The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 27th, 2022

devilish anxiety

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, on the 27th of September one was provided with a uniquely wonderful offer by my friend, Carter Craft. Carter owns a boat, and he offered to take me out for an afternoon’s navigation upon the absolutely lugubrious Newtown Creek.

We got lucky, with perfect autumn weather. That’s what the Pulaski Bridge looks like from below. Over the years, everything that’s I’ve written about that’s in the vicinity of this bridge, on either side of the creek – Brooklyn or Queens – has been tagged with the acronym DUPBO – short for “Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the first 10 years or so of the time I’ve been hanging around Newtown Creek, boat excursions and tours were pretty frequent. With either Working Harbor Committee, or Newtown Creek Alliance or sometimes both – we’d hire out ferry boats to conduct public or private facing tours of the waterway. Working Harbor’s mission includes “educating the public about the harbor” and NCA’s is “reveal, restore, revitalize,” so bringing people here was a significant action for us. We’d also partner up with Open House NY and others to do boat tours.

When NYC Ferry came along about 8 years ago, they began hiring all the available ferry boats in NY Harbor to handle their success on the Rockaway line, and what that meant to us was that the only boats still available were luxurious party and dinner vessels, which were way out of the price range that any of the non profits could support. Ticket prices would have had to have been north of $100, just to cover costs of the boat itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This hasn’t really been a terrible thing, necessarily, as my pal Will Elkins from NCA is a leading member of the North Brooklyn Boat Club and has been organizing paddling trips up the Creek for years. There’s a couple of giant row boats in their inventory, and plenty of kayaks. This provided for a more relaxed form of narration, and a slower pace.

Then COVID came along, and thereby it’s been nearly three years since I’ve been out on the waters of my beloved Newtown Creek. When my pal Carter Craft contacted me, and said “I can’t let Mitch Waxman leave New York without taking him out on Newtown Creek,” one jumped at the chance to do so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every time might be the last time. In this case, it’s my penultimate trip on the Creek. If you’re along the waterway this Saturday afternoon and you see a historic Fireboat passing by, wave at me. I’ll be the one in the filthy black raincoat waving a camera around. That’ll be the last one.

As of Sunday, I’ll be closing the cover on this part of my life. I’ve decided to keep on publishing here for a bit, just to maintain my own sanity. Things are so hectic at the moment, as I prepare to move to another state, that I find myself having to check with my phone to see what day it is. Writing these posts is the singular “non chaotic” activity I’ve got at the moment, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Every post that’s been published here since 2009 involving this bridge or the terrain surrounding it has been tagged with “DUGABO” or Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp.

The logic behind the DUPBO or DUGABO or DUKBO thing has always been to break the creek up into regions. The waterway is 3.8 miles end to end, with a large tributary called Dutch Kills branching off of it, and the surrounding territory and street grid is so byzantine and obtuse that it made sense to create “zones” just to stay organized around the “landmark” bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s what it looks like under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. You’re looking towards the Queens side there, in LIC’s Blissville, where Railroad Avenue is found. We navigated on, which I’ll describe in subsequent postings.

More coming…

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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 27, 2022 at 11:00 am

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