The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

inhuman squeals

with 2 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

My recent walks have been far ranging. In a post Zuzu the dog world, one has been able to resume being out of the house for hours and hours as I don’t have to provide her with the acute care and attention she required during her decline. Accordingly, one has been poking his lens into all sorts of places and really burning the shoe leather up. I’ve got an app on my phone which approximates the mileage and “number of steps” it accompanies me through. Resumption of my old “one day out, one day in” schedule has occurred, and a predominance of my time and attentions are being focused on the Newtown Creek again.

According to an app on my phone, which is expertly programmed to guilt me out, I’m walking a bit less than I was this time last year. This time last year, however, you actually had to go to meetings rather than log into them, and those meetings usually take place miles and miles from HQ, and there wasn’t a respiratory plague going around. App chiding notwithstanding, the stamina and ability to march around for six to eight hours at a pop have recently returned. Hibernation is bad for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Literally “DUKBO” or “Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp” in Maspeth is where this shot was gathered. Construction on the bridge is more or less finished at this point, but they are still turning the odd screw and tweaking this or that.

This is the 2.1 mile mark on the Newtown Creek, as in it’s that far back from the East River where I was standing. The Penny Bridge site is visible in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The former property of Phelps Dodge, which occupied this section of the creek in one corporate guise or another for more than a century, the water quality in this area is both complex and poor. The original 19th century owner of this property was General Chemical, which manufactured several exquisitely toxic but lovely chemical cocktails here but their mainstay was sulfuric acid. Phelps Dodge turned the acid factory into a copper refinery, which persisted here well into the late 20th century. There’s a food wholesaler based here now.

Apparently they’re down a shopping cart.

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, September 14th. 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Mitch… bring back the memories.
    I remember the ‘boys’ from Phelps Dodge
    who I used to ride the “Toonerville Trolley ” (Long Island City Line) with. Great bunch of guys. We had a ‘heckova’ crew on that train which was like the “Mystery Express ” becsuse no one knew what was going to happen next.
    We didn’t get any station, the train stopped at
    “Haberman” ….right at the crossing on 49th
    Street….if we were lucky. If not, we’d have to walk along the track bed to the 49th Street crossing to get off the tracks and head up 48th Street. That is, provided a rainstorm didn’t leave a flood at the foot of 48th Street which we affectionately named “Lake Maspeth “.
    One day a kindly U.P.S. Driver provided stand-up ‘Ferry Service’ to a co-worker across this 200 yard body of water so she could continue her trek up 48th Street to our job…..the Former Slattery Construction Company. The photo brings back the memories of the old and new Kosciusko Bridges……the old which we demolished and the 1st new one which we constructed. Our company made several moves in the interim.
    As the years passed, our ‘train gang’ dissipated one by one…..not until the ‘newborn children’ of some of the guys (and Gals) would accompany their parents to work….and then in later years drive them in their own cars.
    The passing of our friends during those years
    was a sad event……the names, the faces and the personalities which made up “the soul” of
    The work force of Your beloved Maspeth, Mitch…..Phelps Dodge, Irving Grating Company, Harry Alter, Underpinning and Foundation Co., Slattery Associates, Cranes, Inc and all the others. As you walk the streets of Blissville, how many of these souls accompany and watch over you…..for bringing immortality to their lengthy working careers ?
    How many of us ever even heard of Blissville or Berlin? You sure taught me something.
    Bobby Bridgeman


    September 15, 2020 at 12:50 pm

  2. lol, 20 years ago my Williamsburg-based band had a song called “Brown Jenkin,” in which we directly quoted the _Dreams in the Witch-house_ line you reference in this post’s title: “They mocked me with devilish laughter / and inhuman squeals.” Your H.P. Lovecraft references are my favorite of many delightful things about your blog; please keep it up forever


    September 15, 2020 at 10:18 pm

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