The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 24th, 2022

times amidst

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A long walk continues! From Astoria to LIC’s Blissville, and then looping around and through Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section, on the 23rd of September of 2022. “Every time might be the last time…”

Scuttling along the hoary asphalt, which armors the oil choked loam of this ancient outpost of the decadent Dutch, a humble narrator suddenly realized that both altitude AND declination were warping, as he had blindly wandered onto those entirely euclidian angles which are offered by the New York State Department of Transportation via the bicycle and pedestrian pathway of the Kosciuszcko Bridge which said agency maintains.

Thoroughly modern in both function and design, the Kosciuszcko Bridge(s) nevertheless are visually pleasing to me – a barren creature, broken and bruised, bereft, bankrupt and often beleaguered – your always humble narrator. The Kosciuszcko Bridge carries, in addition to the path one scuttled atop, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and its teeming multitudes of automotive wanderers, high over the iridescent waveforms of an aqueous ribbon of urban neglect which is known, to modernity, as the Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was descending behind New Jersey, just as the monocular of the camera was being moved into position high over the jellies and tepid currents of said waterway. One actuated the shutter button again and again while shuffling along…

It has been years since one has spoken to you, lords and ladies, in this sort of way. Colloquial verbiage and easy conversational voicing has been my intent in recent intervals. Nearing the end of all things, and the shadowy beginnings of a new chapter, one instead feels a deep desire to revisit the past. To plumb the depths.

Always have I been an outsider, attracted to things ancient and unloved.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Who can guess, thereby, all that might be buried down there – beneath the waters buoying that tugboat? What foul truth might lurk, concealed in the black mayonnaise which sits patiently along the bottom of the glacier carved ancestral valley that Newtown Creek floods and calls its bed?

The “bad water place” is what one of the Lenape words for the Newtown Creek is said to translate into English as. That, and those, who are rumored to dwell in the broken stone floor of the nearby Hells Gate section of the East River, might know other words. Perhaps, and perhaps not. I’ve likely said too much.

Let’s change the subject… how about that sports ball team hereabouts? Might this be finally the year of affirmation for our civic and mutual worth, displayed to the globe by champion status in sports ball?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The locale of the forbidden colony of New Arnheim, detested and personally destroyed by the Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant, is not too far away from this spot, just east and towards the Brooklyn side. So too is the forgotten Blissvillian tributary of Wolf Creek, and the overwhelming necropolis called Calvary Cemetery.

The latter hosts its own storm sewer and drainage systems, whose horrifying outflows into the Newtown Creek are not just splendiferous in coffin varnish, adipocere, and formaldehyde. The black mayonnaise underlying the waters here are rich with acrylonitrile concentrations – according to environmental scientists. Toxic, certain groupings of this type of organic chemicals are commonly referred to as “cadaverine” and “putrescine.” This and many other reasons underlie the presence of signage around this waterway adjuring the citizenry against consuming fish or crabs captured from its volume.

This outflow pipe for the cemetery is found directly below the railroad tracks in the photograph above, which are upon the former site of the Penny Bridge crossing demolished in 1939, and a former Long Island Railroad stop also called Penny Bridge which was eliminated by the MTA under mysterious circumstance in 1998. This is the part of Newtown Creek where hauntings of the Blissville Banshee were oft reported.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Horror lurks everywhere along Newtown Creek. Approximately 170,000 vehicle trips cross the Kosciuszcko daily, as reported by Governmental agencies knowledgable about such statistical data. One wonders… statistically speaking, how many times a day does a murderer cross the bridge? Figure there’s two people in every car… how many murderers are there per hundred thousand New Yorkers?

As above, so below?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found his way back down to the poison ground, alongside First Calvary Cemetery, and its tomb legions, at the outskirts and border of both Blissville and ancient Maspeth, in Queens. The camera’s functional optics were swapped out, and a quick conversion over to the “night kit” was effected. The “daylight” zoom lenses were stored away, and my next steps considered. Into the darkness, yes, but which pathway?

Ahem… truth be told, my feet were hurting at this point so I just called a cab and headed back to HQ in Astoria. I had another busy couple of days coming up, and…

More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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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 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

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