting them before long in any case.

You may think this is callow, or callous, or claim it to be madness.

This is not madness, this is DUKBO.

3 Responses

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  1. […] Mitch Waxman explores DUKBO [Newtown Pentacle] […]

  2. […] For the first section of this walk, click here for the “maddeningly untransmissable” posting of May […]

  3. […] experienced on the spiral footbridge examined in the two postings preceding this one- “maddeningly untransmissable” and “danger-widespread“- the inveterate pedestrian feels as if a corridor of […]


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