The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 22nd, 2013

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Blissville, USA.

Found at the crux of the main body of Newtown Creek and its atavist tributary known simply as “Dutch Kills,” Sims Metal Management Queens Terminal is in deep focus this week at this, your Newtown Pentacle. My visit was prearranged with a friend who is highly placed at the corporation, and I was shepherded throughout site by its chief- Paul Lawrence, and by Daniel Strechay, a communications officer for the company.

Additionally, one of the employees whom I only know as “Dave” came along for the tour.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the DSNY discharges its curbside recycling program pick ups, employees at Sims move the materials toward an enormous conveyor belt whereupon it is lifted away from the years and toward its traveling container, which is a barge. Joyous usage of the maritime bulkheads distinguishes this facility, which ships its product out using the water. A single barge is carries the equivalent cargo of 30 trucks, and we have enough of those on our streets already.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The conveyor deposits the recyclable material onto a barge, which is outfitted with netting designed to keep the stuff onboard, despite the best efforts of the wind. This is a critical design feature, by the way, meant to keep the waters surrounding the bulkheads from accruing sediment piles composed of plastic and glass.

Last Sunday, the tug Sea Wolf was displayed handling a similar barge of recyclables while motoring down the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s how their municipal contract is handled here, in a nut shell, but as the global corporation’s name implies- Sims Metal Management is really all about metal.

An explanation of which material is destined for what market was offered, and destinations which included Turkey, Korea, and China were mentioned for various forms of scrap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point by the onslaught of visual stimuli, your humble narrator took a breath and contemplated the global network of shipping, commodity pricing, and man power which this midden of metal was entering into. All of it, beginning here in Blissville, in the humble borough of Queens.

Upcoming tours:

The Insalubrious Valley– Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

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