The Newtown Pentacle

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Friday is urban bucolia day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching, endlessly marching, one noticed that a bit of excavation has been performed on the former Mobil oil properties alongside the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This particular piece of American soil has long been owned by some third party, and it’s not a part of the modern properties which ExxonMobil’s tenancy is still extant upon.

Not sure what’s going on here, but I like a good hole, and the construction guys seem to have dug a truly ribald one. Huzzah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ExxonMobil is still working on the remediation of the semi legendary Greenpoint Oil Spill, along with their contractors – called Roux – for this particular situation. They maintain a large property at 400 Kingsland Avenue, which used to be the entrance to the Mobil refinery that operated here until 1966.

Just last year, the team at ExxonMobil invited a group of interested neighborhood people and activists to one of their offices to give us an update on the cleanup efforts, which are coming along nicely according to the their data. There’s a couple of recovery wells which are now bringing up ground water rather than petroleum, but they are still working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on cleaning up the historic mess left behind by their forebears.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hasn’t spent too much time on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek during the pandemic, given that my walks would have carried me through some rather populated areas that I wanted to avoid.

There’s a window of cautious safety right now, according to my perceptions, that I’m trying to exploit before things get weird again. Things are going to get weird again, and I’m saying by middle to late October probably, by Thanksgiving definitely. Enjoy yourselves while you can.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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.

dismal eyrie

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It’s Wednesday, the day of Woden (Odin), from the Old English word “Wōdnesdæg.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Street furniture. That’s the term coined by my old friend Ms. Heather at NY-Shitty for the abandoned or dumped furnishings or accoutrements you encounter while walking around the city. I always get a giggle out of that one, but in the case of this love seat encountered on the Pedestrian/Bike path of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, I have to respect the amount of physical labor it must have taken moving this fairly massive hunk of furniture to a prime viewing location fairly close to the center of the bridge.

A lot of muscle, time, and energy goes into illegal dumping. It’s so much simpler to throw things out in a legal fashion. The number of tires you see submerged in Newtown Creek is absolutely staggering, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot looks down from the bridge on the truck yard of a company which calls itself Empire Merchants. They do the holy work of god, which is delivering liquor and beer to bars and retail shops. This company has a fairly large footprint in Greenpoint, with both enclosed warehouse spaces and large vehicle storage yards like the one pictured above. They’re officially a “distributor” as a note. “Last mile delivery” is the current buzz phrase for this sort of business.

I’d love to see them replace the surface of their parking lot with something a bit more environmentally friendly in order to drink up rain water, but this isn’t necessarily the place where you’d want a lot of water entering the underground. The Greenpoint Oil Spill is centered a few blocks away, and this particular spot sits on top of a different environmental nightmare – the Meeker Avenue Plumes. Said plumes are composed of dry cleaning chemicals spilled by a now out of business factory. The hard cap of asphalt and concrete insulating the ground water from surface flow actually helps keep those chemicals in a static position.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of a largish waste transfer station, one which handles all of the good stuff – paper, metals, and putrescents – but specializes in construction debris, is pictured above. One of the interesting things, for me, about the new Kosciuszcko Bridge walkway is the window it gives you onto this sort of scene.

For years, when walking by on the street, you’d be able to see peeks of this scene. The fellows who work here… well… let’s just say that they’ve never been friendly to the odd itinerant photographer and environmental activist who was just passing by.

Back tomorrow with something else, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, August 3rd. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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, 2020 at 11:00 am

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It’s Friday again!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s the 125th of March, so that means tomorrow would have been referred to as the 4th of July during the before times. Recent debate about whether it was Wednesday or Thursday here at HQ has proven Our Lady of the Pentacle correct, as having to put this posting together kind of snuck up on me.

I’ve also spent a day dealing with some unpleasant chores, as my next door neighbor died and I needed to put his friends in contact with his family, which ended up being quite a time consuming chore. Not COVID, instead he had a heart attack.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Observing the response to my friend dying, City services wise, I can tell you that the presence of six uniformed Cops, a pair of Detectives, a Coroner, and two morgue truck workers seemed to be what the regulations call for when somebody dies alone in their apartment. The whole operation took about 7 hours, from the wellness check to the morgue truck. It was one of those ghastly tasks which the City handles, and a part of the Cops’ job that seldom gets mentioned.

Why Cops for this task, you may ask? They are officers of the Court in this role, and have a responsibility to ensure that the deceased is handed off to the Medical Examiners office with as much dignity and discretion as is organizationally possible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy 4th of July, all. The North Remembers.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, June 29th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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 3, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Greenpoint, newtown creek

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Greenpoint, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, I have no idea as to how the medallion yellow taxi people are going to survive CoronAmerica. They were taking a real beating from the ride share business, as well as predatory financial speculators, before all this started. Here on Provost Street, nearby a taxi company’s HQ, there are hundreds and hundreds of these normally busy vehicles just sitting idle. At a similar facility closer to home in LIC, I noticed that many of the cabs had their medallions removed from the bonnet or hood plate, no doubt for safekeeping or possibly to oblige some obscure regulation.

One didn’t intend to spend much time here in Brooklyn, I was just looping through Greenpoint and circumnavigating the sewer plant on my way back to Queens after walking over the Pulaski Bridge. Incidentally, they’ve changed the name of the sewer plant again. It’s now the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. Accordingly, from now on I’m just going to refer to it as “the sewer plant in Greenpoint” or something similar. Can you imagine being the person who answers the phone at someplace called “Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Supply lines,” that’s what I was thinking while grabbing a shot of this semi tractor trailer truck parked opposite the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The “human factor” of our supply lines is something I worry about all the time. You can offer a long haul trucker all the money in the world to make a run, but he’s still going to have to convince his wife that it’s worth the risk for making the run into NYC. Our Lady of the Pentacle is British, and she receives a series of worried missives from friends and family overseas whenever a news report airs describing the center of the pandemic as being in Queens and literally two subway stops away from where we reside. The lurid newscasts are presenting us living in a war zone, here in the City. Can’t imagine how the rest of the country is reacting towards all of our bad news, and “supply chain” or “trucker’s wife” wise, what the effect of that will be.

Will our supply of Soy Milk be interrupted?

The truck carries the corporate branding of a company called Sunland Distribution, a Florida based company specialized in temperature controlled shipping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued back towards Astoria, marching across the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge into LIC’s Blissville section. There seems to be a bit of bulkhead reconstruction going on at what was once part of the Mobil refinery on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek. ExxonMobil still maintains an operation or two just up the Creek from here, which are dedicated to operations revolving around the recovery of the Greenpoint Oil Spill.

More of the outside world tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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.

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Up on the Pulaski Bridge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was desirous of capturing the current Empire State Building lighting display, meant to honor the efforts of First Responders and Medical Staff during the CoronAmerica crisis, so a longish walk was embarked upon. Well, longish by the current standard… I ain’t exactly walking to Red Hook right now, if you know what I’m saying. One kept to the shadows, walking in a westerly direction from Astoria along streets and byways which are unpopulated during normal times, and soon found myself shlepping and scuttling up the Pulaski’s pedestrian path, connecting Jackson Avenue and 11th street in Long Island City with McGuinness Blvd. and Freeman Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Annoyingly, new construction in LIC has obscured the view of the Empire State from one of the normal “stations of the cross” which I’ve been visiting for better than a decade, but I managed to get my shot nevertheless.

I wouldn’t mind all of this new construction so much if it was at all visually interesting, or didn’t embrace the banal at every opportunity. Seriously, you invest tens of millions in waterfront development and what you build is another soulless glass box? How’s about a rhombus, maybe? A cone, or cylinder, perhaps?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek hasn’t dried up or been filled in during the quarantine, which is good news for me. The shot above looks north, towards LIC, along the pathway of the double bascule Pulaski Bridge and its bridge house. When all of this is over, I have got to find a way to get inside of that bridge house and take some photos. I’m fairly curious about the “works” within. I know who to call.

Despite the aforementioned quarantine, there were a substantial number of automobiles crossing the Pulaski, although bicycle and pedestrian traffic was virtually non existent. It was difficult to find a thirty second interval during which to actuate the camera without a passing truck or suv rattling the bridge’s structure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having to alter the exposure triangle for these shots from my normal tripod/night “go to” actually allowed me to capture the weird luminance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, for once. The Kosciuszcko is about two miles away, and this shot looks down Paidge Avenue in Greenpoint past the sewer plant towards the thing. My lens was comically zoomed out.

My walk on this particular excursion found me entering Brooklyn for the first time in at least a month, whereupon a circuitous path was followed. Avoiding population centers is a big part of the game plan for my constitutional walks.

Cooties.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“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.

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