The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

uncertain outlines

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Scry, Thursday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just saying the words “Hells Gate” is fairly thrilling, ain’t it? Pictured is the East River suspension bridge section of the 1936 vintage Triborough Bridge complex, a span owned and operated by the MTA Bridges and Tunnels division. You’re not supposed to photograph the bridge, whether on it or around it, according to this management group who “strictly enforce” the prohibition against camera use. It’s good to know that they’ve solved all of their other problems so they can focus in on suppressing our first amendment rights. But… terrorism…

A fairly recent short walk found me on Shore Blvd. nearby Astoria Park, breaking the rules like the rebel I was born to be. Robert Moses would have found a way to charge me for photography access, which I’d gladly pay if only the folks at MTA would take it. That’s one beautiful artifact of the New Deal right there. Funny that a group of faceless bureaucrats have decided you can’t take a picture of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scanned the water for evidence of something clearly impossible, fantastic in implication, and hard to believe. There are stories, some of which I’ve passed on over the years, of oddities in the water. The largest intentional detonation in human history, until the Hiroshima Bomb, was set off here by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. They claim it was to aid navigation, but…

Every Mayor since Franciso Wood was made aware of the rumors, and Wood’s advice to do nothing about what lurks in the turgid waters of Hells Gate and disavow any knowledge thereof has been passed down to every subsequent Mayor, who have all followed his lead since. LaGuardia added to the Wood maxim the official denial that the Triborough Bridge wasn’t actually built to lock something down to the bottom of the harbor and keep it from escaping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps the reasoning behind MTA Bridge and Tunnel’s prohibition on photography is the institutional fear that if atmospheric conditions are just right, and the waters are calm enough, you’d be able to get a shot revealing the hidden truth of Hells Gate to the world. That image would be psychoclastic, rendering viewers of it hopelessly insane. Ripples of chaos would dapple through the City in the manner of a heavy snow, wreaking bloody chaos.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be hidden down there?


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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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 1, 2021 at 2:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The restriction on photographs started during 9/11 and i remember a few years back that all such restrictions had been legally lifted.

    Henry Parsons

    April 1, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    • On NYC DOT and PA bridges, yes – lifted. MTA Bridges and Tunnels offer that “you must follow posted instruction” on signs. Essentially, if you encounter a sign that says “jump” and you’d don’t that gives their gendarmes the legal right to interview you. The entrance to the ped walkway has a relatively new sign half hidden behind a gate which doubles down on “camera use prohibited, strictly enforced.”

      Mitch Waxman

      April 1, 2021 at 3:07 pm


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