The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

black plastic

with 2 comments

Mi chiamo Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Friday, a humble narrator decided to spend the afternoon on the water, so yet another ticket for the NYC Ferry was purchased. This particular trip paid off for me in terms of seeing maritime industrial activity, but truth be told – once a boy has visited the Kill Van Kull on a busy night, he’s jaded. The central section of the East River isn’t exactly super interesting in terms of variety and quantity of shipping activity, but it’s definitely got the best backgrounds.

That’s the Paula Atwell tug, towing a barge of what is likely either sewer solids or garbage, rounding the bend nearby Corelars Hook under the Williamsburg Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYC Ferry swings over to Manhattan’s 34th street street for one of its stops, and our Captain navigated that by moving past the north side of U Thant Island. Formerly Belmont Island, this little pile of rocks sits in front of the United Nations Building, and it’s manmade. Literally, these stones were the mining spoils for what we call the 7 train’s tunneling operation. U Thant was a United Nations Secretary General for whom the little island was renamed for when it was converted to a bird sanctuary and taken over by the NYC Parks Dept.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My ride continued south, and two more tugs – a large Reinauer one (gold and red) towing a fuel barge and a smaller DonJon one (blue) towing two empty bucket barges – rounded the bend in the river at Corlears Hook, opposite the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Did you know that the Williamsburg Bridge was considered to be so hideous in the years after it was built that the Municipal Arts Society was formed to ensure that nothing like it ever got built again?

Speaking of ugly… what are you doing on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?

“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

August 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Posted in East River, Tugboat

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Spanish, French, and now Italian. All Romance languages. What palaver tomorrow?

    georgetheatheist . . . lingo lover

    August 4, 2021 at 1:17 pm

  2. Love the bird sanctuary island photo.


    August 13, 2021 at 8:48 pm

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