The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Kill Van Kull’ Category

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How many times a week can you say it’s Monday, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described last week, my pal Val drove her Valmobile – with myself and a libertarian named Scott within it – out to a photogenic spot on the Kill Van Kull waterway which forms a busy martime shipping channel as well as the border betwixt… Staten Island… and Bayonne, New Jersey. After visiting this spot – known to my circle as “Skelson’s Office,” it was decided to make like a chicken and cross to the other side. Our path carried the Valmobile over the newly reconfigured Bayonne Bridge.

By reconfigured, I mean that the Port Authority has just finished spending multiple millions of bucks to raise the roadway from its original height in pursuit of allowing ever larger cargo ships access to the Port Elizabeth Newark complex in Newark Bay.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In Bayonne, which is largely the unknown country for a humble narrator, we floundered around a bit but managed to find a couple of opportune spots that largely looked westwards towards the port facilities. We were becoming increasingly apprehensive about weather, which as you see from the shot above, was forming up an afternoon thunderhead of the type you expect to see in late August around these parts.

If I was a superhero, my nom de plume would be “Captain Vocabulary.” On that note, the beams of light at the left side of the shot are referred to as “crepuscular rays.” Scott the Libertarian didn’t care, which is a big part of that particular political philosophy – not caring – and he was busy trying to figure out a spot where we could buy lunch in the surrounding neighborhood on his phone while Val and I waved our cameras about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the control tower at Newark Airport just left of center, which kind of suggests where this shot was gathered. The blue tug is part of the DonJon outfit, and it was wrestling a seemingly empty group of barges into place.

More tomorrow at this – you 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 24th. 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 24, 2020 at 1:00 pm

less annoying

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, a recent day trip with a couple of friends found the camera being waved about at “Skelson’s Office,” a particularly photogenic spot on Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull waterfront frequented by a dearly departed photographer pal of mine. The bridge in the background is the Bayonne Bridge, which acts as a gateway to the Port Elizabeth Newark shipping complex. A significant percentile of the economy of the entire United States is focused through this tidal strait, I would offer.

Pictured is the Highland Eagle, an offshore supply vessel flagged in the UK.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bayonne coastline of Kill Van Kull is all about petroleum and the various refined products derived from it.

Pictured is the Ernest Campbell, a 1969 vintage Tugboat, wrestling a fuel barge away from its dock and into the currents of Kill Van Kull. The structure behind it hosts the various hoses which the upland tank farm uses to move the product around. A bit of maritime trivia – the various hoses and fuel barges have different connectors on them to keep one product from mixing with another. The kerosene pipe doesn’t connect to the gasoline or #2 fuel oil gasket, which keeps volatile mistakes at a minimum.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moran Towing’s Turecamo Girls Tug was likely returning to their base at Kill Van Kull when this shot was captured. Moran Towing has the iconic NYC tugs, with the red wheelhouse and big letter “M” on them. Moran names their boats after family members, generally, but in this case the 1965 tug was acquired after a merger with another towing corporation (Turecamo Towing) back in 1998.

Back Monday with more from the waterfront.

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 17th. 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 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

likewise inaccessible

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Earlier this week, one met up with his pal Val and we jumped into her shiny Valmobile with the singular intention of shooting ships. Accordingly, Val oriented the Valmobile in the direction of… Staten Island. After all these months of quarantine/pandemic walks around LIC and Newtown Creek, a humble narrator was positively squeaking with excitement as we heroically mounted the Verazzano Bridge and headed towards the Kill Van Kull waterway.

Adventure, excitement… a Jedi craves not these things, but I ain’t no Jedi.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our first stop was at “Skelson’s Office,” where my old and dearly departed pal John Skelson used to spend his time. This is a spot along the old and abandoned Vanderbilt Staten Island Railroad tracks which follow Kill Van Kull. KVK is often mentioned here during normal times, but for anyone not clued in – it’s a tidal strait that connects the lower harbor of New York with Newark Bay and another strait called Arthur Kill.

Kill Van Kull is the preferred approach route to the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island and the Global Marine/Port Elizabeth Newark complex in Bayonne, New Jersey for maritime shipping. For enthusiasts like my pal Val and myself, it’s “tugboat alley.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The show started as soon as we arrived at Skelson’s Office.

Our efforts later in the day found us over in Bayonne, and along the Hackensack and Passaic rivers. One thing that emerged during that part of the day was a sincere desire to find out more about the industrial sections of this section of New Jersey. I mentioned several times that I wished we were in a boat on the water, and that I was also anxious to find an analogue of Newtown Creek Alliance for this area to introduce me to the place.

A third person was in the Valmobile with us, my friend Scott, but he’s a Libertarian so we didn’t pay attention to anything he had to say. More 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, August 17th. 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 20, 2020 at 2:30 pm

modern delving

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I was on a boat yesterday!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Waterfront Alliance hosts an annual conference for shoreline focused people and whereas I couldn’t afford a ticket, my friend who works on the other side of the Newtown Creek Superfund table at ExxonMobil (who purchase a large parcel of tickets for this event) offered to include me on his guest list, so a humble narrator found himself in Manhattan and then on the water yesterday. That’s called disclosure, btw.

The affair is fairly swank, and there is a nice lunch served. For the morning session (there are multiple panels discussing this and that, and this year’s theme revolved around climate change and rising sea levels) the boat is at dock. Shortly after lunch, the boat leaves the dock and heads off into NY Harbor. This year, Kill Van Kull was the destination, which is a waterway that long time readers will remind you that a humble narrator is quite familiar with. Tugboat alley, I call it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The boat, which was the Hornblower Infinity if you’re curious, went all the way back to the junction of Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill, and Newark Bay nearby Shooters Island on Staten Island’s northern shore.

In the shot above, those transfer cranes on the horizon are the ones at the NY Container Terminal, which is where the whole “containerization” concept now universally adopted for international trade was first unveiled.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On our way back to the pier in Manhattan where we started, a shift change must have happened at McAllister towing, as three of their tugs had just got underway and were leaving their Staten Island dock in formation.

In the distance is the Port Authority’s Bayonne Bridge.


“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

May 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

thunderous remoteness

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File this one under “You don’t see that every day.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Guy V. Molinari, part of the Staten Island Ferry fleet, in a shot from 2012. The boat is the first of its class and design, and the photo above is a fairly typical rendering of what you’d normally get to see of the boat, sans the atmospherics and dusky lighting, which was pure serendipity for a humble narrator.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, while onboard a slow boat cruising along the Kill Van Kull, I was looking at the Caddell Dry Dock facility and what do I see floating there but the Guy V. Molinari up on jacks. For you longtime readers, I’ve mentioned Caddell before, but if you need a refresher course – click here for a 2012 post about the company and their floating dry dock business. Just for giggles, here’s another one from 2014 when the USS Slater was there.

from wikipedia

The MV Guy V. Molinari, MV Senator John J. Marchi, and MV Spirit of America, known as the “Molinari class”, carry a maximum of 4,427 passengers and up to 30 vehicles. Each boat is 310 feet (94 m) long by 70 feet (21 m) wide and has a draft of 13 feet 10 inches (4.22 m), tonnage of 2,794 gross tons, service speed of 16 knots (30 km/h), and engines of 9,000 horsepower (6.7 MW). 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For those of you who didn’t bother to click through, a floating dry dock is a maritime structure capable of submersing part of its superstructure, allowing vessels to inch into it. The floating dry dock then rises back up, picking up the vessel with it. This allows free floating structures to be lifted out of the water so that workers can perform maintenance tasks on the hull and other normally inaccessible areas.

Cool, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has seen a lot of things over the years on NY Harbor: the nose of a submarine being barged under the Williamsburg Bridge, an experimental military attack boat at Hells Gate, a space shuttle dangling from a crane, the list goes on and on. I’ve never seen a Staten Island Ferry up on blocks before.

As a note, scenery like the stuff you’re looking at today will be on display the evening of May 17th when I’m on the microphone for Working Harbor Committee’s Newark Bay tour, ticketing link at bottom of post. Come with?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As always, Kill Van Kull was putting on the maritime industrial tour even as the boat I was on headed back out towards its eventual port of call on the Hudson River side of Manhattan Island. The whole Bayonne Bridge reconstruction project seems to be winding up, and there were crews demolishing the old concrete piers which supported the original roadway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking forward to spending a bit more time on the water, a humble narrator is.

I never got to take that vacation I was moaning about all winter, probably the best I can do for the summer is to try and not be on solid land as much as I possibly can be.


Upcoming Tours and Events

May 12th   RESCHEDULED for June 9th – Exploring Long Island City – with NY Adventure Club.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail?

Tickets and more details
here.

May 17th – Port Newark Boat Tour – with Working Harbor Committee.

For an exciting adventure, go behind the scenes of the bustling Port of NY & NJ on our Hidden Harbor Tour® of Port Newark! Get an insider’s view of the 3rd largest port in the nation, where container ships dock and unload their goods from around the world. See how the working harbor really works and learn about what all those ships and tugs do. See giant container terminals, oil docks, dry dock repair, and more! Tickets and more details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

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