The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

stupefying remoteness

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The union guys have really “upped” their inflatable rat game during the pandemic. There’s a labor action currently underway against the Metro Oil operation, owned by grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis, over on Kingsland Avenue nearby the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Since the last time I observed the inflatable rat pictured above, it’s received a very nice paint job with lots of airbrushing.

One found himself in Greenpoint for an early in the day commiserate with the NYC DEP, Newtown Creek Alliance, and the various members of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee to attend the “soft opening” of Phases 2 & 3 of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant in Greenpoint. My pal Nate Kensinger recently published a piece about this newly available parcel of public space – check it out here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Phase 2 of the DEP’s project involved the creation of pedestrian bridges that cross the end of the Whale Creek tributary of Newtown Creek, whereas Phase 3 is a large corridor that connects to the end of Kingsland Avenue. This means that between dawn and dusk you can cross Newtown Creek into Brooklyn from Queens at the Pulaski Bridge, walk down Paidge Avenue and into the Nature Walk, then exit it and get back into Queens via the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Used to be that you’d need to walk the entire perimeter of the sewer plant to accomplish the same route and you can’t see the water or any of the cool stuff on Newtown Creek that way.

Pictured above is the NYC DEP’s Port Richmond Sludge Boat, at dock in Whale Creek, where the sewer plant people are pumping the “honey” into its tanks. The “honey” or sterilized sewer sludge, is sent over to another DEP plant on Randalls/Wards Island where it’s dewatered in centrifuges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Creek Nature Walk was designed by artist George Trakas, built in accordance with NYC’s “1% for art” charter requirement, and offers breathtaking views of Newtown Creek’s maritime industrial corridor. You’ve also got a not insignificant amount of skyline goodness there too.

That’s a DonJon tug moving barges around at the SimsMetal docks in Long Island City. The Nature Walk is officially “soft opened,” meaning that the official ribbon cutting hasn’t occurred yet but it’s welcoming visitors. Supposedly, they’re going to truck the Mayor out sometime soon to do so.

“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

May 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

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