The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 29th, 2012

frightful parts

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

In ancient Greenpoint, down on Manhattan Avenue, a scrap metal processing yard has opened.

This is a somewhat puzzling development, as the modern streets around these parts host a large number of residential buildings- both old and new- and the locale is clearly trending toward the residential rather than industrial in the future. Regardless, this business brings badly needed jobs to recession plagued Brooklyn, and all I can say to these new stakeholders along the water is this- “Welcome to Newtown Creek”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that this particular metals business- which is TnT Scrap Metal, by the way- is using barges in the pursuit of their trade.

A single barge carries the equivalent load of better than 150 trucks, and one of the tried and true complaints offered incessantly at this – your Newtown Pentacle- is how few of the businesses based along the Newtown Creek utilize their bulkheads. The metals trade, at least the big players like SimsMetal, utilize maritime methodologies routinely.

This Newtown Creek of ours was once one of the finest industrial waterways on earth, and could be again someday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once upon a time, the sight of a barge tied up here would have been nothing special. The Newtown Creek Towing Company was nearby, as was the New York State Barge canal. The enormous brick structure framing the shot above, known to modernity as the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) was once home of the Chelsea Fiber Mill, an 1868 era factory building which was employed in the manufacture of maritime textiles and rope.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Manhattan Avenue Street end, where once the Vernon Avenue Bridge connected the Brooklyn municipality of Greenpoint to Long Island City’s Hunters Point, is a park and sports a kayak launch. It’s actually a pretty popular place for the locals- for dog walking, coffee drinking… and god help us all… people actually fish and crab here as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

TNT is making an effort at being a good neighbor, and has recently announced a contest for local artists to compete for a monetary prize and the chance to paint a mural on their largish metal gates on Manhattan Avenue. When word of this reached me a few weeks back, and TNT’s “rfp” crossed my desk, the first person I thought of to disseminate the news to the arts community of Greenpoint was none other than Ms. Heather over at

Ever gracious and instinctually curatorial, she ran the news in this post- where you can get all the details on the competition.


Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

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

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

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

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