The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for September 9th, 2021

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

After the rains of Ida blasted through Queens, a humble narrator packed up his camera bag and headed over to the industrial zone of Long Island City to see if my there was any interesting damage to take pictures of. My destination was the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, and to get there from HQ here in Astoria, I have to cross over to the south side of the Sunnyside Yards.

That’s the Standard Motor Products Building, one of several dinosaur sized industrial buildings which line the Northern Blvd. side of the Federal rail yard. Standard was a manufacturer of switches and electronics for automobiles, and still are. I have a friend who still works for them in an office in that building. On the roof is the Brooklyn Grange Urban Farm, which is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the sloping character of Skillman Avenue, one expected to find all sorts of storm damage here. Nada. It was as if nothing had changed since the last time I walked through here.

Well, maybe they managed to toss another luxury condo up in the last week, it’s hard to tell with Long Island City these days.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One thing about that storm, however, is that everyone forgot to pat the NYC DEP on the back afterwards. I’m often in an adversarial posture towards this particular city agency, and a lot of my activist/advocacy time is spent decrying their bureaucratic obfuscations on Newtown Creek. Saying that, however, you do have to appreciate the fact that when the rain falls on us in buckets, they are the ones who drain the flooding away. Also, in NYC, you seldom get warnings about having to boil drinking water as it’s become contaminated after flooding. DEP delivers our clean water, maintains the resovoirs, and also handles sewage at their 13 treatment plants. They have a few more duties, but those are the big ones.

Thank you to Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and his DEP pals for getting us through yet another crazy weather event.

“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 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

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