The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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It’s Maritime Sunday at Newtown Creek!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While hanging around Newtown Creek recently, specifically the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant’s Nature Walk, the Kimberly Poling tug was spotted towing a seemingly empty fuel barge. The tug is a regular visitor to the Creek, carrying refined product to the BP Amoco yard in Greenpoint at Norman Avenue and Apollo Street. Also, its always called towing, even if the tug seems to be pushing the barge from behind- don’t know why, it just is.

Note: in an interesting coincidence, this year’s April Fool’s day posting, “outward course,” depicted this same tug and barge from the Queens side of the Newtown Creek. It discusses both the towing company and the vessel herself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That 9.98 acre BP Amoco yard, (see the great fires of 1919 and 1882) is a distribution center which feeds bulk supplies to delivery trucks which handle end user customers. Kimberly Poling and her barge are equivalent to nearly 40 of these trucks, I am told.

Oil refining ceased at Newtown Creek by the middle of the 1960’s, and today its all about distribution around here. One doesn’t think of New York City as a refinery town, but this is where Mobil was born, when it was called the Standard Oil Company of New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The expression “bringing coal to Newcastle” would be apt, were it offered to someone whose frame of reference was Greenpoint in the 1920’s. A hypothetical time traveller would probably be dumbfounded at the notion of bringing oil to Newtown Creek, and sending an empty barge back out into the harbor.

Maritime Sunday shout outs to the crew of Kimberly Poling, which is a nice looking boat, abound.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

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

The Insalubrious Valley Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

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