The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

rather small

with 2 comments

Creekerie, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From Greenpoint’s Apollo Street, which is the dead bang omphalos of the Greenpoint Oil Spill, this construction barge was spotted operating on the Queens side. It seemed to be involved in a bulkhead replacement or repair operation at what would likely be the Waste Management facility in Blissville that sits astride the western fringe of a property once known as the Queens County Oil works of Charles Pratt. A humble narrator is not “in the know” on the project, and mainly stopped off at Apollo Street for the most urgent and personal of reasons (the overgrown street end with it’s attendant vegetation is a wonderful spot for urinating).

Interestingly, after zipping up my own tackle and heading back up the sloped dead end street, I passed a fellow who was heading for the street end with a fishing pole and a tackle box.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s hard to for most listeners to believe me when mention is made of the quite active fishing community in Greenpoint (and LIC/Blissville for that matter) that exploits the biota of Newtown Creek. In the environmental community, much mention is made of this pursuit, and the problematic concept of cautionary signage often comes up. Officialdom, when confronted with the idea that people fish here, will tell you that licensed fishermen are instructed against such practices and offered guide lines about the consumption of creatures caught in places like Newtown Creek.

When the idea that zero percent of the people who fish here are licensed, NYS officialdom returns with “it’s illegal to fish without a license.” One understands that it is also illegal to double park, smoke marijuana, or to illegally dump garbage in the street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason that placing any sort of signage along the Newtown Creek is a difficult topic can be best defined by the polyglot nature of the neighborhoods surrounding it. Obivously, the signs would need to be in English and Spanish – the two predominant tongues. You’d also need to do French, Polish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and some combination of the several Indian languages as well. Couldn’t hurt to throw in Phillipino, and whatever the hell it is they speak in Africa.

Signs would need to compensate for translation errors, to avoid linguistic traps and transliterations that would render “do not fish here” as a “devil fish kill children quick with oil and fire poisons” sort of thing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. I’m not aware of any reported cases of heavy metal or other chemical poisonings due to eating fish caught from the Newtown Creek or other such local bodies of water. Such cases usually are followed up by innumerable PSAs and a veritable Rosetta’s Stone of signage in every known language, a few dead languages, enochian script and other curious runic symbols posted along the creek and in trains and busses.

    There four reasons I can conclude for this:

    1) Officials are not disclosing this to the press or the press does not find these stories newsworthy. The reasons for this can be anything from no official policy on reporting or it might harm real estate values.

    2) The contamination is not as bad as popularly and officially believed or adverse reaction to exposure to small doses is greatly exaggerated.

    3) I just missed it due to my cloistered existence and disinterest in the world of the living.

    4) There are those beings that find such toxins have no ill effect on them or might be beneficial or even necessary for their health. The human fishermen taking their catches to nearby dark, abandoned places in offering of tribute to those nameless entities who dwell in the stygian shadows there. Just as well that we may wonder if all we see with the outward appearance of mortal men actually are…


    November 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

  2. Ah yes, fishing without a license is just as illegal as urinating in public no matter how ‘rather small’. Let he who is without sin, glass houses, etc.


    November 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

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