The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘DUGSBO’ Category

he wishes

with 2 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A bit of personal news, firstly. On December 30th, a humble narrator began to notice his throat feeling a bit sore. On New Year’s Eve, a wicked ibuprofen proof headache set in, and on New Year’s Day I developed a low grade fever with hot and cold flashes accompanied by body aches and fatigue. Given that this more or less describes the way I felt after getting the Covid vaccine a few months prior, guess what? The good news is since I am full vaxxed, the entire experience only lasted about 36 hours, and I’m back to the fine fettle I normally enjoy. Our Lady of the Pentacle is feeling similar symptoms as you’re reading this, minus the fever.

It was pretty miserable, but I’m glad that say that the vaccine protected me from ending up in a hospital. Overall, I’d give Covid 3 of 4 stars for physical misery, were I leaving it a Yelp review. Compared with what people I know experienced in middle 2020, this was a cakewalk, and wasn’t even close to the sickest I’ve ever felt from a virus.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, won’t be heading out for a walk again for a few days, despite desperately needing some outside time and exercise. Pictured above is one of the very few “independent” gas stations left in Western Queens. I’ve been making it a point of recording gas stations for a couple of years now. Gas Stations are targets for Big Real Estate because of the size of the lots they inhabit, and because the titans of affordable housing tax abatements know that they can get New York State to pay for the environmental cleanup of said lots under the “NYS Brownfield Opportunity Areas” program. Believe me when I tell you that the local political people aren’t going to be approving any new permits for such establishments anytime soon, because climate change and “Four wheels bad, two wheels good.”

This is Maspeth, in a legendary locale known only as Haberman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, industrial Maspeth, the happy place, how I long for thee.

After shooting this photo, I boarded a rideshare taxi and headed home to Astoria. The shots above were captured after I had departed the company of that Grad Student whom I mentioned earlier in the week. Given that I had already scuttled around for about seven miles, I figured that a bit of comfort would be welcome. My driver told me about his theory that the last person legally elected President was Herbert Hoover. Under my mask, there was a big grin. My favorite conspiracy theories are the ones so grand in scope that they approach opera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was out the next night and shlepping down Steinway Street when I spotted a pair of atavist automobiles in front of a mechanic’s storefront. This was the first of several recent perambulations which I’ve described to Our Lady of the Pentacle as “local” and “not leaving the neighborhood.”

I’m trying to take more frequent walks these days, ones which are a bit shorter than walking home from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the name of burning off some of the pandemic blubber suit which I’m wearing. I’m not just overweight right now, I’ve gotten fat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plan I’ve hatched is to jack up my metabolism a bit with a two pronged regime. First is to cycle in daily walks of no less than 90 minutes, with longer walks scheduled every three to four days. What that means, as an example, would be to walk from Astoria to Dutch Kills in LIC and back – roughly 4 subway stops each way – followed by a longer walk on the third day – industrial Maspeth or East Williamsburg or Flushing. The dailies build up my stamina and endurance, while the longer ones build muscle and eat up the adipose. The wild card is that trick left foot of mine.

Hopefully, by late spring or early summer I can begin to see “fighting weight” coming up in my rear view mirror.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That green splotch on the left side of the shot is what happens when it starts to rain and a blob of water lands on the lens. There’s actually something I really like about the way that a distant traffic signal’s green light flowed into the droplet.

Back next week with some images from a newly instituted schedule of constant movement at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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

January 7, 2022 at 11:00 am

he flees

with 2 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the very few public facing Newtown Creek walks of 2021, I was approached afterwards by one of the Gradate Students who had attended the thing. They asked me if I’d be willing to “show them the ropes” on the eastern side of Newtown Creek. This was before the current Pandemic surge condition set up, so I said “sure.”

I set a meet up point at 43rd street and Queens Blvd., but decided to take the train there from Astoria instead of the Q104 bus or just walking. M line to Jackson Heights, and transfer to the 7.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A buddy of mine in Astoria gives me the “you’re crazy” face when I tell him to go this way, as he likes transferring to the 7 Line at Court Square. He’s wrong, as it’s three stops to Jackson Heights from my stop in Astoria and 4 stops to Court Square. Given that his route goes through Queens Plaza, it’s always going to take longer.

I’m smart… Smart, not dumb, not like people say.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The particular path I took the grad student on involved some of the less visited spots along Newtown Creek like Maspeth Creek. As open sewers go, it’s a beauty.

Foliage, that’s what I kept on thinking. Foliage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, the pandemic has annihilated another Newtown Creek business, this one a distribution hub for an international bakery company that sells snack cakes. Accordingly, open fences, and an opportunity to get a shot that I’ve never gathered before.

Funnily enough, some of my Newtown Creek people – who always tell me that I’ve seen too many movies – recently discovered that the Mafia are still active in the Maspeth area. Surprising, huh? Beverage and snack food distribution using fleets of trucks to deliver to all cash businesses like Bodegas… who would associate the Mafia with that… I mean, it’s not like you grew up in New England and I grew up in 1980’s Flatbush and Canarsie. Thereby, your point of view on this topic is superior to mine. Saying that, I had a neighbor whose car horn literally played “The Godfather”’s theme music.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around the end of our walk, I asked the Grad Student where they wanted to be for sunset, which was greeted with a shrug. I suggested the Grand Street Bridge, and the view you see above.

This shot is from early December, which ended up being a pretty productive month for a humble narrator. The reason I’m embedding six shots in the posts at the moment is to try and catch up with the actual calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Technically, this shot was captured in Brooklyn. The actual dividing line between the boroughs is more or less the dead bang center of the Grand Street Bridge.

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 6, 2022 at 11:00 am

idiomatic voice

with 4 comments

Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You don’t need to resort to filters or camera tricks to create a perfect mirror out of the waters of Newtown Creek, about three miles back from the East River. One of the core environmental problems back here is “flow.” Historically, there were dozens of small creeks and streams that flowed down out of the hills in Bushwick and Ridgewood and fed fresh water into the English Kills tributary of Newtown Creek, but colonization/industrialization/gentrification has turned them all into underground sewers. Natural springs were either capped or exploited. The water here rises and falls with the East River tide, but there’s virtually zero “laminar” or horizontal flow.

Anything that ends up in the water precipitates vertically down, building a sediment bed which is currently 15-20 feet thick that is referred to as “Black Mayonnaise.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To combat this lack of current, and the low oxygen levels inherent in still or standing water, the State commanded the City to build an aeration system which seems to be fairly useless. Expensively useless would also be a phrase that applies. I keep on bringing up the creation of small waterfalls, the engineered kind where water flows and splashes down concrete steps. Hydrological engineering for the bulkheads to accommodate the water’s flow via the introduction of compression and expansion zones is something else I ponder.

The concept underlying the latter is that since water has an absolute limit on its top – atmospheric pressure – and another absolute limit at the hard bottom of the waterway, if you compress the water column horizontally the water will flow faster to its only egress. Same principle as holding a thumb over a garden hose’s outlet increases the pressure of the water. If the bulkheads included some sort of repeating scallop shape, it could theoretically create “flow” without having to power up pumps or impellers. That’s the theory, anyway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If improving Newtown Creek requires the use of a mechanism that needs to be fueled or powered, the improvement has already failed before it left the design phase. The physics of how water moves over, past, and through certain shapes embedded in its columnar body is what really matters to my eyes. Irrigation and petroleum pipeline professional engineers handle this sort of thing all the time, moving pressurized liquids around to where they’re needed. Pumping is largely accomplished with gravity and pipes that narrow and then widen.

Ehh. What do I know, I’m just some wandering mendicant with a camera.


“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 17, 2021 at 11:00 am

apologetic hesitancy

with 2 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Grand Street Bridge pictured above, which I’d suggest you photograph soon if you were planning in doing so. The NYC DOT is going to be replacing it in the very near future, and this crossing of yet another Newtown Creek tributary – the East Branch – is going to look very different in just a few years time.

Oddly enough, at the start of the 20th and end of the 19th centuries, this was a very popular spot to commit suicide. There was a Catholic priest who did so here in his full ritual vestments, carrying his Mitre and everything. What?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of self destructive ideations, this sort of graffiti has been turning up all around the Creeklands in recent weeks. Allow me to decode this one for you – a “fat” lie plays into a certain political dog whistle which states that the only people who get sick or die from Covid are either overweight or already burdened with comorbidity factors like diabetes or heart disease. The “rugged individualism” types push this out there to let you know that they are too morally and physically strong for the virus to find a foothold in them. It’s like lord of the flies, I tell you.

Other lines from the same crowd include “I’ll get the shot when the illegals get it,” and “I’d gladly sacrifice my grandmother’s life for the sake of the economy.” As I’ve been opining for nearly two years now, don’t listen to Politicians about anything. Instead, observe what the most risk averse corporation in America does. Watch Disney.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Did you know that nobody has ever died on Disney property in either Florida’s Disneyworld or at any of their global parks, resorts, and cruise lines? A monorail operator employee of theirs was decapitated in an accident in Florida, and Disney’s EMT’s kept the guy’s heart beating until the stretcher wasn’t on their property anymore. He died in Orlando, not Disneyworld. Like I said, “risk averse.”

The chair pictured above was discovered on the approach to the Grand Street Bridge, and it was covered in barnacles (here’s a close up). The logical supposition is that somebody pulled this thing out of Newtown Creek. The good news is that there seem to be barnacles in the water.


“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 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

condemn all

with one comment

Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Kosciuszcko Bridge all lit up in red. It carries the Brooklyn Queens Expressway high over Newtown Creek, and this shot was gathered in a neighborhood I call “Down Under the Grand Street Bridge Onramp.” DUGSBO is where the extreme south end of Industrial Maspeth oozes into the joint where Newtown Creek’s East Branch and English Kills tributaries go their own ways, and where you’ll encounter the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

If hostilities were to erupt, one wonders who would have the advantage. According to the 2020 Census, Brooklyn has 2,648,403 residents whereas Queens has 2,212,360 residents, so Brooklyn probably wins in a fist fight. Brooklyn also has Fort Hamilton over in Bay Ridge, but a bit of quick googling reveals that Queens hosts several other military offices and units, in addition to the small armies of crack security Port Authority employs at the airports. You’ve got a pretty high percentile of Brooklyn residents who have served in the military, but Queens also has large populations of not just Veterans but also people recently arrived from parts of the world where their Third Grade curriculum included the handling of mortars and small arms.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are a few artillery units stationed out in Whitestone whom I’d suggest we station on the hills in Calvary Cemetery and Maspeth, as well as along Bushwick‘s border with Ridgewood. That’s what the British did during the Revolutionary War. Brooklyn’s multitudes wouldn’t survive an infantry charge across the Grand Street Bridge if you’ve got artillery trained on it from above, and the terrain of Williamsburg and Greenpoint slope roughly down towards the East River so advantage lies with Queens’ defenders.

The porous upland borders from Mile 3 here in DUGSBO back to the DMZ along the Nassau County border will be the worst kind of conflict though. Gritty urban warfare, house to house fighting with small arms and bladed weapons. It will likely be Nassau County that settles the conflict, weighing in on one side or another. Hopefully, given the existential realities of their rail and highway system as well as historical associations, Nassau Marines will swarm over the border and crush the Latte drinking hordes of Brooklyn beneath their booted heels. Queens 4eva, brü.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

See what I’m saying about needing to take long walks in daylight again? Sheesh. This is the part of my inner narrative that I’m willing to actually write down, it’s barely even touching on the crazy stuff. Coo-coo.

More missives from the Happy Place of Industrial Maspeth, eventually. Tomorrow, something different – at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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 12, 2021 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: