The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

consistency partook

with one comment

Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scuttling, forever scuttling, camera in hand. Filthy black raincoat flapping about in the poison wind, dodging trucks and following railroad tracks down darkened alleys… sometimes you get lucky.

As mentioned last week, a particularly long walk found me in Long Island City’s Blissville section just after sunset, and one was nearby the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge just as a set of railroad signal arms began to chime and flash. It was the garbage train!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That reddish gizmo you see above is colloquially referred to as a “critter,” I’m told, but it’s officially a Nordco Shuttlewagon model NVX6030. This particular ride can move between 38,000 and 85,000 pounds of rail car all on its own.

The crew operating it were moving rail cars with the green garbage boxes on them to and from a Waste Management facility found to the east of the LIRR’s Blissville Yard for temporary storage. The garbage train is built one rail car at a time, after all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Waste Management handles transfer operations for the Department of Sanitation of New York. DSNY does curbside collection in their familiar white trucks all over Queens, and then bring their putrescent cargo over to WM’s waste transfer station in Blissville, along the fabulous Newtown Creek.

The black bag or “putrescent” garbage is then complied into those green boxes, which are then loaded onto the rail cars. After a full train of them is assembled, with the Shuttlewagon doing the assembly, a proper locomotive engine will arrive and shackle itself to the garbage train. You’ll notice the garbage train leaving Queens if you hang around the Hell Gate Bridge, where it crosses the East River and heads over to the Bronx. From the Bronx, it goes north and eventually crosses the Hudson River and then travels out onto the continent, leaving our archipelago behind.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When the critter went into the Blissville Yard, the signal arms rose, and a humble narrator scuttled across the road – answering that age old question of “why does mitch cross the road” with “to see what it looks like from the other side.”

After a short wait, the signal arms began to chime and flash again and the Shuttlewagon returned from the darkened environ of the Blissville Yard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The crew were hauling empty green cargo boxes back towards Waste Management. A couple of years ago, or maybe a couple of years before Covid (I have no sense of time anymore regarding the last few years), I was told that Waste Management’s Review Avenue Waste Transfer Station handles 950 tons of black bag garbage a day.

There’s another waste transfer station here along Railroad Avenue, a recycling outfit called SimsMetal, which I’ve often profiled here in the past. Just search for “SimsMetal” in the Newtown Pentacle search bar at top right. There’s literally dozens of instances you can read about them, going all the way back to 2009.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Exhausted by my efforts and overwhelmed with joy, one decided to lay down on the sidewalk after the train passed, where an interval of introspective sobbing was enjoyed. One crawled on his hands and knees back up to Greenpoint Avenue before righting himself and resuming a brachiated striding posture before continuing on.

This walk wasn’t over yet, and there was still plenty to run and hide from.


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!


The Newtown Creekathon returns!

On April 10th, the all day death march around Newtown Creek awakens from its pandemic slumber.

DOOM! DOOM! Fully narrated by Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of Newtown Creek Alliance, this one starts in LIC at the East River, heads through Blissville, the happy place of Industrial Maspeth, dips a toe in Ridgewood and then plunges desperately into Brooklyn. East Williamsburgh and then Greenpoint are visited and a desperate trek to the East River in Brooklyn commences. DOOM! Click here for more information and to reserve a spot – but seriously – what’s wrong with you that you’re actually considering doing this? DOOM!


“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 blurb.com for $30.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Very interesting! I wondered about the tires; the manufacturer’s website says “Unlike railcar movers that must borrow weight by lifting railcars via the railcar’s coupler, our movers use their own weight along with the superior tractive power of rubber tires to move railcars.” Plus it can be mobile off the rails.

    Thank you for making me look up “brachiated”. I must say Mr Waxman your writing here got tantalizingly close to Kafka’s, viz “A Report to an Academy”.

    dbarms8878

    April 5, 2022 at 8:50 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: