The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for July 14th, 2020

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Tuesday searching for “it” at Dutch Kills

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other night, one began to wonder about “it” again and a walk over to the Dutch Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek ensued. My first stop was nearby the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge, found in the remains of the Degnon Terminal.

As mentioned in the past, the modern day shaping of Dutch Kills occurred in the first decade of the 20th century at the same time that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was building the Sunnyside Yards. Michael Degnon was a construction magnate whose company completed the Williamsburg Bridge’s masonry, and famously finished the construction of the subway tunnels which carry the 7 line from Queens to Manhattan. Digging out the subway tunnel generated a lot of rock debris which he needed to dispose of, which was accomplished when Degnon purchased the estate holdings of former Governor Roscoe Flowers here in LIC, an area referred to as the “waste meadows.” The fill was used to reclaim and raise dry land from the wetlands, and Dutch Kills was canalized under supervision from the United States Army Corps of Engineers into its current form. That’s when the modern Hunters Point Avenue and Borden Avenue Bridges we’re built. Degnon built an industrial park surrounding the canal which offered rail to barge infrastructure and attracted enormous concerns like the Loose Wiles bakery, Chicle Gum, and Ever Ready Battery to Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

21st century industrial degeneracy aside, Dutch Kills was an absolute mirror on the hot and humid night which I most recently visited it during. There is little to no laminar flow in Dutch Kills, which causes sedimentation and shoaling. Rumors from my network of local informants and Creek watchers have reached me in recent months describing something which strains credulity, but since I have very few things to occupy my time otherwise during this interminable pandemic, one is on the hunt for “it.” I won’t bore you with the rumors, as I don’t pass on stories which I either can not verify or that I don’t have photos to back up.

On this particular night, one spent a bit of time shining a green laser into the depths, which excited the schools of small fishies that nocturnally shelter from predators here. Since “it” would likely occupy the niche of a top predator, exciting the prey animals might have drawn it to me, hence the laser.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As above, so below, the saying goes. Never is the case more so on Dutch Kills on a night when the poison winds are quiet and the gelatinous fathoms are calmed.

The thick humidity hanging in the air made this particular walk perspiratory in the extreme. While shooting these shots, I encountered employees of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Bridges unit, a nearly invisible organization which has been curiously present in recent months during the pandemic. You normally never see these folks unless a bridge needs to open for passing maritime traffic, but for some reason I’ve encountered them repeatedly at both Borden Avenue and here at Hunters Point Avenue in the dead of night.

Perhaps they have heard about “it” as well?

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, July 13th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.

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Buy a book!

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 for $30.

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