The Newtown Pentacle

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Conflicting sources describe today as being either National Pumpkin Pie Day, and or National Gumbo Day – so sweet or savory, whatever floats your boat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A dollar short and a day late, that’s me, and why a single image greets you today. When your morning tasks involve calling the offices of two Borough Presidents, the City Council delegations from the four districts surrounding the Newtown Creek, a smattering of State Senators, and Assembly members, and half a dozen other important people… let’s just say it gobbles up your Newtown Pentacle time in expeditious fashion. Don’t ask, I can’t talk about it.

What I can say is that Sunday’s boat tour is nearly sold out, so if you want to attend – get your tix while you can for what promises to be a killer tour.


Upcoming Tours and events

The Hidden Harbors Of  Staten Island Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee – Sunday, October 15th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

A very cool boat tour that visits two of the maritime industrial waterways of New York Harbor which adjoin Staten Island and Bayonne in New Jersey – The Kill Van Kull and the Arthur Kill. There will be lots of tugboats, cargo docks, and you’ll get to see multiple bridges from the water – including the brand new Goethals Bridge. I’ll be on the mike, narrating with WHC board member Gordon Cooper details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

nitrous cellar

with 4 comments

It’s National Whipped Cream Day, here in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hudson Yards is the biggest construction project going on in Manhattan at the moment. Literally creating a new neighborhood out of a decked over rail yard, this project is what inspired the Dope from Park Slope – Mayor de Blasio – to call for the decking over of the Sunnyside Yards back in Queens. Were the Mayor savvy about… well, anything other than seemingly spending his time staring in the bathroom mirror and telling himself that he’s a progressive rather than the neoliberal that he actually is… construction and engineering, he’d realize that the conditions at Hudson Yards are conducive to such an endeavor and those in Queens are not.

The Big Little Mayor doesn’t realize that the tracks at Sunnyside Yards crisscross each other and are unevenly spaced, and that the ones at Hudson Yards are regular and parallel. Parallel allows you to insert steel columns between them, whereas crisscross doesn’t. There’s also logistical issues with creating a deck supported by those columns which is roughly one or two square blocks as opposed to an 183 square acre one. Also, Manhattan has hospital beds to spare, Penn Station and Herald Square are nearby, and they don’t have to worry about where their sewage will go (Newtown Creek WWTP, in Greenpoint, if you’re curious). There will be a surfeit of places to shop for food, but there’s always Fresh Direct (located along the Newtown Creek in LIC, if you’re curious).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The comparison between Hudson Yards and Sunnyside Yards is apt, in my mind at least, just in case you think I’m being obtuse or provocative. This is the other end of the Pennsylavnia Railroad’s urban rail system which the company installed in NYC during the early 20th century. The same buildout which saw the East River and Hudson River tunnels constructed, and that built the original Penn Station, built the Sunnyside Yards. The passenger trains you’ll notice spending their day in between rush hours at Sunnyside Yards are the same ones later visible at Hudson Yards. Sunnyside Yard is a “coach yard” which indicates it was designed for storage of rolling stock in between peak hours.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the schedule at Penn demands, the trains which you see above at Hudson Yard are called into the tunnels underlying the west side of midtown Manhattan and brought over to the tracks where they’ll take on their customers and head for Eastern Long Island. For all of my lifetime, the Hudson Yards represented a giant hole in the west side of Manhattan. The Bloomberg administration initiated this investment and construction process, in accordance with the vow Michael Bloomberg made to “change the skyline of Manhattan” when he took office. I’m actually all for this one, but I don’t live here so my opinion really doesn’t matter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The idea behind this project is a “game changer” for what has come to be referred to as “midtown west” by the powers that be. I’ve heard idle chatter about the Javitz Center being replaced sometime in the near future, and certain ideas which seem to make sense on that subject include building a grand hotel on the footprint of the Javitz which rises to skyscraper heights, and which would include a mutiple story convention center at its footprint/base that isn’t a craphole (the Javitz Center is absolutely and undoubtedly a failed institution, a cesspool of municpal corruption, and absolutely a craphole with leaky Windows that doesn’t just lose money for the City and State – it hemorrhages it).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot is looking north along the newly constructed buildings and deck. As far as I’m privy to, the deck isn’t meant to cover the still visible section of the train yard, but I might be wrong about that. The Real Estate Shit Flies are more than ambitious, credit is easily available to them, and borrowing it is at a historic level of cheap right now.

The only thing that holds back modern engineering is money.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The burning thermonuclear eye of God itself was beginning to enter that daily arc which carries its emanations behind New Jersey, but I was still uncomfortably early for my assignation in Hells Kitchen. Regardless, as Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor admonished constantly in the Superman 2 film – “North, Ms. Tessmacher, north!”.

Crossing the West Side Highway, or West Street if you must – one last look at the Hudson Yards mega project was called for, and I began scuttling along the river side of the street. One was fairly sure that I’d taken my last photo, but boy was I wrong – as you’ll discover tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As a note – the shots in today’s post were captured from the latest section of the High Line, in case you want to go check out progress on the Hudson Yards mega project for yourself.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

shadowy corners

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, your humble narrator had occasion to visit the Shining City of Manhattan, and having a few free minutes between appointments- I decided to visit the High Line park. Now, the last time I was up here was on some shadowy and half remembered date in the early 1990’s, a time when the High Line was referred to as “the world’s longest Homeless camp”.

Back then, you literally had to climb up there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The views from the High Line are impressive, however the modern architecture and design of the park reveals its planners adherence to hideous and short sighted modernism. Frankly, this thing ain’t sustainable, and my prediction is that within 20 years this place will be a dusty footnote and emblematic of the failings of the current Manhattan establishment and their allegiance to the whims and desires of the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Maybe I’m wrong, but as a native New Yorker, which most of the people running the City these days are not, so mark this as one of my little prophecies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing that struck me, as we neared the Meat Market side of the High Line, was the clear and uninterrupted view of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from its decking. The streets below are familiar to me, and were considered “stomping grounds” for a younger and angrier narrator back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. These streets were industrial then, mobster controlled and policed, a warren of abattoirs and fishmongers which only superficially resembles the modern neighborhood of high priced shops and so called “mall stores”.

A few saloons and sex clubs were the only “draw” back then.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above is included only because it reminds me of the soporific architect renderings which accompany the announcement of projects such as the High Line. Vague, it suggests a clean and sterile form of street life acceptable to the tastes of tourists and virgins. Controlled, policed, and leashed- it flies in the face of the brash and dangerous New York City of olden times.

Artists offer non confrontational images, whilst displaying vendor license and tax identification, and demure European tourists wander along a former industrial hinterland that was considered distasteful because of the coppery smell of animal blood which once ran freely along the gutters.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 26, 2011 at 12:15 am

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