The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 2014

certain steps

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Happy Independence Day week, lords and ladies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whew. It’s been a very busy June for your humble narrator, and as has become a tradition at this – your Newtown Pentacle – when a holiday week is upon us, single images devoid of verbose description will be offered. At the beginning of the month, a trip to the Queens Zoo at Flushing Meadow Corona Park was enacted for my Brownstoner Queens column, and all the shots presented this week were collected during that excursion.

Pictured above is an American Bison.

I’ll be back next week with “real” postings, after I’ve had a chance to take a breath and eat some BBQ.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

trackless and inexplicable

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Weird stuff happens in Greenpoint, all the time.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are days when your humble narrator finds himself in esoteric places, far from the blessed hillocks which underlie almond eyed Astoria, and an alarming number of mass transportation options are required. On a certain day, in which I had been on the R and 4 lines of the subway and on the Staten Island Ferry twice, the latest leg of my journeys was accomplished onboard the East River Ferry and my goal was to get a few shots of the DEP Sludge Tank over in Greenpoint along the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Shortly, you will be hearing that the long maligned concrete structure found nearby the crux of Newtown Creek and the East River, which serves as the shoreline spigot which the sewer plant disgorges its product into the fleet of Sludge Boats that service the megalopolis, is slated to be demolished. One of the final stages of construction at the sewer plant, the assembly of a specialized dock on Newtown Creek’s tributary – Whale Creek – has been accomplished, and this structure is now outdated and redundant. Also, it’s in the way of a condo building which will be built as part of the Greenpoint Landing development and rich people don’t like seeing giant tanks of poop in their yards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The riverfront property (Yes, I know, its a bleeding estuary, not a river. Look at a map, what’s it called? East Estuary? No? Then piss off) adjoining the Eagle Street sludge tank belongs to Bay Crane, and there’s something fairly odd going on there. There seems to be a structure made of shipping containers, which have cars in them, stacked five high and nine deep. It looks quite a bit like the Hot Wheels toy car case which a humble narrator was quite proud of back in grade school (ok, Junior High School).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Incidentally – that’s the sludge tank, my intended subject, on the left side of the shot. One presumes that this is some sort of advertising or movie set, as this would be a damnably inconvenient spot to park. Especially with the East River Ferry pier in Greenpoint still out of commission.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

lean notary

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Shots from all over the edge of a Long Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a cargo ship was unloading a load of concrete manufacture supplies. The ship was performing the unloading process all by itself, with a series of swing out booms and cranes with mechanical buckets and shovels all busily employed. These shots were all gathered during the Solstice, when everything looks a bit ethereal, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is in its position of annual primacy over the megalopolis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You can’t see the Williamsburg Bridge lit like this during winter time, as the angle of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is considerably less efficacious. My camera’s color and light meters were all over the place when I shot these, as what would normally be thought of as afternoon lighting lasted well past 6 pm – I think this particular shot was from around 6:30-7. Notice the wild angle that the light is falling at – longest day of the year light.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is from pretty late in the day, as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself is finally slipping down past the shield wall of Manhattan. It depicts my beloved Newtown Creek, as shot from a familiar spot on the Pulaski Bridge. It’s a handheld shot, and is a bit grainy, but there was just something wonderful about the scene – couldn’t resist.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

cities and valleys

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An awesome auto spotted in the Carridor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a particularly busy week during which we only saw fleeting glimpses of each other, it was decided by Our Lady of the Pentacle that we were going to meet for an al fresco dinner at a pub in Dutch Kills. Your humble narrator was walking down Northern Blvd. – the Carridor, as I refer to it – and this cool car was observed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It wasn’t in the best condition, notably the thing was missing wheel covers and some chrome here and there, but I’m possessed of a certain fetish for mid 1960’s Buicks. The epitome of the land yacht, these mid 60’s Buicks were impossibly huge vehicles that bore powerful engines, the epitome of mid 20th century American automobile manufacturing. They use a tremendous amount of fuel, require constant attention, and fail catastrophically. Saying that, they look great.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is a 1965 Buick Wildcat. It sports either a 325 or 340 horsepower engine. Due to the missing chrome on the rear quarter panel, I can’t tell you if it’s the GS or “Gran Sports” model, which featured a ludicrously powerful 360 HP engine block, although the vast majority of “GS” models were produced in ’66. The Wildcat line ended manufacture in 1970, and was replaced in production by the Buick Centurion.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

valley and grove

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Why do they only turn the air conditioners on when the trains reach Manhattan?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you live in the 80% of New York City that is not Manhattan, there is little doubt about the inequality exhibited by those who rule over the shining city when it comes to cutting up the municipal pie. The rest of us get to deal with Manhattan’s garbage, traffic, sewage, and everything else that they want to pretend isn’t a problem. Unfortunately, we need to go to work, and the vast majority of jobs are “over there.” What I can’t understand is why the air conditioning on the trains only seems to get switched on when the subways hit the East River Tunnels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ridiculous life I live routinely carries me all around the City, just last week I was in every borough but the Bronx, and found myself on something like 8 different train lines. Without exception, the AC was cut off when leaving Manhattan or turned on when entering it. I could accept this practice if it was close to the end of the line, like the Astoria elevated station pictured above, but an E train entering Queens Plaza has already travelled a considerable distance when it arrives at the station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s likely a technical reason, or some union exemption, which necessitates that passengers sweat it out on the way to work. Perhaps it’s Sandy, or concerns about terrorism, which demand that the climate controls on the Subway remain off when the train is outside Manhattan. Either way, always remember that the Borough motto of Queens is “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

sights and glories

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Not sure if this thing sucks or blows, but I think that it probably just blows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted recently at the LIRR Hunters Point station, an esoteric bit of kit, which was boldly labeled as the TC 888 and which bore the branding of something called “ESSCO.” Certainty exists that shortly after hitting “publish” on this post, one of my rail fan pals will leave a comment or send an email describing this device in brain dissolving detail, but your humble narrator is focused simply on a single query.

Does it suck, or does it blow?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To me, it looks like something which really blows.

That’s a jet engine at the wide part of the funnel, and the fuel hatch had writing stenciled on it that advised “Kerosene Only.” Also, a lack if any sort of receptacle for the resultant materials which might be produced by an interval of powerful sucking, nor a visible connection to a feeder mechanism designed to interact with other external equipment, suggests that it probably doesn’t suck at all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, this pinkish orange Track Cleaner must in fact blow, and there’s no doubt that the jet engine must be able to blow chunks of trash and other debris from the trackbed. One cannot tell you if Hunters Point was getting blown, or just storing the device temporarily.

Either way, it’s clear that it doesn’t suck, and that its job is to blow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

amusing incidents

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Witnessed on the Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in April, your Newtown Pentacle displayed shots of and discussed the estimable USS Slater’s arrival at the Caddell Dry Dock on the Staten Island side of the Kill Van Kull. Your humble narrator was onboard the recent Working Harbor Newark Bay excursion when the Slater was encountered again.

from wikipedia

USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. The ship was named for Frank O. Slater of Alabama, a sailor killed on the USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry in action. The USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From the look of it, the ship was being repainted by one guy, which is a ridiculous notion. You can’t paint a Navy Destroyer, retired or not, with just one brush. I’d insist on using a roller, at least.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My understanding is that Slater will have returned to the water by the time you’re reading this, although I’m unsure of when her vacation in the City will be over and she returns to duty in Albany. One cannot imagine how expensive her trip to the spa has been, but Staten Island is noted for its rejuvenating qualities, so it’s probably money well spent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Paul Andrew, a tug operated by the DonJon towing concern (which has also been mentioned before at this, your Newtown Pentacle), slid past the Statue of Liberty, which was a shot I couldn’t resist capturing or presenting here – at your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are three Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Sunday, June 22nd, America’s Workshop
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

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