The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

almost unassailably

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Well, flippity floppity floop, it’s Friday again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found a humble narrator scuttling through the humidity thickened July atmospherics typical of Western Queens and heading towards Newtown Creek for a session of waving the camera around. Pictured above is the 1848 vintage First Calvary Cemetery in Blissville, looking westwards from Laurel Hill Blvd.

What with all of this pandemic business and the new Kosciuszcko Bridge offering a pedestrian and bike path between Greenpoint in Brooklyn and Blissville here in the Long Island City section of Queens, there’s now a lot of people milling around. For years and years, it was just me wandering around this area. It’s taking a lot of “getting used to” seeing others in my happy place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the Kosciuszcko Bridge are epic, and I timed my walk to put me Center span just as the burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind Manhattan and New Jersey. This point of view is 2.1 miles from the East River, for the morbidly curious. The right side of the shot is in Queens, the left is in Brooklyn.

Newtown Creek is a tributary of the East River which extends south/eastwards 3.8 miles from its junction with the larger waterway, eventually terminating in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. There are multiple tributaries of Newtown Creek which snake off the main stem of the waterway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, for me, a tug and barge combination was navigating its way eastwards while I was set up and shooting. Once one fo the busiest maritime industrial waterways in these United States, Newtown Creek is still quite busy. While I was out shooting, I saw the Greenpoint Avenue Draw Bridge – roughly a mile to the west – open and close three times.

A recent meeting with the United States Army Corps of Engineers described the ideal depth of these waters as being 23 feet. The last time a proper navigational dredging of the entire Newtown Creek occurred (other than a minor channel maintenance operation performed at the behest of the NYC DEP a few years ago) was in the early 1970’s. Tug and barges, therefore, stick to the center of the channel where the water is deepest when navigating through.

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 27th. 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 for $30.

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