The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for June 13th, 2012

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

All roads lead to either Calvary Cemetery and its emerald devastations or to the Shining City of Manhattan.

Oddly, modernity has severed most of the connections between the two, but the Long Island Expressway will still allow you to shuttle back and forth between them. Your humble narrator, of course, scuttles along the sidewalk to the polyandrion while shunning the metropolis.

The former is visited enthusiastically, but the latter is entered only when necessity demands so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surrounded by expressways, heavy industry, and the languid mockeries of the Newtown Creek, Calvary Cemetery is 365 acres of silent and sanctified surcease from the urban milieu.

Here lie kings, gangsters, soldiers, governors, and the huddled masses whose yearnings carried them to this ultimate destination. Untold multitudes are interred in this hill of laurels, which may truly be called a home to the tomb legions of Dagger John.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A great working will begin soon, and a colossus will be be torn away from its long habitation. In its place will rise a new shaping of steel and cement. Dire prophecies, attributed to the forest aborigines of central America, declare that 2012 will be a year of tribulation for the world.

In the case of this great bridge over the Newtown Creek, it would appear that they were correct in their assertion.



June 16th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Dutch Kills walk (this Saturday)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Creek Alliance has asked that, in my official capacity as group historian, a tour be conducted on the 16th of June- a Saturday. This walk will follow the Dutch Kills tributary, and will include a couple of guest speakers from the Alliance itself, which will provide welcome relief for tour goers from listening to me rattle on about Michael Degnon, Patrick “Battle Ax” Gleason, and a bunch of bridges that no one has ever heard of.

for June 16th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

June 23rd, 2012- Atlas Obscura Thirteen Steps around Dutch Kills walk

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Additionally- the “Obscura Day” Thirteen Steps around Dutch Kills tour proved that the efficacy and charms of the Newtown Creek’s least known tributary, with its myriad points of interest, could cause a large group to overlook my various inadequacies and failings. The folks at Atlas Obscura, which is a fantastic website worthy of your attentions (btw), have asked me to repeat the tour on the 23rd of June- also a Saturday.

for June 23rd tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My various interests out on the sixth borough, NY Harbor, have brought me into association with the Working Harbor Committee. A member of the group’s Steering Committee- I also serve as the “official” group photographer, am chairman and principal narrator of their annual Newtown Creek Boat Tour, and occasionally speak on the microphone during other tours (mainly the Brooklyn one). This year, the group has branched out into terrestrial explorations to compliment the intense and extant schedule of boat tours, and I’m going to be leading a Kill Van Kull walking tour that should be a lot of fun.

The Kill Van Kull, or tugboat alley as its known to we harbor rats, is a tidal strait that defines the border of Staten Island and New Jersey. A busy and highly industrialized waterfront, Working Harbor’s popular “Hidden Harbor – Newark Bay” boat tours provide water access to the Kill, but what is it like on the landward side?

Starting at the St. George Staten Island Ferry terminal, join WHC Steering Committee member Mitch Waxman for a walk up the Kill Van Kull via Staten Islands Richmond Terrace. You’ll encounter unrivaled views of the maritime traffic on the Kill itself, as well as the hidden past of the maritime communities which line it’s shores. Surprising and historic neighborhoods, an abandoned railway, and tales of prohibition era bootleggers await.

The tour will start at 11, sharp, and you must be on (at least) the 10:30 AM Staten Island Ferry to meet the group at St. George. Again, plan for transportation changes and unexpected weirdness to be revealed to you at

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

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