The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for May 2nd, 2017

spending hours

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It’s National Chocolate Truffle Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So; yesterday I showed you what the public opening ceremonials of the new Koscisuzcko Bridge looked like, and detailed a bunch of the stuff I saw. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been alluding to an experience I had which was under an NDA – or Non Disclosure Agreement – which I couldn’t talk about or show photos of. I’ve been given the official release on that now that the bridge is open, so here’s what I got to see on April 17th of 2017, which is the day that the Stakeholders Advisory Committee of the Koscisuzcko Bridge replacement project met up with some elected officials in Maspeth and the NYS DOT gave us an opportunity to walk upon and visit the new bridge.

Hey, I’ve always dreamt of standing in the middle of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, haven’t you?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We climbed a temporary staircase on the Queens side of the job site. That’s where the DOT folks are headquartered, and we – Stakeholders Advisory Committee and Elected officials – donned orange safety vests and hard hats, followed our hosts through the site, and climbed the stairs between the two bridges.

Documenting this project has been a long standing project of mine – this 2012 post tells you everything you could want to know about Robert Moses, Fiorella LaGuardia, and the origins of the 1939 model Kosciuszko Bridge. Just before construction started, I swept through both the Brooklyn and Queens sides of Newtown Creek in the area I call “DUKBO” – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp. Here’s a 2014 post, and another, showing what things used to look like on the Brooklyn side, and one dating back to 2010, and from 2012 discussing the Queens side – this. Construction started, and this 2014 post offers a look at things. There’s shots from the water of Newtown Creek, in this June 2015 post, and in this September 2015 post, which shows the bridge support towers rising. Additionally, this post from March of 2016 detailed the action on the Queens side. Most recently, here’s one from May of 2016, and one from June of the same year. Here’s one from August of 2016the December 2016 one, and finally . Here’s another from March of 2017 which discusses the demolition of the 1939 bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Up top, there were still people working, and from the appearance of the bridge – putting the finishing touches to the actual roadway, and adding a bit of spit and polish on the span to get it ready for its opening day on the 27th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Borough President of Brooklyn Eric Adams and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney were along for the walk. (The Congresswoman did, in fact, have the hard hat on, but quickly took it off for this shot.)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fact of the image embargo weighed heavily on me, cannot tell you much I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I had gotten to visit the bridge and walk a part of its length, but you “gotta do what you gotta do.” As mentioned, there was a bit of road top conditioning going on, mainly on the Brooklyn side, and we couldn’t approach that zone for safety reasons.

The hard hat guys are big on safety.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The view from the 1939 model Koscisuzcko Bridge has always been breathtaking, but was hidden by stout steel trusses and other structural elements. The second half of the project, due in 2020, will have a pedestrian and bicycle lane on the extreme western side which I anticipate as being a primal spot for photographers.

Imagine the sight of a thunderstorm, building over Manhattan, with the incredible Newtown Creek forming the foreground from this vantage point… the mind boggles.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As opined above, there was still a bit of work going on at the Brooklyn side of the span. The off ramp at Meeker Avenue is still being finalized (last I heard) as of this writing, but that situation very well might have been resolved by now.

I can say that the morning after the bridge opened on April 27, there was still a lane of traffic passing over the old bridge, no doubt to service traffic to the LIE and or Meeker Avenue (that’s a guess though).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We were allowed to wander around a bit, within a certain area, and soon my colleague from Newtown Creek Alliance Will Elkins and I were pointing cameras at the creek and creeklands in every possible direction. For me, it was a somewhat unique opportunity to actually compose shots and think about what I was shooting from up on the Koscisuzcko Bridge for once, rather than the “spray and pray” methodology of shooting which I normally do when passing over it in an automobile.

“Spray and Pray” is when you pre focus your lens, stick the camera out the window, and then hold down the shutter button while traveling at 30 mph, or in the case of the 1939 Kos – 5-12 mph.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thankfully, the image embargo and NDA is now “kaput,” so I can tell you that I got to visit and walk on the Koscisuzcko Bridge prior to its opening. Borough President Adams was apparently not under an NDA or image embargo, and shared the following picture with his legions of admirers on Twitter the day of. I hope his office doesn’t mind me reposting it here, but by gum I’m actually in the shot for once!


Upcoming Tours and events

First Calvary Cemetery walking tour, May 6th.

With Atlas Obscura’s Obscura Day 2017, Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour – details and tix here.

MAS Janeswalk free walking tour, May 7th.

Visit the new Newtown Creek Alliance/Broadway Stages green roof, and the NCA North Henry Street Project – details and tix here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

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