The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

secretive days

with 2 comments

Darkness and cold, it’s all darkness and cold.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just last night, I was menaced by a raccoon over in Industrial Maspeth, but that’s another story for a different day. Last week, on the other hand, I was on Borden Avenue in LIC where I discovered that the Borden Avenue Bridge is undergoing an asbestos remediation project that nobody in Queens seems to know anything about. Unlike asbestos jobs I’ve seen elsewhere, there was no plastic sheeting on the scaffolding and nothing in place to guard against bits and pieces from falling into the water.

Multiple inquiries were made. Even the NYC DOT (the people I’m supposed to ask are at Deputy Commish level, suppose I’m going to have to use back channel sources to find out), whose bridge this is, were stumped as to what’s going on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It often startles me how close the Newtown Creek and its tributaries are to the very center of NYC, both geographically and politically, yet it often feels like you’re in a foreign country when talking to Manhattan based “officialdom.” The actual geographic center, according to NYC City Planning, is at Queens Blvd. and 58th street – if you’re the curious type. I am.

It’s funny, actually. Land in LIC is worth more now than its ever been, or at least more than its been valued at in at least a century, but just 3/4 of a mile from the East River at Dutch Kills you’re in a black hole.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Irving Subway Grate iron works site pictured above. Long abandoned, it was immolated about eight or nine years  ago and has been standing fallow ever since. This is huge footprint site, just a few blocks from the red hot Degnon Terminal area on Thomson Avenue and a ten minute walk from the white hot Court Square zone. The dreams of avarice are being realized for real estate industrial complex speculators in Court Square, yet this gigantic patch of ground sits febrile.

Go figure.


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In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

2 Responses

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  1. Don’t worry, Mitch, they’ll get to it eventually. It’s own apparent ugliness acts as a sort of protective shield off of which the eyes of the Real-Estate gremlins heretofore simply slide off when even forced to consider or acknowledge its presence. Much like the same cloak what preserves the few extant “lonely spots” you so enjoy frequenting.

    You’re doing your own diligent, if unwitting, part to showcase it as the next Hudson Yards, though. Will you be happy when it is? It is, after all “waterfront”, of a sorts.

    Tommy Efreeti

    March 20, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    • That’s a thing with me, actually. I want to clean the place up, but that comes at the cost of losing so many of the things I love about the creek. It’s like having a friend who drinks too much. You want to help sober them up, but you also know that the “healed” person is not going to resemble the one you know and will likely kick you to the curb as part of their old life.

      Mitch Waxman

      March 20, 2019 at 12:50 pm


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