The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Flushing’ Category

feebly leaped

leave a comment »

A few archive shots today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetings, have to’s, places to be and toes to break – these things affect us all and no one more so than I. Accordingly, a few archive shots are on offer today whilst one awaits the Götterdämmerung thunderstorm on schedule for this afternoon.

Pictured above and below are Flushing Bay, as captured one very cold night back in January of this year. In all actuality, the shot above actually depicts the intersection of Flushing Bay with Flushing Creek, but why get all technical?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All of this rain has caused an absolutely horrible consequence for the inland waterways of NYC, or so I’m led to believe by my friends who participate in the Citizen Science water testing program who have spoken of off the chart levels of sewage bacteria in their samples. The metric which is generally accepted by those in the know is that the Combined Sewer System can begin releasing untreated waste water into the harbor due to a tenth of an inch of rain falling on the City. A quarter inch of rain translates into a billion gallons of water entering the system, and virtually guarantees that the overage will start flowing into area waterways. Pictured above, you can see a containment boom surrounding one of the outfall pipes that empties into Flushing Bay.

Prior to today’s storm, the City has received 6.85 inches of rain just in July of 2019. Using the quarter inch equals a billion gallons equation, the City has had to deal with an extra 27.4 billion gallons of storm water just in the last month, which is on top of the normal wastewater flow coming from homes and businesses.

Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, indeed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Way on the other side of Queens, nearby Queens Plaza in LIC, you’ll find the Queensboro Bridge and the elevated tracks of the 7 line. Neither one of these structures has a drainage system directly feeding into the sewer system, instead, multi story tall pipes carry storm water and whatever else might get washed off the tracks or roadway down to street level where the water is expected to find its way to a sewer grate.

They look pretty, at least.


“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 31, 2019 at 2:00 pm

unholy ways

leave a comment »

Returning to Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off, I’m beginning to figure this place out after having developed an interest in it earlier this year. Secondly, I wish that there were parts of my particular highly industrialized and polluted waterway that looked this good. This is an intertidal zone, with a sandy beach that leads into a marsh. There’s all sorts of evidence of filter feeding shellfish, lots of birds doing bird stuff, and expansive mats of algae everywhere you look. I imagine that if you were to shovel down a few feet, the ground would be teeming with all sorts of invertebrates and creepy crawlies. In many ways, this shoreline reminds me of the Jamaica Bay waterfront which I used to explore when I was a kid in South East Brooklyn.

I have got to find somebody willing to let me get into a rowboat with them on Flushing Creek this summer. If you’re that someone, get in touch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moving away from the water, and over into the parlor of the House of Moses, those highway ramps you see are (I think) the Northern Blvd. offramp of and the main stem of the Whitestone Expressway or “678.” The higher one on the right with the blue paint should be 678, but as I’m ignorant of exactly where the Van Wyck ends and the Whitestone starts, take that with a grain of salt. As mentioned, I’m still figuring this area out. If a google maps link helps, this shot was gathered right about here.

Apparently, this spot is often utilized by folks who want to smoke the weed, drink the drinks, or just do anything they want to without prying eyes. There’s lots of interesting graffiti on the pylons holding up the highway ramps, but otherwise it’s kind of a muddy no man’s land here in the House of Moses.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s all for this week, lords and ladies. This weekend, I’ll be conducting the Newtown Creekathon with my pal Will on Sunday, so a humble narrator will likely be fairly crippled afterwards.

There’s a few NYC anniversaries happening next week for those of you who like to “nerd out” about such things – on Monday the 29th, the Bronx Whitestone Bridge will turn 90, and on April 30 of 1921 The Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey officially opened for business. Additionally, on the 1st of May in 1931, the Empire State Building opened its doors.


“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.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm

schoolboys swapping

with 2 comments

Iron Triangle behind, Flushing Creek ahead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots presented this week at this – your Newtown Pentacle – we’re gathered whilst attending a walk presented by the NYC H2O outfit. We started on Roosevelt Avenue, proceeded through what remains of the Iron Triangle at Willets Point, and then looped down and around towards Flushing Creek. This entire area is what I’d define as the “House of Moses,” as in Robert Moses. Pedestrian unfriendly, few if any points of access to the waterfront, and the needs of high speed roads and automotive “flow” given prominence over all other considerations.

The group negotiated the various on and off ramps of the surrounding highways and we headed towards Northern Blvd. where there’s an opportunity to get down to the waterfront.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, we encountered this late model fire engine which had an RV motor home hitched up to it. Signage adorning both fire engine and motor home indicated that it was the property of the “Ministry of Abraham,” which a humble narrator surmised as being a Korean church of some kind (a no shit sherlock level deduction offered there, the signage had Korean lettering alongside the english).

Before I got to know anybody who was ethnically Korean (when I was a kid), I always figured that Buddhism or some other “asian” faith was dominant in that part of the world. Turns out that there’s a pretty significant Protestant and Evangelical Christian population amongst those folks. Assumptions like that one is something I try to avoid as an adult. It’s where that part of me which gregariously sidles up to strangers and starts chatting with them has evolved out of.

The more you know, amirite?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the nice things about attending somebody else’s tour of somebody else’s highly polluted industrial waterway is that I get to interact with people who came on one of my walking tours, and reconnect with others whom I haven’t seen in a while. At Flushing Creek, I suddenly noticed that a friend I haven’t seen in maybe eight years was there, and a few people I’d walked around Newtown Creek came over and reintroduced themselves.

Tomorrow, more from Flushing Creek.


“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.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

calm calculativeness

with 2 comments

Willets Point.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Roman Army would arrive outside your city walls, then flood your fields with salt water, kill all your men, and rape all your women. The Romans would then declare peace as having broken out. So too, does the NYC EDC declare peace when they’ve set their sights on your corner of NYC. Just ask the people who work, and the one person who lives, in Willets Point. The City has had its crosshairs set on this part of Queens since the post WW2 period. There are no sewers in Willets Point, sanitary or storm. The City doesn’t pave the roads, nor approve permits for utility companies to service phone or electrical connections. Fire hydrants lie on their sides, utility poles bend and tilt, and despite all this – the businesses here continue on and on.

Peace has broken out in the Iron Triangle, or at least a Roman peace.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who were willing to accept the bag of polished stones the EDC offered LIC regarding the Amazon campus, or who are willing to drink their Kool Aid on the subject of the Sunnyside Yards – here is your fairness, your equity, your “tale of two cities.” Here is why I’d like to see the NYC EDC investigated on RICO charges.

Here is peace, Queens style.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That Economic Development Corporation think tank over in the City has gone out of its way to annihilate anywhere between a thousand and two thousand blue collar jobs here in Queens. They’ve been sued in Federal Court repeatedly for their double dealing, most recently for allegedly funding fake pro development groups calling for the creation of a shopping mall and “affordable” housing, and have threatened to use eminent domain powers to force businesses into shuttering their doors and sell their personal property. This so called “public benefit corporation” with its shady staff of Real Estate Industrial Complex insiders is the same crew of loathsome sentience who are driving the “Deck the Sunnyside Yards” train.

Look at your future, Sunnyside; and Astoria, and Woodside, and LIC. Peace is about to break out for us as well.


“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.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

illustrious bones

with one comment

Iron Triangle, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One often remarks to himself how much Batman’s Gotham City and the Borough of Queens seem to have in common. Conventional comix fandom recognizes Gotham as being an admixture of Chicago and Newark, but neither of those places has a “Ravenswood” or an “Iron Triangle.” Logical supposition would place “Stately Wayne Manor” on the northern shore of Nassau or Suffolk County, but the whole “Queens County is Gotham City” preposition begins to fall apart when you consider that Superman’s base of operations – Metropolis – is widely considered to be an analogue for Manhattan. If you’re living in a place where you need both of those super duper guys around to keep the peace, it would be a good idea to just move away to someplace a bit more quiet.

Saying all that, last weekend I accompanied a group of folks on a tour of Flushing’s Iron Triangle and Flushing Creek which was organized by my pals at NYC H2O.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last time I scuttled around the Iron Triangle in Willets Point was with another tour, that one organized by Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum several years ago. Jack’s tour occurred earlier in the season, and the endemic flooding of the broken streets in these parts – caused by the purposeful neglect and blighting of the area by a conspiratorial alliance of Real Estate Industrial Complex players and their political puppets in both Manhattan’s City Hall and Queens’ Borough Hall which has played out over five or six decades (Mario Cuomo, for instance, began his political career around this issue) – was completely frozen over.

Jack Eichenbaum walks like a mountain goat and managed the icy devastations with grace and style, but the rest of us were slipping and sliding all over the place, as a note.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, I was just glad to be amongst people for a few hours, and to observe an area which I’m not overly familiar with. The blasted heath which is the Iron Triangle, a light industrial zone adjoining CitiField and Flushing Creek, makes for nice photos IMHO. The usual forces – EDC, the politicians, REBNY and the whole crew of loathsome sentience from over in Manhattan – want to wipe away this area and replace it with the usual totemics – “affordable housing,” a “sports field,” and or a “shopping mall.” The fact that they’ll be wiping out hundreds of blue collar jobs isn’t part of their equation or narrative, which is to act as “Progressives.”

Remember – Robert Moses was a “Progressive,” as in “Progress” and “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.” When the modern politicians and economic development people call themselves “Progressives” they’re telling you point blank what they are, but trying to give you the impression that “Progressive” means something other than what it does.

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.


Events!

TONGHT! Slideshow and book signing, April 23rd, 6-8 p.m.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a slideshow, talk, and book signing and see what the incredible landscape of Newtown Creek looks like when the sun goes down with Mitch Waxman. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP here. Light refreshments served.

Click here to attend.

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

radical profundity

with one comment

Wrapping up at Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ignorance is bliss.

As described in prior posts, one found his way down onto the sand at Flushing Creek, which was a fairly intriguing spot. I’ve already made inquiries with one of my paddler buddies about who I have to talk to in order to get on the water in a rowboat or something back here, so stay tuned as the weather gets warmer and the plants start turning green again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As also mentioned, I’m trying to stay a bit ignorant about conditions and history back here for the moment, but at first flush there are a very different set of environmental issues hereabouts when compared with my beloved Newtown Creek. Everywhere I looked, there were shellfish clinging to this and that all along the intertidal or littoral zone. My ignorance is willful, as I just want to wander around and take pictures.

Of course, I’m entirely ignorant… about… kinds… of… shellfish… speciation… of… No!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lot of the talk centering around the Superfund Rememdiation process on my beloved Creek has discussed the creation of wetland habitat not dissimilar to what’s pictured above. Hopefully, the illegal dumping and wind blown trash won’t be part of the final equation in Long Island City or Greenpoint.

I wonder how long that truss bridge is… how high… average daily traffic… about who built… NO! My ignorance will not be pierced… I refuse!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, it was actually quite a bit of fun for a humble narrator to see new things, given how much time I devote to chronicling the western end of the Newtown Pentacle. Yes, Flushing has always been on my map, but there’s always been something else to do which is closer to home.

Akkk… is that the Van Wyck… Grand Central… something that ends in a “78”… IGNORANCE!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Val and I left the beach and proceeded up onto the Northern Blvd. truss bridge leading to downtown Flushing and what, by this point, would be a well deserved and very affordable luncheon meal at a Chinese restaurant in the downtown area.

Even on a weekday winter afternoon, throngs of shoppers were marching about, and the streets of downtown Flushing were quite crowded. The neighborhood BIDS and the Chambers of Commerce of Western Queens could learn a thing or two at the end of the 7 Line, I think. Managers and promoters of dying or moribund commercial strips like Steinway Street – for instance – should study Roosevelt Avenue, and Prince or Main Street. In terms of street level retail activity and abundant small businesses, Flushing is popping. What do I know? I’m largely ignorant.

Down by the water though, it’s the usual story.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Government owned shorelines with fenced off industrial facilities, too few businesses taking advantage of those precious maritime bulkheads. Has to be all kinds of yuck in the water… Flushing Creek itself is situated at a locus of high speed roads, the 7 line… Arrggggghhhh… I almost just looked up Flushing Creek… NO!

I shall maintain my ignorance… I will not… I…

Back tomorrow with something completely different at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2019 at 12:30 pm

awkward signatures

with 4 comments

On the sand at Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After having successfully navigated my way to the water’s edge at Flushing Creek through an open gate, a humble narrator (and my pal Val, who was game for this particular caper) proceeded off the concrete and down onto the sand. As mentioned previously, I’m intentionally staying dumb about the Flushing Creek waterway – for now – as it’s entirely novel to me to “know” nothing about something and I want to preserve that as long as possible. It’s philosophic with me, ignorance, and it’s difficult to preserve. Every year, I play my “Super Bowl Challenge,” which is prophylactic in terms of information regarding the big game. I don’t want to know when, where, who… anything. It’s more difficult to know nothing than everything about something these days.

A challenge I’m several years into, as a note, is the Lady Gaga challenge. I know nothing about Lady Gaga other than her name. Never looked at a photo, listened to a song, wouldn’t recognize her if she was sitting next to me. No animosity against the house of Gaga is offered, of course, it’s just extremely challenging to remain completely ignorant of somebody is who apparently a huge pop star – and it’s a challenge I accept. I guess I know she’s a pop star.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By my standards, which are set to a high bar by that legendary exemplar of urban neglect which is the Newtown Creek, things didn’t look too bad around here. There were all sorts of garbage, dumping, broken pipes like the one above encountered… but… I mean… Maspeth Creek… y’know?

Part of the reason I wanted to come here during the brown and brittle months of the winter, incidentally, involved the lessened chances of encountering biting insects and ticks in particular. Got to imagine that there are clouds of mosquitos and black flies around this spot during the summer months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was some sort of ruggose canvas placed on the shoreline, no doubt an attempt at fighting erosion of the sandy beach. The good news is that said canvas created a hard pack surface which was easy to walk on. We were visiting Flushing Creek at the low tide interval of the daily cycle, so lots and lots of shoreline was revealed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Modern day Flushing, with its massive “Hong Kong” style real estate developments, provided a backdrop for the scene. Like LIC, this “other” end of the 7 line in Queens has been growing exponentially in recent years. Manhattan’s Chinatown has been relegated to history’s dustbin, a relic of a forgotten age in NYC. Flushing is where it’s at these days, as far as where Chinese people live and work, and the place is being remodeled according to their tastes and preferences.

The “American Way” at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We proceeded back along Flushing Creek for a bit, and the further that we went in the direction of Roosevelt Avenue, the more marshy the ground became. Brush and grasses became thicker, and salt water streams punctuated the foliage with increasing frequency. The sound of traffic on the nearby highways and area streets were the only non naturally generated sounds, other than the occasional passage of a 7 Line train set on the overhead trackage which carries the subway to and from Flushing’s Main Street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were oodles and oodles of birds flapping around, and I’m sure that at night this part of Flushing Creek would be crawling with Raccons and Rats and all sorts of nocturnal critters doing their thing.

More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

%d bloggers like this: