The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

writing impossible

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Wednesday photos of the after times, and the search for “it.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Nothing to see here, Officer, just an old schmuck with a camera hanging off the side of the Borden Avenue bridge at midnight, shining a laser into the water to excite the schools of little fishies in the hope that their activity will attract “it” into frame. Of course, if any of the rumors about “it” are true, it would be big enough to pull a large dog off the shore and drag it to the bottom of Dutch Kills.

Excitement abounded, during the process described above, when a sudden flurry of shoreline movement and chittering began to emerge from the darkness.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whipping out my pocket flashlight, I soon discovered that the sound wasn’t coming from “it” but rather from “them.” On my way to this particular location, one encountered a lovely woman named Virginia whom I discovered as being the mysterious person that had been feeding the colony of feral cats along Dutch Kills for the last few months. Her deposits of cat food and water, apparently, had been contributing to the growth of a family/colony of Procyon lotor – or Raccoons if you must. The notion that wild mammals are inhabiting the banks of Newtown Creek is encouraging, given the fearsome reputation and environmental issues which put the waterway on the Federal Superfund list.

I only got a clear shot of the one pictured above, but I counted around seven sets of eyes shining back at me from the self seeded brush lining Dutch Kills’ banks. Speaking as I do on behalf of other creatures of the night, being shy and careful is a great survival mechanism.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My inspection for “it” continued, and given that “it” has always been reported to me as being aquatic, the camera was again pointed at the water. Unfortunately, the mirror surface of Dutch Kills betrayed the fact that not too much in the way of living activity was occurring this particular night. During the summer months, oxygen levels in the waters of Newtown Creek fall precipitously due to the heat. The warm water, which is fed into by NYC’s Combined Sewer system, becomes a haven for algae that live and die in the stagnant water. When the algae die off, their remains precipitate down into the water column and bacterial entities go to work consuming these leave behinds. The life cycle of the bacterial world consumes dissolved oxygen in the water and produces carbon dioxide and other gases in its stead. The bacteria then die and putrefy, which in turn promulgates the growth of the next algal bloom.

If you spend enough time around Dutch Kills, you’ll notice the waters are sometimes yellow ochre, then olive green, then black, then silver, and then the cycle repeats.

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.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


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 blurb.com for $30.

One Response

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  1. We call that “color” Octarine.

    Are Clergymen Baliffs?

    July 16, 2020 at 8:56 am


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