The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

fired spectacularly

with 3 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

As alluded to yesterday, the bulkhead situation along the 29th street side of Dutch Kills most definitely got worse in the 2 weeks or so that I hadn’t been there. Unfortunately, I was not about to try and get some shots of it in the dark as it was way too risky due to the degradation of the shoreline. Saying that, I came back a couple of days later, during the afternoon, and documented the scene. I’ll show y’all that in the future.

Meantime, I visited all of my usual “stations of the cross” at Dutch Kills. There’s my favorite tree.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At what used to be the campus of “Irving Subway Grate,” another concrete factory is building its equipment and site. All the politicians are “very concerned” about the environment, but when it comes time to consider a heavy trucking based business from an industrial sector notorious for its product ending up in the water wanting to situate itself in LIC, they allow these businesses to set themselves up on the waterfront. Jobs. No requirement that they use their bulkheads, no preference or encouragement to use the nearby freight rail line. Nada.

Nothing matters, nobody cares.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last meeting I attended as a Steering Committee member of the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group was horrific. EPA offered a revised timeline of their Superfund project which pushed the “shovels in the ground” phase of the cleanup back to the 2040’s, with a 2050ish “done” date. Their team describe to the community how hard their jobs are, how many regulations they must oblige and how difficult that is, and how their efforts can basically be sent back to square one by reviews from anonymous “alphabet acronym” Federal level committees that no one has ever heard of. They don’t talk about how the Corporate and Governmental PRP’s – Potentially Responsible Parties – have run them around and around in circles for twelve years.

A blind elephant which only knows how to do one thing – moving forward slowly – and whose pathway can easily be nudged in one direction or another by regulatory or political nudging from the PRP’s Mahouts – that’s the EPA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yeah, I’m kind of pissed off about their schedule. Everyone on the meeting call gave the EPA a bit of spleen about the timeline. Many, including myself, commented on how we’ll all be dead and how every member of the EPA team will be long retired from Federal service by the time they stick a shovel into the ground.

I found myself having to remind them that each and every day that goes by is another one during which children in the always growing residential neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are exposed to its poisons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Doesn’t matter what they do. The scene you’re looking at above will be under water by 2050. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and you don’t believe in climate change and rising sea levels. That’s cool.

I’m done, y’all. We had a window, and instead of addressing the existential issues that a metroplex built on a series of sandbar islands faces in the 21st century, we built “affordable” housing and jammed as many people as we could right in next to the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not exactly a cheer filled post, this.

My plan is to get out of here asap, and go live in the mountains. What’s your plan? I’m not saying you have to move on it right now, instead I’d predict you want to enact it within the next decade. That’s when things are going to start becoming fairly dicey from a weather point of view here in NYC. Your kids and grandkids are the ones who are going to have to deal and live with terms like “managed retreat.”

Me? I’m not a strong swimmer, so the safety of higher elevation is what I seek in my dotage.

“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

October 14, 2022 at 11:15 am

3 Responses

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  1. Maybe you can look up someone with a FAA commercial drone operator license who would be willing to work pro-bono to take some photos of the 29th Street bulkheads that are inaccessible to you. Have them periodically take a series of video and stills over a period of months to show the rate of decay. Just a suggestion.

    Donald Cavaioli


    October 14, 2022 at 2:23 pm

  2. And another thing: Enough of this womanish moaning about the weather. Would even Flashman act in such a craven manner?

    Can you write on a more important and pressing topic such as why isn’t Lindybeige being cast as Doctor Who? I mean the man would be perfect as the Doctor and he would only just have to be himself.

    Something must be done as I can no longer bear this recurring nightmare of John Nathan Turner following me about constantly asking if I miss him yet and that Colin Baker with the question marks all over his costume wasn’t so bad after all.


    October 14, 2022 at 6:11 pm

  3. You are right, elevation is important when choosing a new abode. I hope you continue your reporting and photos from your next location.


    November 4, 2022 at 9:58 pm

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