The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

humanless region

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As one might have observed in recent media reports, the Mayor of New York City and certain hand picked lieutenants and allies deployed the “golden shovels” and officially “broke ground” at the so called Hunters Point South project in Long Island City. Funny, as construction has been going on around here for a while, mainly on improving the archaic sewer and water system.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On second street, there is a long ditch currently extant which reveals part of this work. Much of what is happening around here, I am led to believe, is closer to the East River. This assertion is easily proven if one is a customer of the East River Ferry, as the fence line one follows to the dock winds its way along the early phases of the construction site where this grandiose plumbing is being installed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spongy, the soil at Hunters Point has seen a lot of industrial tenants come and go over the centuries. At the penultimate southern terminus of the street is the notorious Newtown Creek, to the west is the squamous East River- which was known as the River of Sound to ancient mariners. Interestingly enough- the ground water, or at least the bits of it which have percolated into this pit, is not dissimilar in color or appearance to the very end of the Newtown Creek’s distant tributary English Kills in Bushwick.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprisingly, the “layer cake” normally observed in Long Island City street repairs was not visible. Like lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn, the streets are several centuries deep, and one will often see several layers of different pavement technologies on display. If one is very lucky and the street is very old- a layer of compacted and oiled earth, capped by a white chalky substance surmounted by a layer or two of gravel which lies under Belgian Blocks then cement and tar and then concrete and asphalt might be observed.

I’ve got a shot or two from Queens Plaza in which this layer cake is obviously encountered, for instance.

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