The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘DUPBO’ Category

noxious heap

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Continuing with the sights witnessed along a longish scuttle on October 8th, a humble narrator found himself crossing the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and heading towards Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

That’s my beloved Newtown Creek in the shot above. About 1.3 miles back from the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Kingsland Avenue is in the process of being redesigned in response to the opening of Phase 3 of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant, which has brought lots and lots of pedestrian and bike traffic to the former entirely industrial street. As always seems to be the case these days, NYC DOT’s traffic engineers has managed to imagine up the worst possible design, and implemented it in a piecemeal and inconsistently thought out fashion.

Somebody else’s problem now. I’m done fighting City Hall.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Nature Walk, which hugs the water facing side of the Sewer Plant, the Pulaski Bridge opening for a passing tug was observed.

Somebody recognized me, and I was having a conversation with them while climbing on a fence. They were clearly afraid that I was going to fall in the water while doing so, but there you are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next section of my walk involved attaining the Pulaski Bridge’s pedestrian path. Which carried me back out of Brooklyn and into Queens’ Long Island City section.

One briefly considered hopping on the subway, but it was a beautiful day and I just kept on scuttling.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One headed eastwards on Jackson Avenue, heading towards Astoria.

“Every time might be the last time.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queens Plaza has become absolutely unrecognizable at this point. The few remaining industrial buildings and warehouses which survived the reconstruction of the area have finally been consumed by the real estate frenzy.

Tomorrow – something a bit different, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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.

unearthly immanence

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After getting dropped off in Greenpoint from a boat journey on Newtown Creek, one scuttled across the Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City and the subway towards HQ back in Astoria.

Along the way, the Long Island Railroad was performing one of its daily tasks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Big Allis loomed over LIC, as always.

Traffic was heavy, as always.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Queens Midtown Tunnel teemed with vehicular flow.

As always.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 7 train was delayed, as always, but it eventually appeared.

Luckily, I found a seat and was able to take a short rest.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At Queensboro Plaza, the trains came and went, as always.

I was waiting for one traveling on the Astoria line to arrive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Three or four 7 trains later, a W showed up.

I headed home, deep in thought, as always.

“Every time might be the last time.”


“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 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

unvisited mountain

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One last batch of photos from my penultimate boat trip down Newtown Creek greets you in today’s post.

The very first time I came back here by boat was back in 2007 or 2008, and it was a tour led by my future friend Bernie Ente with Working Harbor Committee acting as the organizer. Bernie was one of the founders of Newtown Creek Alliance, a great photographer, and he left his family and this world while still far too young in 2011.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bernie and I had been working together for a while when he passed, doing boat and walking tours, and having adventures. My pal Mai Armstrong started hanging around with us, and we all worked on the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission with Barry and Judith Schneider, Gridlock Sam Shwartz, and the then NYC DOT Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan on the City’s centennial celebrations for the Queensboro, Manhattan, Madison Avenue, and Hunters Point Avenue Bridges. Bernie almost missed the latter one, and he ended up checking himself into a hospital just a few days after it. He never checked out.

Bernie Ente introduced me to a circle of incredible people, all experts on one subject or another, and we collectively referred to ourselves as “Team Bernie” afterwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was John Doswell, and Meg Black. There was John Skelson and Rich Taylor, a guy named John who works for the city and I can’t say his last name out loud in public or he’ll get in trouble with his boss, the self proclaimed “Harbor Wenches,” and Captain Maggie and…

Over at Newtown Creek Alliance, which had recently become a “proper” non profit rather than a community group, there were Katie Schmidt and the new Executive Director Kate Zidar, and my pal Penny Lee from NY City Planning. At the time, I was still on speaking terms with the Greater Astoria and Newtown Historical Societies. Those two’s a tale, I tell’s ya.

The path of education that Bernie started me on was continued by all of these people. My pal Mai Armstrong was by my side through it all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Boat tours were always my favorite. I love telling the story of Newtown Creek and New York Harbor while bouncing along on the tide. I got to narrate on the Circle Line once with historian Dr. Kenneth Jackson (Encyclopedia of New York) onboard and at no point did he throw a chair at me or anything, so great success.

I’m quite reflective about all these people, many of whom have either retired to their dotage or passed on to their rewards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It won’t be too long now. I’ll be living somewhere else by Christmas.

I’ve spent my entire life in NYC. Grew up in Brooklyn, lived for a while in Manhattan, and I’ve been in Astoria for just under 20 years now. Newtown Creek has been at the center of my thoughts and actions for nearly 15 years. It’s time for the next generation to pick up their lance and tilt at the windmills along my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In a first for me, I actually had to sort of leap off the boat and catch a ladder affixed to the shoreline to get back on land in Greenpoint.

One soon found himself scuttling again, across the Pulaski Bridge. As always, the camera was being waved around at the various wonders of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

Tomorrow, more – more MORE!


“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 1, 2022 at 11:00 am

devilish anxiety

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As described in yesterday’s post, on the 27th of September one was provided with a uniquely wonderful offer by my friend, Carter Craft. Carter owns a boat, and he offered to take me out for an afternoon’s navigation upon the absolutely lugubrious Newtown Creek.

We got lucky, with perfect autumn weather. That’s what the Pulaski Bridge looks like from below. Over the years, everything that’s I’ve written about that’s in the vicinity of this bridge, on either side of the creek – Brooklyn or Queens – has been tagged with the acronym DUPBO – short for “Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For the first 10 years or so of the time I’ve been hanging around Newtown Creek, boat excursions and tours were pretty frequent. With either Working Harbor Committee, or Newtown Creek Alliance or sometimes both – we’d hire out ferry boats to conduct public or private facing tours of the waterway. Working Harbor’s mission includes “educating the public about the harbor” and NCA’s is “reveal, restore, revitalize,” so bringing people here was a significant action for us. We’d also partner up with Open House NY and others to do boat tours.

When NYC Ferry came along about 8 years ago, they began hiring all the available ferry boats in NY Harbor to handle their success on the Rockaway line, and what that meant to us was that the only boats still available were luxurious party and dinner vessels, which were way out of the price range that any of the non profits could support. Ticket prices would have had to have been north of $100, just to cover costs of the boat itself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This hasn’t really been a terrible thing, necessarily, as my pal Will Elkins from NCA is a leading member of the North Brooklyn Boat Club and has been organizing paddling trips up the Creek for years. There’s a couple of giant row boats in their inventory, and plenty of kayaks. This provided for a more relaxed form of narration, and a slower pace.

Then COVID came along, and thereby it’s been nearly three years since I’ve been out on the waters of my beloved Newtown Creek. When my pal Carter Craft contacted me, and said “I can’t let Mitch Waxman leave New York without taking him out on Newtown Creek,” one jumped at the chance to do so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every time might be the last time. In this case, it’s my penultimate trip on the Creek. If you’re along the waterway this Saturday afternoon and you see a historic Fireboat passing by, wave at me. I’ll be the one in the filthy black raincoat waving a camera around. That’ll be the last one.

As of Sunday, I’ll be closing the cover on this part of my life. I’ve decided to keep on publishing here for a bit, just to maintain my own sanity. Things are so hectic at the moment, as I prepare to move to another state, that I find myself having to check with my phone to see what day it is. Writing these posts is the singular “non chaotic” activity I’ve got at the moment, so…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Every post that’s been published here since 2009 involving this bridge or the terrain surrounding it has been tagged with “DUGABO” or Down Under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge Onramp.

The logic behind the DUPBO or DUGABO or DUKBO thing has always been to break the creek up into regions. The waterway is 3.8 miles end to end, with a large tributary called Dutch Kills branching off of it, and the surrounding territory and street grid is so byzantine and obtuse that it made sense to create “zones” just to stay organized around the “landmark” bridges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s what it looks like under the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. You’re looking towards the Queens side there, in LIC’s Blissville, where Railroad Avenue is found. We navigated on, which I’ll describe in subsequent postings.

More coming…


“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

October 27, 2022 at 11:00 am

formal blessing

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time,” I keep saying. On the 27th of September, one was traveling during the late morning to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Specifically, I was heading for the Manhattan Avenue street end. An appointment was involved, and to ensure my timeliness the Subway was invoked.

Moving through the transit portals I do, one inevitably found himself over at the MTA’s Court Square facility, and the G line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief ride, and then one found himself in Greenpoint itself. The MTA has recently installed an elevator system in this station.

Its signage caught my eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That must be some elevator, thought I.

Since I like using things I’ve helped pay for, I hit the button and had a funny exchange about the improvement with another commuter, whose personal invective was framed by English spoken with a syrupy Polish accent. Ahh, Greenpoint, how I’ll miss the default state of sarcasm that you inspire, and that I always enjoy interacting with, in your residents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled down hill along Manhattan Avenue, towards the fabulous Newtown Creek.

“Every time might be the last time,” and this time around, I was meeting up with a friend that owns a boat. He offered to take me out for one last “from the water” photo session on my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was waiting for him to arrive, the tug Miss Madeline reappeared in front of the camera.

Just a few days ago, shots of the selfsame vessel attempting to conquer the laws of physics and mechanical engineering were offered here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tomorrow – I’ll show you what I captured on this particular day.

Miss Madeline navigated under the Pulaski Bridge, as we soon would.

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

October 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

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