The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘NYFD’ Category

uneasy voices

with one comment

Quite the hullabaloo over in Astoria last Friday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rainy, last Friday evening, a sudden explosion of sirens and a characteristic strobing of red and white light announced that members of the Fire Department had arrived to pursue their occupation. I grew interested when Rescue 4 showed up, which I understand to be a sort of mobile command post and which I’ve only seen when the situation is truly serious.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were two crewed trucks, a hook and ladder unit and an engine unit. In addition, the Rescue 4 truck and this “Haz Tac” unit arrived on scene along with a couple of ambulances. The setting is Broadway in Astoria, by the way, between 43rd and 44th streets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were enough FDNY personnel down there to start a soccer team, but they all seemed to be milling about, rather than the rushing around and “crash bang” action which normally describes the pursuit of their occupation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

NYPD sent an ESU (Emergency Services Unit) truck as well as a highway patrol and several ordinary unit cars, and being the nosey sort, this motivated me to throw the filthy black raincoat on and find out what was going on.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The municipal employees were tight lipped, as usual, but my network of local Croatians had already created a cogent narrative. The whole thing revolved around this van.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As transmitted to me by the Istrian witnesses, there was an accident. A typical fender bender with no injuries, the driver of the van nevertheless fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some unknown municipal threshold must have been achieved, in terms of ascertaining the threat posed by the vehicle, and the FDNY began to pack up and leave. NYPD got busy with traffic cones and redirecting traffic. One wonders, however, what triggered this massive response to an abandoned van.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 9, 2013 at 9:20 am

rythmical promise

with one comment

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In April of 2011, your humble narrator attended a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James Dalton of the Marine 6 unit. The Chief described several of the fascinating boats his unit was in the process of rolling out for duty in the Harbor of New York, one of which is the Fireboat pictured above- The Bravest.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the Marine 6 unit, which is housed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Bravest is one of the ships responsible for protecting an enormous area which encompasses an aggregate coastline of several hundred miles. This coast- which includes petroleum depots, several airports, and cargo terminals as well as residential and recreational docks- wraps around “terrorist target number one” and is the responsibility of only four FDNY chiefs and just over one hundred and twenty firefighters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Like many of the modern “service boats”, Bravest is based around a Coast Guard model- the “Response Boat Medium” (which has been discussed in earlier postings at this, your Newtown Pentacle). Sixty five feet long, the vessel is incredibly fast (45 knots), and is powered by a jet drive which supplies three 1,000 HP engines with motive force. The jet drive scheme enhances crew safety, and allows for shallow draft operation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest’s two main monitors (water cannons) can pump an astounding six thousand gallons per minute. the Fireboat also carries a “miraculous” substance known as “purple K”. A foam extinguisher designed for fighting petrochemical fires, “purple K” and other exotic chemicals are kept onboard in case of an emergency at the Kill Van Kull or Newtown Creek. On the subject of the Creek, “The Bravest” is the likely first responder should an emergency occur involving one of the many oil industry installations found along it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest also carries a full suite of modern communications equipment, including “blue force tracking”, satellite uplinks, and classified radiological detection sensors. Onboard, one will also find a first aid area which comes very close to being considered a mobile field hospital. Larger than needed alternators supply excess voltage to power all of this equipment.

———————————————————————————————

Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

profound discouragement

with one comment

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Odd things occur during the night, here in the rolling hills of Astoria.

Just last week, a thief arrived in the small hours of the night and stole two cement planters from in front of the building where Newtown Pentacle HQ is located. The planters were simple things, but quite heavy, and had stood outside the entry way to this building for decades (as I have been told by my neighbors). A stocky man and powerfully built, as revealed by security camera footage, pulled his car up to the curb and purloined the items in under a minute.

His manner was strange, displaying a jerky style of locomotion and there was something just “not right” about his appearance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Later in the week, a series of loud “pops” echoed through the night.

Fireworks were thought the culprit, detonations of which are a fairly common occurrence in the neighborhood, but area wags were set to wonder- and more than wonder- when a small army of Fire Department Personnel arrived in duty uniform and deployed in large numbers across several blocks. High above, helicopters circled, and the FDNY employees were observed operating a series of metering instruments.

Suddenly, they all returned to their units and left.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Police too have been busy in the area of late, and several nocturnal arrests of unlikely seeming suspects have also aroused rumormongering and gossip amongst the gentry.

More than once have I noticed the local constabulary collecting stricken or unconscious men off the street. These have not been the “usual suspects” either- the familiar cast of local inebriates or opiate devotees who provide regular annoyance and predictable chaos. Many of these men seem to be foreign born, display a low and common character, are oddly tattooed, and universally bear either craniofacial injuries or deformities. Often they are screaming something in an unintelligible and unfamiliar language, which Croat, Egyptian, and Greek alike refer to as some sort of gibberish.

Something odd seems to be going on, here amongst the concrete devastations of Western Queens…

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 25, 2012 at 1:39 am

The Boulevard of Bravery

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Word came to me that Jimmy Van Bramer, who is my local City Council representative, was going to conduct a ceremony in Woodside at the firehouse of the Rescue 4 Unit. Designed to honor the members of that storied unit of the FDNY who fell in the line of duty on September 11, the event was scheduled for noon.

I packed up the camera, and accompanied again by the Charismatic Croat, set off for Woodside.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rescue 4 was hit particularly hard by the attack on 911, and Mr. Van Bramer had gathered several prominent members of the local political establishment and fire unions. Along with family members of the fallen, they came here to designate this corner of Queens Blvd., where Rescue 4 (and Engine 292) is housed, as “The Boulevard of Bravery”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A subject I normally won’t touch with a ten foot pole, September 11th is the stuff of history now, ready for postmodern interpretation and analogy. Future scholars will build careers upon the topic, discussing its ramifications and debating deeper meanings.

Ten years, from a historical point of view, is nothing.

It’s 2051 at the earliest that the subject will be able to be discussed apolitically, and probably much further into the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The turnout for the event was massive, with several retired firefighters and a coterie of political stars, as well as an enormous mainstream media presence- which is rare in Queens. Also in attendance were the Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Corps of the FDNY. In the audience were several people who had lost a loved one in Manhattan, ten years prior, family and friends alike.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then, of course, there were the Firemen.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in previous posts, despite my advancing age and infirmities, it still takes a great deal of effort for me not to chase after a speeding fire truck yelling “firemen, firemen” in the same manner as I did as a small child.

Ten years ago, it was custom to break into spontaneous applause when a fire unit passed by, and few if any FDNY personnel had to pay for their own drinks at any saloon where their affiliation was known.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After unveiling the street sign mounted on a post above Queens Blvd. along with family members of those lost from the Rescue 4 detail on September 11th, Mr Van Bramer presented the unit Captain with a duplicate sign, presumably for display within the firehouse.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then the Drums sang out and the Pipers began to roar, and the Emerald Society performed the hymnal “Amazing Grace”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The admonition offered by the attendant clergy (and by a few of the politicians), who led a spiritual moment of prayer for the deceased, was to perform some sort of good deed today.Render some sort of good natured action for another, which would honor the occasion, and which was referred to as a national day of service.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 11, 2011 at 2:53 am

Ladder 128

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Pentacle mailbox alert bleeped at me the other day, indicating that the local elected’s were planning a rally to save Blissville’s own Ladder 128 from extinction. Double booked, I feared that I might miss this event in the heart of things, but thanks to an offer of a ride from one of these very elected’s to the event, I made it there from my beloved Astoria just as the ceremony was beginning.

from jimmyvanbramer.com

On Friday, May 27th City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer held a rally with City Council Fire & Criminal Justice Chair Elizabeth Crowley, the Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association against the proposed closure of Ladder 128 in Long Island City. For over a century, Ladder 128 has been serving the City of New York in emergency situations, including playing an integral role in the rescue efforts during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Ladder 128 serves the communities of Blissville, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

According to a recent report, closing Ladder 128 would result in nearly 7 min response times, well above the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) four minute benchmark. According to NFPA studies, the increased response times lead to greater casualties and expanded property damage in emergencies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mr. Van Bramer of the NYC City council was the leader of the event, and acted as master of ceremony. Despite the terrific and sudden onset of summer heat on Friday the 27th, and proximity to the holiday weekend, a surprising multitude had gathered.

also from jimmyvanbramer.com

“In an emergency, every second saves lives,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “Allowing response times to skyrocket is simply unacceptable. The Mayor must reconsider this dangerous proposal. As the population continues to grow in the area, this is not the time to cut services that protect our residents. I will continue to fight to keep Ladder 128 open for the safety of our local residents.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The trick, in my opinion, to understanding the function which the various fire companies serve the city is that while every unit has the same basic skill set, through practice and districting- specialties are either called for or evolve through day to day experiences.

The fire companies around Newtown Creek traditionally have some expertise in chemical and petroleum blazes, are experienced in warehouse and high rise situations, and are trained to handle everything from train derailments to fuel barge explosions. Given the immolations which typify the history of the area, this is logical and appropriate.

also from jimmyvanbramer.com

“Closing Ladder 128 will lengthen response times, potentially putting residents’ lives in danger. With this area experiencing a population boom, now is not the time to be making dangerous cuts to emergency services,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Elizabeth Crowley of the NYC City Council spoke next. I’m led to understand that fire house closures are a personal and signature issue for her, which explained the clear ire she expressed at the Mayor’s proposal to shutter Ladder 128. It is not clear to me how the other companies in firehouse E 259 will be affected by the loss of Ladder 128, and whether or not they are similarly endangered.

In other words, I’m not sure if it’s just the unit or the entire firehouse which is on the block.

also from jimmyvanbramer.com

Out of the twenty fire companies slated for closure, the loss of Ladder 128 create the second longest average response time. The Fire Department released a report that estimates that arrival times for first responders will likely increase by more than a minute, from five minutes 31 seconds to six minutes 44 seconds, if Ladder 128 were to close.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m not entirely sure where the concept of Queens having an infinite capacity to cut municipal services arose in Manhattan, but we really are at the breaking point. Our hospitals, the few we have left, are suffering from overcrowding and lack of funds. The cops are overwhelmed protecting the vital infrastructure which distinguishes western Queens, and barely have the manpower to accomplish basic law and order. The FDNY is already contending with shrinking budgets and expanded responsibilities, coupled with new populations contributing to a population density the likes of which the area has never known.

from council.nyc.gov

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, our FDNY remains as busy, strong and heroic as ever before- and the City needs to be there for them now just as they have been and always are there for us. On May 6, 2011, Mayor Bloomberg announced the Fiscal Year 2012 Executive Budget to include the closure of 20 fire companies. The Mayor’s proposal to drastically cut our FDNY services is dangerous, costly and a serious threat to public safety. Once again we need to come together as a community to fight these cuts and let the Mayor know we need our fire protection. Please contact my office to get involved 212.788.7381.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Several of the speakers pointed out the relatively low savings offered to the budget by threatening the 20 fire companies which Ladder 128 shares the threat of closure with. Some offered that there seems to be plenty of money to rename bridges and create bike paths available to the Manhattan elites. Whether that was rhetoric or actual, it certainly pleased the crowd of angry constituents who had gathered with them.

from nyc.gov, on February 4th, 2010

FDNY TO CELEBRATE THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF LADDER
COMPANY 128

Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano will join the officers and members of Ladder Company 128 in their quarters at 33-51 Greenpoint Ave. in Long Island City, Queens at 11 a.m. Friday, as they celebrate 100 years of dedicated service to the community.

Several veterans of Ladder 128 have become Chiefs at FDNY, including Assistant Chief Joseph Pfeifer, who is Chief of the FDNY’s Counterterrorism and Preparedness Center, and Deputy Chief Robert Strong of Division 11. Ladder 128 played important roles battling the Chiclet factory fire of 1976, a 10-alarm fire on the Brooklyn waterfront in 2006, and during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Last week, members of the company received a unit citation from FDNY for a February 2009 incident in which they rescued a man who was dragged and pinned by a tractor trailer after it was struck by a locomotive at Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens. Ladder 128, which shares quarters with Engine 259, had their firehouse renovated just last year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The congresswoman was angry, and left no doubt as to her position on the matter.

also from jimmyvanbramer.com

“In a fire, seconds count. If we lose Ladder Company 128, the extra seven minutes it may take for another company to come to the neighborhood could be the difference between life and death. Let’s hope city officials take another look at closing Ladder 128. I know these are tough times, but our firehouses are the last places we should look to for budget cuts,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As always, my thoughts drift toward that sister of the stygian known as the brain blasting Newtown Creek. The notion of removing fire protection from anywhere within a 5 mile radius of this place is actually insane. The industrial base that surrounds it’s banks represents petroleum, chemical, warehousing. Every art of the industrial world- from power generation to sewage handling- is accomplished nearby.

Less than a mile from here is a home heating oil depot which stores and distributes an incalculable amount of fuel.

from queensvillagetimes.com

The firehouse, at 33-51 Greenpoint Ave. in Blissville, is one of four in Queens and 20 throughout the borough that have been targeted for closure by Mayor Michael Bloomberg due to budget cuts. Ladder 128, nicknamed “tombstone territory” for its proximity to Calvary Cemetery across the street, celebrated its centennial last year. It services the neighborhoods of Blissville, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a series of hellish immolations happened nearby. Once, the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge actually burned down. On the Brooklyn side, at the Locust Hill Refinery, oil tanks were shooting up into the air like rockets. Literal tidal waves of burning oil washed over the Creek and incinerated two FIREBOATS.

from wikipedia.org

Catherine T. Nolan (born March 12, 1958) is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 37th Assembly District, which includes the Queens neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills and Blissville.

Nolan has lived in her district for most of her life and graduated from the St. Aloysius R.C. School and Grover Cleveland High School. She received a B.A. degree (cum laude) in political science from New York University.

She was first elected to the Assembly in 1984. Nolan is a member of the Democratic leadership in the Assembly and has served as Chair of both the Labor and Banking Committee during her career. Although no longer on the Labor Committee, she has continued to push legislation which protects workers rights in New York State.

In January 2006, Nolan was appointed as Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Education. She is also a member of the highly influential Rules and Ways & Means Committee.

She ran uncontested in the 2008 general election and won the 2010 general election with 84 percent of the vote.
Nolan resides in Ridgewood with her husband, Gerard Marsicano, and son Nicholas.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Senator Michael Gianaris spoke next. He’s the elected who gave me the ride incidentally, and you have him to thank for me getting to this event in time to record it for your Newtown Pentacle. There some kind of blogging rule out there which says you have to acknowledge this sort of thing to eliminate conflicts of interest or something, otherwise you’re bad..

also from jimmyvanbramer.com

“Closing Ladder 128 would lengthen response times and harm the safety of western Queens residents,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “Western Queens continues to grow and is in need of more fire protection services, not less. The Mayor must reconsider and keep Ladder 128 open.”

“In a fire or emergency, every second counts. That’s why our neighborhood firehouses, like Ladder 128, and the brave men and women of the New York City Fire Department are essential to the safety of our communities,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “While budget cuts are necessary right now, there cannot be a compromise when it comes to providing lifesaving services. I urge the City to reconsider these closures.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Senator coincidentally suggested one of my pet issues in his statement.

I interpreted concurrence with my notion that while the future of Queens has been written to include vast new populations inhabiting former industrial areas, there seems to be very little thought given to the municipal infrastructure which will be required to maintain those agglutinations of citizenry. Development in Queens once followed the installation of sewers and train lines, rather than just being dropped into whatever open space that could be found. The hospitals and schools, fire houses and police stations, electrical and sewerage systems in western Queens are already inadequate- and don’t even mention the archaic subway stations.

from nysenate.gov

Michael Gianaris, was elected to the State Senate with over 81% of the vote and is the first Greek-American to be elected to office from New York City and has served his community and his state with unique effectiveness.

Senator Gianaris was elected to the State Assembly in 2000.

In the Assembly, Mike recognized the dysfunction of state government and has emerged as a leader on government reform issues. Mike has sponsored numerous measures to improve the efficiency and transparency of state government, including a proposal to reform the legislative redistricting process that the New York Times has called “the real key to reform” in Albany.

Most recently, when state government was brought to a screeching halt, it was Mike Gianaris who found the solution to end the stalemate. By recommending that the Governor appoint a Lieutenant Governor, Mike was able to end the logjam and and get the State Senate working again on behalf of New Yorkers.

Additionally, among his many accomplishments in the legislature, Mike authored important public safety measures, including the state’s first major anti-terror law after September 11th. His Energy Security Act, which has become a national model, enhances security at our State’s power plants and transmission centers. His Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, now in the process of becoming a federal law, ensures that travelers are treated with respect and dignity while on commercial airplanes.

Mike is also a fighter to protect our environment, particularly in the effort to reshape New York’s energy policy. He wrote the Clean Energy Law that encourages the private sector to utilize modern technologies to dramatically reduce pollution while increasing productivity. Mike also held Con Ed accountable when its blackouts hurt local businesses and families in our community. Thanks to Mike’s efforts, the energy behemoth was forced to pay restitution to those affected by its mistakes.

Born in Astoria, Queens to Nicholas and Magdalene Gianaris, Mike is a graduate of the New York City public school system. He attended Public School 84, Junior High School 141 and Long Island City High School before graduating from Fordham University, Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Economics and Political Science. He went on to receive his law degree from Harvard Law School.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next up was Stephen J. Cassidy of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of the FDNY. This guy is some kind of speaker, I tell you. He’s a “union” guy, and speaks in a fashion which is blunt, emotional, and pointed.

Hearing him speak is what going to an old fashioned tent revival meeting must have been like.

from wikipedia

Stephen Cassidy is the President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Fire Department of New York firefighters.

Cassidy is a vocal critic of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s record of response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

He charges that Giuliani’s reputation of a hero or as “America’s Mayor” is an undeserved myth. He has key appearances in the International Association of Fire Fighters’ video, Rudy Giuliani: Urban Legend, released on July 11, 2007 to fire departments across the U.S. The DVD rebroadcasts images of the collapsing Twin Towers. The video outlines New York firefighters’ complaints against Giuliani. In the video, Cassidy said, “The things that we needed to do our jobs even better, we didn’t have, because of his administration.” He added, “On the heroic memory of 343 dead firefighters, he wants to run for president of the United States. It’s a disgrace.” Many other present and former IAFF leaders and firefighters from New York City appear in the video. He faulted the 9/11 Commission for its treatment of Giuliani, “The 9/11 Commission gave Rudy Giuliani a pass, not asking him tough questions about what he knew, when he knew it or why he failed to provide respirators to firefighters and other first responders.” He said that the lack of respirators led to exposure of first responders to fatal or otherwise serious pathogens.

He has criticized the reduction of the number of firehouses in Brooklyn while up to 60,000 units of housing are planned for waterfront areas of Brooklyn.

In 2007, he sided with the Fire Department and the city of New York in a Federal lawsuit initiated by the Vulcan Society of black firefighters, which charged that the written entrance exams had disparate impact on minority candidates.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You don’t hear this sort of oration much in the public sphere, although it was once ubiquitous. Combative, inflected with urban accent and patois, rife with gestural poses and dismissive facial expressions. This isn’t a lawyer talking, this is a working guy.

from ufanyc.org

The objectives of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) are to:

    • Protect the rights of UFA members
    • Obtain better and safer working conditions
    • Secure adequate remuneration
    • Obtain the equitable resolution of grievances
    • Cultivate fellowship among its members
    • Foster the finest traditions of American citizenship

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next up was Captain Al Hagan of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA), for which he serves as President.

from inthearena.blogs.cnn.com

…But it is very frightening that that the mayor of New York has announced the closing of 20 fire companies in the city and I am concerned that the impact on the security of our citizens—particularly in the event of another terrorist attack-would be devastating. The whole world knows that the Fire Department is one of the cornerstones of homeland security here in New York City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Capt. Hagan, similarly a union man, brought the old time thunder to the podium.

from wikipedia

Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) is a union for lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, medical officers and supervising fire marshals in the Fire Department of New York. Captain Alexander Hagan is the current president of the UFOA. Battalion Chief Jack McDonnell preceded Capt. Hagan. Peter Gorman was president from 1999-2007.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next up was Bill de Blasio… and I must get this out of my system… who must be the largest man in the City of New York. When you stand next to the public advocate, and I am average height, it feels like you’re in third grade.

If we lived in medieval times, the public advocate would be King just based on virtue of his stature.

Holy moley, this guy is gigantic.

…glad I got that off my chest…

from pubadvocate.nyc.gov

On November 3rd, 2009, Bill de Blasio was elected New York City’s third Public Advocate. For the prior eight years, de Blasio served in the New York City Council where he fought to make City Hall more responsive and accountable to New Yorkers.

Bill de Blasio began his work in New York City government as an aide to Mayor David Dinkins. During the Clinton Administration, de Blasio was appointed Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he served under former Secretary Andrew Cuomo. In 1999, de Blasio was elected to the School Board for District 15 in Brooklyn. In 2000, he managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate. The following year, de Blasio was elected to the New York City Council where he represented District 39 in Brooklyn for eight years.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All kidding aside, the Public Advocate threw his protestations to the Mayor’s plan to close Ladder 128 and 19 other firehouses into the ring.

from pubadvocate.nyc.gov

“The list of fire company cutbacks shows what the Mayor’s budget really means for the safety of New Yorkers and their families. In my own neighborhood, Engine Company 220, which is a block from my house, now faces an estimated 30-second jump in response time. As Fire Commissioner Cassano has acknowledged, higher response times mean greater risks for New Yorkers. I will fight to keep every one of these fire companies open so that no family is put in harm’s way.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Pentacle HQ, I would reveal in accordance with some set of ethical blogging rules, lies deep within the districts of several of these powers and potentates. So does the Newtown Creek, and just in case my viewpoints and biases might be viewed as representing any groups or organizations which I belong to or am affiliated with, this is just me rattling on and does not attempt the former.

My wife sleeps in the area affected by this closing, and I’m pissed off about it as a citizen.

from qgazette.com

Known affectionately as “Tombstone Territory” due to the surrounding graveyard, Ladder Co. 128 was originally founded on Feb. 7, 1910 as Hook and Ladder Co. 78 on Greenpoint Ave in the town of Blissville. The name was changed to Hook & Ladder 128 on Jan. 1, 1913.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, as the E259 Firehouse is directly across the street from Calvary Cemetery, which longtime readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle- know I have a certain interest in, there’s a little more to the story of the place than just modern politics. Check out this report from the archives at nytimes.com on this firehouse, when it housed Long Island City F.D. Engine No. 2 during the reign of Battleax Gleason.

additionally, here’s a little nugget from Municipal journal and engineer, Volume 26, courtesy google books

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The insignia nickname for this unit, of course, is tombstone territory. Here’s their patch.

from fdnytrucks.com

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are a series of rallies and marches planned, and I’ve heard rumors of a gargantuan protest meant to occur on June 3rd. Please check the websites of the various elected officials pictured or mentioned in this post for more news. As well, the web sites of the 2 unions bear watching.

Normal Newtown Pentacle policy on such matters is “it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is”, however closing fire companies is definitively a very bad idea indeed.

from nypost.com

Chief of Department Edward Kilduff called the centennial a tremendous milestone for the firehouse, nicknamed “tombstone territory” thanks to its location across from Calvary Cemetery, one of the largest and oldest burial grounds in the country.

“This is one of the most diverse areas in the city,” Kilduff said. “You have everything here from high-rises to tunnels to rail yards. The commercial buildings are extreme challenges for anybody. A place like this really represents the heart and soul in the Fire Department.”

From Astoria Park, fireworks show, June 30 2010

with one comment

– photos by Mitch Waxman

An FDNY fireboat shooting Red White and Blue water in between the Triborough and HellGate Bridges, followed by a cool tugboat, and then a fireworks display framed against the latter bridge. Happy 4th of July!

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 4, 2010 at 3:06 am

Tombstone Territory

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a short posting today, and as you might observe, your humble narrator has been hanging out around cemeteries again. The other day, as I was leaving Calvary via the Greenpoint Avenue Gates, I spotted Ladder 128’s truck (which had apparently just been washed) sparkling in the cascading emanations of the thermonuclear eye of god itself. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the subject of the NYFD and their wonderful equipment reduces me to early childhood. When a fire engine or ladder truck screams past with lights and sirens on, it is a very difficult thing for me not to run after it yelling “Firemen, Firemen!!!”.

from nypost.com

Ladder 128 has played an integral role in the community over the past 100 years, and the stories from within the house were feted as that which makes a life complete by the hundreds who attended Friday’s celebration at the Blissville location. The firehouse covers the areas of Blissville, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“Ladder 128 has produced some true strong leaders,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said. “%u2026 You’ve responded to some of the toughest fires we’ve had. Members of Ladder 128 have served this city with distinction.”

Chief of Department Edward Kilduff called the centennial a tremendous milestone for the firehouse, nicknamed “tombstone territory” thanks to its location across from Calvary Cemetery, one of the largest and oldest burial grounds in the country.

“This is one of the most diverse areas in the city,” Kilduff said. “You have everything here from high-rises to tunnels to rail yards. The commercial buildings are extreme challenges for anybody. A place like this really represents the heart and soul in the Fire Department.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Far away from the carven hillocks of Calvary, along the graven lanes of Broadway in Astoria, that’s Engine 263 and Ladder 163 doing something important that involved the ancient Subway platform at 46th street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I believe is Ladder 136 at the scene of a 5 alarm fire in a Dutch Kills commercial building last year.

%d bloggers like this: