The Newtown Pentacle

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roaring twilight

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Thanksgiving week, which I’m taking off. Single image posts will greet you between now and Monday the 30th of November. I’ll be out taking pictures, in between dodging microbiotal clouds of expirant and looking over my shoulders for other sources of existential danger.

Today’s photo depicts a somewhat abandoned semi truck regularly observed in the glowing shadows and queer effervescence of the Kosciuszcko Bridge over in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

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, November 23rd. 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

November 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

Posted in DUKBO, Greenpoint, newtown creek

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was whining

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Thursday’s sextuplet.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Have you ever encountered a standing wall of sound so intense that your visual field begins to narrow? One which causes your teeth to hurt? How about one which is actually painful to be in the way of? Well, if you desire this sort of novel experiential stimulus, I’d suggest paying a visit to the Grand Street Bridge on a warmish evening when the NYC Department of Environmental Protection has its aeration systems for the Newtown Creek operating.

The pump house for this ill conceived system is nearly a half mile away, across the water in Maspeth, and is the latest shape which environmental pollution has taken here at the fabulous Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking westwards from the Grand Street Bridge, you’ll notice schools of predatory fish splashing about in the lit up area of the shot above. The aeration system is theoretically operated for the benefit of benthic organisms like these. In actuality, it’s to comply with a court order that the DEP is forced to oblige due to their releases of billions of gallons of untreated sewage into the waterway, which carry a bacterial charge so intense that the microorganisms contained therein consume all the oxygen from the water column which in turn suffocates the fish.

Not dumping raw sewage into the water? That’s crazy. Build a multi million dollar aeration system that generates jet engine levels of noise to overcome your inability to fulfill the mission laid out for you in the NYC charter? Check!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been working around several different photographic approaches to capturing the aeration system, with its churning tumult and maelstrom of surface whipped mucosa meringue for a while. I finally hit upon the right exposure triangle and settings, one which illustrates what’s happening here. These shots are from the Grand Street Bridge, looking more or less along the Brooklyn/Queens border towards Ridgewood, Bushwick, and Maspeth.

Notice that frothy meringue? Sewerage, whipped.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular section of Newtown Creek you’re looking at here is called “The East Branch” and one arm of it used to flow east all the way to Onderdonk Avenue. Today, it’s truncated by a gigantic seven vaulted sewer that drains neighborhoods as far away as Canarsie into the canalized waterway.

Look at all the energy being pumped into the water here. That’s the Department of Environmental Protection at work, burning fossil fuels to power electrical generators to overcome the effect of the 2.1 billion gallons of raw sewage they release into these waters annually, while producing a standing wall of noise louder than that of an approaching subway train. Dichotomy much?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Makes for interesting pictures though, huh?

Here’s one of my urban parables – I used to have neighbors that were Police Cadets. Like all young cops, they liked swinging their dicks around when I or any of the other neighbors were doing something they didn’t like. When they would have a party however, it was mainly other cops who showed up. When the party went on too long, or got too loud, they’d tell you to go ‘eff yourself if you complained that it was four in the morning. If you called the cops to complain, then you’d just have more cops showing up to join their party.

In the case of the DEP, guess who hands out tickets for noise complaints? Guess who polices the dumping of hazardous material into area waterways? Watchmen? who watches them?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s really quite a shit show.

See what I did there? Shit show?

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 28th. 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.

northward pull

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Wednesday, the dusk of the week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One can affirm that the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge is still there, as of last week. A small but double basculed draw bridge which spans the English Kills tributary of the fabled Newtown Creek, Metropolitan Avenue Bridge is 3.1 miles from the East River. You don’t see much in the way of maritime traffic back here, but there’s usually a tug and fuel barge found at the Bayside fuel depot’s bulkheads.

One would advise the curious that the shoreline is crumbling, and you want to be REALLY careful anywhere near the ragged edge of the land if you don’t want to end up immersed in Newtown Creek’s most polluted section. If you’re not being careful, the dice will roll and it’s either going to be X-Man or Liver Cancer for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A couple of old fuel trucks are permanently stationed hereabouts, which endlessly fascinate me with their late 20th century design cues and onboard signage.

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was dipping behind Manhattan just as I arrived at the bridge, which served as my turnaround point on this particular walk. One does not decide in advance on where the pivot takes place, but it is often considered. That’s the thing about the street grid surrounding Newtown Creek – there’s so many dead ends and cul de sacs, which aren’t a big deal when you’re in a vehicle, but if on foot you need to factor them into your route.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was when I pivoted that the roar of powerful engines was heard. Frankly, I thought that a massive nocturnal bit of construction might be afoot due to the noise which was clearly audible even with my headphones in and Black Sabbath playing. It was approaching the sound levels encountered nearby the helicopter landing pads you encounter on the east side of Manhattan.

More on the tumult tomorrow.

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 28th. 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.

extremely lofty

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Tuesday’s morbid habitations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looping through the Poison Cauldron of Greenpoint, one was performing his “patrol” function. This is a self appointed duty which sees me walk and survey the entire Newtown Creek about once every quarter. I generally don’t do it all in one go, rather the mileage is non scientifically split up into a series of walks which are scheduled for “when the light is nice” or around specific atmospheric conditions. A recent evening walk occurred right around sunset, and it found me walking from Astoria to LIC whereupon a crossing of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge brought me to Brooklyn. Once in the “land a me bert” an eastern course was adopted.

The particular angle my toes were pointing towards saw my perambulatory pursuit positively pulsating towards the eastern sections of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A big part of the reason that this particular cauldron is so poisoned, the National Grid company continues to loathsomely squat upon an acquired property which once housed the Brooklyn Union Gas Company’s manufacturing operations. Manufactured gas production is notoriously problematic from an environmental point of view, and one will soon notice that on their enormous property – found between Newtown Creek and Vandervoort Avenue in Greenpoint – that vegetation growth is stunted. What grows on this land, poisoned by heavy metals and esoteric products of the century old gas retorts, doesn’t seem “right.” It’s queer, and not in the good way.

That’s what I was thinking when I spotted a space car parked along the National Grid fenceline.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was either a pickup or suv at the core of this construct. It bore a license plate issued by the state of Montana. I cannot tell you any more, but I’m glad it exists.

More 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 beginning of the week of Monday, September 28th. 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

September 29, 2020 at 11:00 am

starfish arms

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Monday’s old familiar places, like DUKBO

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent exertions carried a humble narrator to the poison cauldron of the Newtown Creek, a hopelessly corrupted section of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint shorelines. Petroleum refining, industrial dry cleaning, the manufacture of so called “natural gas,” metals finishing… all have left behind a devil’s brew of exotic cocktails in the soil and ground water hereabout. Modern usage like petroleum and liquor distribution, garbage sorting and handling, warehousing of construction industry supplies are slightly less inimical to environmental harmonies than their forebears. There’s a reason I call this area the Poison Cauldron, after all.

I also refer to it as the Brooklyn side of DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – where the omnipresent humming of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway carried along the bridge high overhead is inescapable. Nothing like a high volume roadway set into a crowded urban setting, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At some indeterminate time in the near future, a newly constructed park will open beneath the new bridge(s) which promises some fairly interesting photographic opportunity for one such as myself. I’ve been documenting the replacement and transition of the old Kosciuszcko Bridge to the new one since 2010. The minute that the park opens is officially when I’m going to close the cover on that particular file and publish some sort of book on the subject.

It’s been nice to have something to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, they’re still finishing things up down here, so there’s a lot of interesting things to point the lens at still. I give it about a month after the NYS DOT returns to Albany before the illegal dumping starts up in earnest around here again. I’m told that the hordes of very noisy automobiles which everybody is complaining about have been gathering down here on weekend nights to race and do “fast and furious” sort of things.

One hasn’t scuttled through this particular area in months due to pandemic factors, so when recent opportunity to do so presented itself off I went. I’ve been trying to catch a bit more sunlight these days, as all of my nocturnal activity has resulted in a desultory balance of Vitamin D and I’m as pale as the belly of a dead herring.

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 28th. 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

September 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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