The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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amidst throngs

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After sheltering within, trying to avoid the punishing late afternoon radiates of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself, a humble narrator reemerged onto the Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. The aforementioned eye was finally in the process of tucking itself away behind New Jersey and the light got nice.

The camera was mounted on a tripod, a ten stop ND filter was screwed onto the lens, and I got a clicking.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who aren’t camera nerds, an ND filter is a sunglass for your lens. It allows you the freedom to do longer than normal exposures during daylight hours. Choosing one of these things is normally a colossal guessing game, as what you see of it is a disc of seemingly opaque black glass. That disc will introduce a color cast, and it doesn’t matter how much you pay for the thing, there will always be a color cast. On my older camera, I had to guess at exposure, whereas the newer one allows me to actually see what the camera sees on a tilt out screen.

There were a couple of times where I marveled at it – shooting at f18 with a ten stop ND filter and being able to see what I was doing. Wow.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, my goal this particular day involved the desire to capture the 9/11 tribute in lights from up here, but I’ve never been particularly lucky so that didn’t work out. No regrets, however, as I filled my camera card up with lots of other shots.

Back tomorrow.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 22, 2021 at 11:00 am

idiomatic voice

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You don’t need to resort to filters or camera tricks to create a perfect mirror out of the waters of Newtown Creek, about three miles back from the East River. One of the core environmental problems back here is “flow.” Historically, there were dozens of small creeks and streams that flowed down out of the hills in Bushwick and Ridgewood and fed fresh water into the English Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, but colonization/industrialization/gentrification has turned them all into underground sewers. Natural springs were either capped or exploited. The water here rises and falls with the East River tide, but there’s virtually zero “laminar” or horizontal flow.

Anything that ends up in the water precipitates vertically down, building a sediment bed which is currently 15-20 feet thick that is referred to as “Black Mayonnaise.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To combat this lack of current, and the low oxygen levels inherent in still or standing water, the State commanded the City to build an aeration system which seems to be fairly useless. Expensively useless would also be a phrase that applies. I keep on bringing up the creation of small waterfalls, the engineered kind where water flows and splashes down concrete steps. Hydrological engineering for the bulkheads to accommodate the water’s flow via the introduction of compression and expansion zones is something else I ponder.

The concept underlying the latter is that since water has an absolute limit on its top – atmospheric pressure – and another absolute limit at the hard bottom of the waterway, if you compress the water column horizontally the water will flow faster to its only egress. Same principle as holding a thumb over a garden hose’s outlet increases the pressure of the water. If the bulkheads included some sort of repeating scallop shape, it could theoretically create “flow” without having to power up pumps or impellers. That’s the theory, anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If improving Newtown Creek requires the use of a mechanism that needs to be fueled or powered, the improvement has already failed before it left the design phase. The physics of how water moves over, past, and through certain shapes embedded in its columnar body is what really matters to my eyes. Irrigation and petroleum pipeline professional engineers handle this sort of thing all the time, moving pressurized liquids around to where they’re needed. Pumping is largely accomplished with gravity and pipes that narrow and then widen.

Ehh. What do I know, I’m just some wandering mendicant with a camera.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

persistently haunted

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in Friday’s post, a humble narrator set out for Greenpoint’s “Penny Bridge” street end to capture a few sunset shots. What with the heat and all the rain we’ve been having, it’s been difficult to find the right time and get to the right place. Penny Bridge is at the foot of Meeker Avenue, incidentally, where there used to be a crossing to Queens. The Penny Bridge, as it was called, was demolished in 1939 when the original Kosciuszcko Bridge opened. My pals at Newtown Creek Alliance have been looking after this spot, and have even installed a bit of historic signage about Penny Bridge. If you visit, be careful with the everpresent mud found there, as it’s quite slippery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The mud clogs up a sewer grate, meaning that there’s also always a giant puddle of super nasty water. Luckily, this allows what seems like a billion mosquitoes a place to breed. That’s the good stuff, I tell’s ya.

The night I was at Penny Bridge was about 24 hours after Tropical Storm Henri blew through the City, and my beloved Newtown Creek was particularly aromatic. The “licking a battery” smell of raw sewage was prevalent due to the Combjned Sewer Outfall system. Mixed into the aroma was a distinctly petrochemical perfume, and the nearby waste transfer stations that handle municipal refuse were introducing the scent of wet garbage into the atmospheric cocktail. Never has Anosmia sounded so good, thought I.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The weird emanate of light from the Kosciuszcko Bridge paints the landscape of the Newtown Creek with a lacquer of surreal and over saturated colors. The hues and intensity of the bridge’s lights are like no earthly color. Instead, they are not like some colour out of space or anything, instead they remind one of a certain Greek coffee shop back home in Astoria.

More tomorrow.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

inconceivable orbit

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wǒ jiào Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To start – that’s a ship, not a boat, since it can launch either of the two boats it carries. A ship can launch a boat, a boat can’t launch a ship, and how big the thing is doesn’t qualify it as either. Secondly, that’s the United States Coast Guard’s WMEC-909 Campbell. Campbell is a 1986 vintage “medium endurance cutter.” The white hull paint signifies that it’s part of the USCG’s ocean going fleet, and its mission includes law enforcement, search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, fisheries law enforcement, alien and migrant interdiction, drug interdiction, and Homeland Security.

It was spotted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where, to my eye at least, work on and upgrades to its avionics, radar, and other electronics was underway. That’s all the gear on top of the wheelhouse, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The SSI Marvelous was also spotted at the Navy Yard. It’s a bit less glamorous than a military ship, of course, given that it’s a “bulk carrier” freighter. It was built in 2013, and is currently flagged by the Marshall Islands.

“Flagged” indicates the supposed port of call for a ship, but as you’d imagine, where you flag your boat has a lot to do with not paying taxes or having to oblige health and safety laws for your employees. Let’s just say that if Gilligan’s Island existed in the real world, Mr. Howell’s heirs would have an empty office building stuck on it today, one whose phones forward to other offices in LA or Beijing. The international shipping community is populated by fairly grotesque and ultra corrupt characters, but y’all keep on focusing in on Jeffrey Epstein and people drinking baby blood. Distractions abound, huh? Don’t notice the man behind the curtain, nothing to see here…

There’s a concrete company at the Navy Yard, and you often see large cargo vessels like Marvelous here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A “response boat small” was observed a little further south on the East River, this one being operated by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Encon” Police. I’ve written about the “response boats” quite a few times in the past. Basically, post 911, it was decided to use the “weapons platform” concept to create a basic maritime chassis which the various Police and Emergency Responder agencies could customize to their uses. Coast Guard has a version of this craft with an M60 machine gun bolted to the bow, FDNY has versions that spray water, the NYPD have theirs rigged for towing and ramming. There’s three versions of these – response boats small, medium, and large.

Back tomorrow with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Speaking of different… what are you doing this Saturday on August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

nameless summit

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is continuing his short break from normal posts this week, and single shots from the archives will be presented.

Pictured above is the WIlliamsburg Bridge, shot back in 2017.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

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