The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant’ Category

natural result

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Nehua notōcā Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last weekend, one found himself at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ for an event, and then stuck around for a while to capture a few photos. Depicted above is the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The NYC DEP has changed the name of the place so many times in the last ten years that I’ve decided to just stick with “the sewer plant in Greenpoint” in retaliation. The DEP’s Deputy Commissioner has chided me about this, saying that I’m denigrating her profession. Sorry Pam, if you’re reading this, but when you changed it to the “Newtown Creek Wastewater and Resource Recovery Plant” you lost me.

Imagine answering the phones there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been a minute since I’ve set up the tripod and got busy like this at night around Newtown Creek, given that I’ve been enjoying the freedom of my vaccinated status out on the rivers and in the larger City. It’s funny how the same people who are describing the latest missives from City Hall about proving vaccination status before entering a theater or restaurant as “show me your papers” are the same ones who are demanding that Election Day poll workers and cops say “show me your papers.” Everybody wants to see my papers, for different reasons, apparently. Armbands are likely the next frontier.

Personally, I’m still on my Eric Burdon kick, and listening to his two collaborations with LA Funk Band “War” endlessly. Great version of Paint it Black on “Black Man’s Burdon.” Recommendation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those four pipes are where the DEP burns off the methane generated by the sewer plant in Greenpoint. They are also the largest point source of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere in the entire borough of Brooklyn. “DEP” stands for “Department of Environmental Protection,” incidentally.

One of Eric Burdon’s biggest hits was “We Gotta Get out of this Place.” Listen to that guy, he was (and still is) the Walrus – koo koo kachoo.

Speaking of Lonely Hearts Club Bands… what are you doing tomorrow – August 7th? I’ll be conducting a WALKING TOUR OF LONG ISLAND CITY with my pal Geoff Cobb. Details and ticketing available here. Come with?


“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 6, 2021 at 11:00 am

mindless animal

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sorry for the late update and single shot today, but what can I tell you other than that I’ve been about 24 hours behind schedule since Thursday of last week. Busy, busy, busy.

Back tomorrow with more, 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.

stupefying remoteness

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The union guys have really “upped” their inflatable rat game during the pandemic. There’s a labor action currently underway against the Metro Oil operation, owned by grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis, over on Kingsland Avenue nearby the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Since the last time I observed the inflatable rat pictured above, it’s received a very nice paint job with lots of airbrushing.

One found himself in Greenpoint for an early in the day commiserate with the NYC DEP, Newtown Creek Alliance, and the various members of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee to attend the “soft opening” of Phases 2 & 3 of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk at the sewer plant in Greenpoint. My pal Nate Kensinger recently published a piece about this newly available parcel of public space – check it out here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Phase 2 of the DEP’s project involved the creation of pedestrian bridges that cross the end of the Whale Creek tributary of Newtown Creek, whereas Phase 3 is a large corridor that connects to the end of Kingsland Avenue. This means that between dawn and dusk you can cross Newtown Creek into Brooklyn from Queens at the Pulaski Bridge, walk down Paidge Avenue and into the Nature Walk, then exit it and get back into Queens via the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Used to be that you’d need to walk the entire perimeter of the sewer plant to accomplish the same route and you can’t see the water or any of the cool stuff on Newtown Creek that way.

Pictured above is the NYC DEP’s Port Richmond Sludge Boat, at dock in Whale Creek, where the sewer plant people are pumping the “honey” into its tanks. The “honey” or sterilized sewer sludge, is sent over to another DEP plant on Randalls/Wards Island where it’s dewatered in centrifuges.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Creek Nature Walk was designed by artist George Trakas, built in accordance with NYC’s “1% for art” charter requirement, and offers breathtaking views of Newtown Creek’s maritime industrial corridor. You’ve also got a not insignificant amount of skyline goodness there too.

That’s a DonJon tug moving barges around at the SimsMetal docks in Long Island City. The Nature Walk is officially “soft opened,” meaning that the official ribbon cutting hasn’t occurred yet but it’s welcoming visitors. Supposedly, they’re going to truck the Mayor out sometime soon to do so.


“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 24, 2021 at 11:00 am

spiritual dread

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My beloved Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots were gathered while I was riding on a hybrid ferry boat, which at the time was running on its electric mode. This was a novel experience, I must say. Beyond the whole environmental thing, what was fascinating about this vessel was how quiet it was, and how the deck plates weren’t vibrating with transmitted engine oscillations. Can’t tell you much about the thing, as it wasn’t my “show.”

Saying that, my “show” will be once again opening its curtains on Wednesday October 15th, with an Atlas Obscura/Airbnb “experience” offering my “Infrastructure Creek” walk to a very limited group of 12. This will be an evening/night walk, which should be pretty exciting. Link is both above and below, so please come with if you can. The same tour will be repeated on October 29th. These tours are part of how I keep a roof over my head, so any and all tickets sold essentially feed me, and fund the various technologies which allow me to bring you Newtown Pentacle five days a week and fifty two weeks a year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria Community Board 1 will be gathering at Astoria World Manor on Astoria Blvd. tonight at 6:30. It promises to be an interesting meeting. The Transportation Alternatives organization (Bicycle people) will be offering a presentation pushing for their latest advocacy position which asks the City to create a protected bike lane on Crescent Street connecting the Triborough and Queensboro Bridges. This is sure to be the subject of much conversation and gnashing of teeth in the coming months here in the ancient village, so… Additionally, there is a proposal to develop two currently industrially zoned properties on the Ditmars side of the neighborhood on 45th and 46th street into largish apartment houses.

Discussion of the latter has obsessed the frequent commenters found at Facebook’s Astoria discussion group for the last week. That particular cadre of opinion offerers seem to be composed largely of people who moved out of Astoria in the 1980’s that offer an overly sentimental picture of the “good old days” which has little resemblance to reality. For instance, somebody who is in their mid 60’s in 2019 that says “you could leave your doors unlocked back then” is referring to the late 1970’s in NYC. That’s the midst of an era when you not only triple locked your door, you also installed iron bars on both first AND second story windows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That aphorism about leaving your door open is something I’ve encountered my entire life. My maternal grandparents offered it when referring to living in the “Shtetl” or Lower East Side of Manhattan during the 1920’s when they first got here. My mom and dad also repeated the refrain when referring to East New York’s Brownsville or Brooklyn’s Borough Park where they respectively grew up (the Waxman family’s ancestral property holdings are now a part of the Maimonides Hospital parking garage). You heard this in the neighborhoods which I grew up in, and the saying was always tinged with a certain amount of racism, with the underlying implication that things were better during a more segregated era (red lining was a practice in the real estate world which only allowed certain ethnicities to live in certain areas. It’s part of the “how and why” which NYC’s “ethnic” enclaves were formed by – African American Bed Stuy and Bushwick, Hispanic North Brooklyn, Jewish Midwood and Crown Heights, Italian Bensonhurst and so on).

Back tomorrow with something else. See you tonight at CB1 if you want to come watch the show. Me, I wish I was going to be on a boat tonight during the storm, electric or not. I spend too much of my life in meetings.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Come on a tour!

With Atlas ObscuraInfrastructure Creek AT NIGHT! My favorite walking tour to conduct, and in a group limited to just twelve people! October 15th, 7-9 p.m.

Click here for more information and tickets!

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.

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End to end, and where your poop goes, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a view of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant over in Greenpoint, the newest and largest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants. The eight egg shaped structures which define the facility are bio digesters. What that means is that they contain cultures, in industrial amounts, of the same bacteria that the human gut carries. After undergoing several stages of filtration – mechanical, aeration, and so on – NYC’s brew of sewage and storm water is pumped into those eggs whereupon the bacteria go to work. The micro critters consume what’s left of nutrients in the “honey” (which is how the wastewater engineers of the DEP refer to the stuff) and both the digestive process and their biologies sterilize the stuff. The DEP spends a lot of time making sure that the environment inside the eggs is conducive to this biological action, which includes maintaining a constant interior temperature that matches that of the human body.

It seems that we humans have a remarkably inefficient gut, which is why we fart when consuming too much food. So too, does the sewer plant get gassy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those four cylinders burn off the waste gases produced within the eggs, which largely take the form of Methane. As this turns the sewer plant in Greenpoint into one of the largest point sources of “greenhouse gases” in NYC, the DEP is working with the National Grid company in pursuance of harvesting the methane, which would be chemically modified a tad and added to National Grid’s “natural gas” supply and sold to customers. One is fairly familiar with both this partnership and the process, and the wheelings and dealings behind it, and it’s pretty problematic.

The alternative, however, is to do nothing and continue pumping millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere annually.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in Manhattan, at the corner of East 13th and Avenue D, is the Manhattan Pump House. If you’re in the City and flush a toilet anywhere south of 79th street, your “product” is coming here. I’ve been inside this structure, which plunges multiple stories down into the ground (it’s actually deeper than it is tall). All of the “flow” goes into that cylindrical structure on the left side of the facility, which is called a “surge tower.” There’s a black maelstrom visible from the catwalk, which spirals down into a pipe laid across the bottom of the East River and then eastwards deep under Greenpoint and to the plant.

So, that’s where your poop goes.


“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

June 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm

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