The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘DUKBO’ Category

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

inhuman squeals

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My recent walks have been far ranging. In a post Zuzu the dog world, one has been able to resume being out of the house for hours and hours as I don’t have to provide her with the acute care and attention she required during her decline. Accordingly, one has been poking his lens into all sorts of places and really burning the shoe leather up. I’ve got an app on my phone which approximates the mileage and “number of steps” it accompanies me through. Resumption of my old “one day out, one day in” schedule has occurred, and a predominance of my time and attentions are being focused on the Newtown Creek again.

According to an app on my phone, which is expertly programmed to guilt me out, I’m walking a bit less than I was this time last year. This time last year, however, you actually had to go to meetings rather than log into them, and those meetings usually take place miles and miles from HQ, and there wasn’t a respiratory plague going around. App chiding notwithstanding, the stamina and ability to march around for six to eight hours at a pop have recently returned. Hibernation is bad for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Literally “DUKBO” or “Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp” in Maspeth is where this shot was gathered. Construction on the bridge is more or less finished at this point, but they are still turning the odd screw and tweaking this or that.

This is the 2.1 mile mark on the Newtown Creek, as in it’s that far back from the East River where I was standing. The Penny Bridge site is visible in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The former property of Phelps Dodge, which occupied this section of the creek in one corporate guise or another for more than a century, the water quality in this area is both complex and poor. The original 19th century owner of this property was General Chemical, which manufactured several exquisitely toxic but lovely chemical cocktails here but their mainstay was sulfuric acid. Phelps Dodge turned the acid factory into a copper refinery, which persisted here well into the late 20th century. There’s a food wholesaler based here now.

Apparently they’re down a shopping cart.

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 14th. 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 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

sane harborage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one was wandering through Blissville. For one reason or another, a humble narrator decided it would be good to get a few shots of the enormous masonry wall offered by First Calvary cemetery for the amusement of passerby on Review Avenue.

My understanding of the function of this structure is that it acts as a retaining wall. Laurel Hill, the landform which Calvary was carved into starting in 1848, used to slope down towards Newtown Creek. Review Avenue is a “cut” and the engineers who worked for the Church probably had to worry about mudslides when laying out the place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wall itself is enormous, and based on observation from within the cemetery and atop it, around ten feet thick at the top and an unknown width at bottom. It’s composed on concrete and boulders, and likely bottoms out several yards under the level of the street and sidewalk. The boulders are typical glacial till, likely harvested from native soils, and nothing special.

My intention when shooting this was in theoretical pursuance of doing a cutaway illustration of the wall and subterrene, which was going to be accompanied by a bit of narrative reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft short story called “The Statement of Randolph Carter” wherein the exploration of a mortuary complex’s underground chambers results in a typically horrifying conclusion for a Lovecraft tale. That’s my actual thought process leading up to actuating the camera shutter.

That’s when I spotted them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When queried as to why I always have a camera with me, the answer is usually “if I don’t have this, then a ufo would land in the intersection and Bigfoot and Elvis would disembark from it.” Usually, a camera is your best defense against anything interesting happening within eyeshot.

These two defied that maxim, however, and they are to be applauded.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They seemed to be a couple, these two, just picking their way along the rock wall.

So intent on their task were they that notice of the strange old fellow with a camera trained on them standing across the street and laughing hysterically didn’t seem to register. This genuinely amused me, and I like to believe that one of them said to the other that “the floor is lava.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They never got more than five or six feet off the lava, I would mention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’m often quoted as saying – you never know what you’re going to see at Calvary Cemetery. Even when the place has remained inexplicably closed to the public at exactly the moment when its acres of green space have been most needed, the people of LIC will make it their own.

Awesome sauce.

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 14th. 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 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

prism clusters

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Labor Day

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last archive post today, before a flood of all new stuff begins filtering your way, this one depicting one of the people who keep our entire societal machine functioning.

Ask your self – which side are you on, boy, which side are you on? If you don’t get the reference, then the bankers and corporatists continue to succeed in the diminution and destruction of the Organized Labor movement in these United States. Your Dad and certainly your Grandpa would recognize the lyric.

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 7th. 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 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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