The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for June 13th, 2022

ever been

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw a humble narrator more or less walk the entire Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, and by the time I reached the Pulaski Bridge all of my aches and pains were absolutely singing an opera.

That’s when you really just have to lean into it, I always say, and keep on scuttling. You want to know something, though? What I’ve really been missing the last month or so, and especially during low energy moments like the one I was experiencing while getting ready to surmount the Pulaski, has been having my headphones plugged into my ears while they’re blaring early Black Sabbath.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal security, however, demands that all of my senses remain unoccluded. I need to be able to hear “it” if and when it’s coming. It’s funny, actually, that this section of Newtown Creek is one of the areas which I’ve assiduously avoided throughout the pandemic months. The population has become particularly dense here, due to what a friend of mine refers to as “the real estate frenzy.” That isn’t why I’ve been avoiding it, though.

Anywhere that lots of people are, that ain’t where I been.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge has a dedicated pedestrian and a seperated bike lane, in addition to its lanes of vehicular traffic. It’s a double bascule drawbridge, and electrically powered. It connects McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with 11th street at Jackson Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City. Along the way, on the Queens side, it also overflies the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

It’s extremely well traveled, and each one of its several traffic lanes is quite busy. It’s also fairly easy to get into trouble up there, precisely because of its populous nature. I used to know a guy who got jumped midspan, and who laid there bleeding from a head wound while the Brooklyn and Queens cops were arguing about which precinct the mugging occurred in – 94th or 108th. Neither one “wanted it” as it would cause their “house’s” crime stats to go up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be an amazing series of NYC views up on the Pulaski, with the Empire State Building at the center of your frame and reflected in Newtown Creek. The sky has been stolen by big real estate, however. It’s been privatized. If you’re looking for “inspirado” you better have some cash to pay for it.

The good news is that our elected officials continue to subsidize the real estate people, by bending the rules for them and handing out multiple decade long tax breaks in the name of “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The dodge accomplished by the Real Estate people is to establish a development corporation as an ‘’LLC” or “Limited Liability Corporation” for the duration of planning and construction. The day after they cut the ribbon on a new building, the original development LLC, which made all the deals with the city and state, is dissolved and the property is transferred to a management LLC that can pick and choose which tenets of the original LLC’s political contracts they want to oblige.

Either way, they’re not paying any taxes for a long time. Not paying into the cops, or the schools, or the hospitals which their tenants in their thousands consume the services of. Remember when the Governor set up the Javitz center as a mass casualty hospital at the start of COVID? That’s because NYC doesn’t have enough hospital beds anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some enterprising soul poked a hole in the chain link fences of the Pulaski’s pedestrian walkway a few years back, one that allows a view down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel’s entrance.

August of 1940 is when the tunnel opened, along with the section of the Long Island Expressway which feeds about 32 million vehicle trips a year into the thing. At least you can still see the Empire State Building from here since the Real Estate people haven’t convinced the politicians that it would solve the homeless problem if we decked over the tunnel’s toll plaza over and built luxury condos on top.

Give it time. Swagger.

“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.

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