The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Photowalk’ Category

wrenching sound

with 3 comments

Coney Island Aquarium, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NY Aquarium is based in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

It is the very definition of the “House of Moses” as it was NYC’s master builder Robert Moses who actually created the modern institution. Moses had ousted the Aquarium from its former home on the Battery in Manhattan, at Castle Clinton, when he was pushing to build his Brooklyn Battery Bridge (one of his few defeats, but he got to take over the tunnel project instead) back in 1941. In early June of 1957, Moses unveiled the NY Aquarium here in South Eastern Brooklyn, right next door to the landmarked “Cyclone” roller coaster which predated it by around thirty years and which is pictured above.

As an aside, the Aquarium is the former location of the semi legendary “Dreamland” Amusement park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Currently operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages all of NYC’s premiere animal prisons, the Aquarium was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and is frankly a shadow of its former self. The good news is that there’s a significant amount of construction going on at the site, which should restore the place to its former glory, but there’s not all that much to see hereabouts at the moment. Regardless, due to my NYCID card granted free membership to all the WCS managed properties, I had free admission, so in I went.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bathysphere located outside the Aquarium has to have had every Brooklyn school kid of the last sixty years climb on it.

It’s an artifact of the 1930’s, this pressure capsule, and was used by a zoologist name Beebe and an engineer named Barton (who designed, built, and maintained the thing) to “deep dive” and observe critters in the depths of the sea. It set records for depth back in 1934, as a point of interest, and the bathysphere is said to have descended some 3,028 feet down into the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just after entering, you encounter a dark chamber filled with tanks of various sorts of itchyan critters. It’s pretty darkly lit in there, and as the room is packed with little kids losing their minds at the sights, you need to be pretty careful where you step to avoid squishing any of the kids as they bounce off the walls.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m no ichthyologist, but I’m pretty sure that’s a ray. This critter was in the largest of the tanks. One is curious about the “behind the scenes” stuff maintaining these tanks – the filters, aeration, and circulation systems alone must represent a volume of water 2/3 larger than what you see in the tank. There were pretty big populations of fish swimming around in these displays, so there has to be some pretty interesting plumbing connected to it, IMHO.

It’s a pretty challenging environment to shoot inside the Aquarium, incidentally, as the tank walls seem to be composed of some sort of thick plastic which created a lot of visual artifacts and light refraction. It’s also, as mentioned, fairly dark in there, and the light levels are set for the comfort of the inhabitants of the tanks rather than for their observers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My “bright lens” which is capable of large apertures such as f1.8 was deployed, and I used one hand as both a light baffle and pad for the lens as I brought it nearly up to the tank. The light baffle part was to control reflection from light sources behind the camera, the “pad” was to avoid directly touching the glass. I had autofocus on, and was “spraying and praying” the shots. Worked out fairly well, with a roughly 40% success rate, as far as image fidelity goes.

That’s some sort of weird tentacle monster above, might be related to certain star spawned deities who are both the key and the gate, and in whom all are one. Y’know, the thousand faced goat from the woods.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In another of the tanks there were what looked like schools of Cichlids, in sort of simulated lake environment. That’s what they looked like to me at least, but as mentioned, I’m no ichthyologist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some truly enormous river fish were observed in another tank. I’ve seen smaller specimens of this critter on sale at tropical fish stores in the past, and they’re all jaw.

One of my college jobs, incidentally, was working as an Aquarium Service technician. I’d show up in rich guy’s manhattan offices who had contracted with my boss, and I’d do all the fish tank maintenance chores for them (deep filtering, water change, chemical tests for ph and ammonia levels, assess fish health, mechanics of tank, etc.) I did a couple of Chinese restaurants in midtown as well, which were huge all day jobs on 500 gallon custom salt water tanks. Back in college, I was also a fine art mover, a clerk at a fotomat, a dishwasher – pretty much anything I could do for money I did. Once I took a job shoveling poop.

Told you that visiting this part of Brooklyn made me nostalgic.

Outside of the interior section of the Aquarium, there was a lonely looking and somewhat shy harbor seal, an otter, and a pack of penguins. The Walrus had the day off, according to the signage. Frankly they weren’t too active and nothing interesting happened when I pointed a camera at them, so…

Sharks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A temporary tank is housing the Aquarium’s collection of various shark specie.

Were Sharks capable of any thought beyond “kill” or “hunt” I might feel sorry for them, but they’re not, so I don’t. Apparently a new Shark enclosure is under construction which should make them as happy as Sharks are capable of being when they’re not killing.

Affordable housing for Sharks, this?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only thought going through my head while struggling to get a few decent shots of these predators was the movie character “Dr. Evil” asking his henchmen to outfit his sharks with “fricking Lasers.” Like tigers, we must maintain the Shark specie in case Aliens ever invade the Earth. The Tigers will be ridden by Russian Special Forces Soldiers, of course, and will shot at the arriving fleet of starships in the warheads of missiles to greet the arriving conquerors with the unique brand of hospitality that Russians offer to invaders. I also like to think that it will be Maori Warriors from New Zealand who will ride laser and space suit equipped sharks into battle with the extraterrestrial armies. I should mention that while I was shooting the Sharks, I was listening to Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” so…

Personally speaking, a welcome will be offered to our new overlords, as the only mount I have to ride into battle on would be an increasingly lazy dog named Zuzu.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Remember my little explanation of how to guard against backlit reflections in photo situations like these?

This is what happens when you don’t do that, but I thought it made for a neat effect. Almost looks like a double exposure, but it’s just the reflection on the curved glass as the killers slipped by.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having accomplished a minor goal, one’s spirits were high and an exit through the Aquarium’s Coney Island Boardwalk portal was engaged. All told, I was at the facility for about an hour.

It was fun, and a I look forward to returning when the WCS has built the new enclosures and fully recovered from Sandy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Trying to decide what to do with myself, as I’d just spent equal amounts of time at the Aquarium and on the train ride to Coney Island from Astoria, a definite course of action was decided upon.

Before you ask, those box thingies on the stilts in the shot above house the Beach’s “comfort stations” and provide the Parks Dept. folks with offices. They run taxpayers about $2 million each, and these are two of the 35 of them being installed on city beaches. They’re built by the Deluxe Building Systems Corp., have galvanized steel frames to withstand the salty atmosphere and weather events, and are brand spanking new.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I turned eastwards, as a silly idea suddenly occurred to me, and the desire for luncheon began to rumble.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, July 23, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking tour,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. –
Glittering Realms Walking tour,
with NYC H2O. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, July 27, 1st trip – 4:50 p.m. 2nd trip – 6:50 p.m. –
2 Newtown Creek Boat Tours,
with Open House NY. Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 30, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
DUPBO Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

Sunday, August 21, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Poison Cauldron Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

upon twilight

with 3 comments

uggggh, anywhere but here…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the infinite wisdom, and macabre sense of humor, which the employees of the City of New York are known for – a recent pass by an inspector from the Department of Buildings here in Astoria resulted in several square blocks of building owners being cited to replace their sidewalks. It is an election year, of course, but this edict has resulted in a non stop cacophony of masonry saws and jack hammers pounding the pavement for the last several months.

Even the sidewalks in front of HQ, which I will point out were in fine fettle, needed to be replaced.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Scalar waves of noise, which my little dog Zuzu has found most off putting, have been bouncing around between the brick walls of the ancient village. Clouds of concrete dust, a small army of day laborers stretching out the jobs, and a general disruption of the day to day has created a decided edge to things hereabouts.

I’m willing to go anywhere that’s even marginally quiet at the moment. Industrial Maspeth is actually more pleasant from a sonic POV than the old 11103 at the moment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Noise is the one pollution vector which we all seem to just accept here in NYC. Car alarms and elevated subways are one thing, but the fact that some random inspector can just decide to order three square blocks of building owners to replace their sidewalks – at no small expense, incidentally – seems crazy to me. It’s also goofy that DEP noise cops keep showing up in the hood to write tickets for excess noise due to the demolition of the old pavement, which was ordered by DOB.

The funny part about the endeavor is that the City owned sidewalk sections found on the corners have received no such work orders, and you see brand new walks abutting the craphole Municpal section. The sewer catch basins and curb cuts are found there, as well as the traffic lights. This section of pavement is at least 30-40 years old, cracked, filthy, pockmarked. The curbs are broken, and let’s just say that the City does not feel the same need to ensure that the crosswalks in Queens are ADA compliant that they do in Manhattan.

Upcoming Events and Tours

TONIGHT! Thursday, June 30, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. –
Port Elizabeth Newark Boat Tour,
with Working Harbor Committee. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 30, 2016 at 11:00 am

conducive circumstance

with 2 comments

Macro shots, berries, and my life’s savings – in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Monday of this week, a series of table shots were offered, depicting various food stuffs and comestibles which were photographed under a “macro” table shot setup. This sort of setup is kind of technical, involves all sorts of measurements and secondary equipment like lights and flashes. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice to say it allows a somewhat magnified version of reality to be captured. It should be mentioned that my macro setup is by no means a professional one, rather it’s cobbled together from various bits of kit I already own. A proper macro lens is a wonderful bit of optical engineering, and expensive.

On my kitchen counter, there’s a bag of garlic which has been there since the first week of January, and some of the cloves have sprouted – as you’ll notice in the shot above. Garlic is native to Central Asia, is officially known as Allium sativum, and is a species of the onion genus – Allium. It’s one of mankind’s oldest cultivars, and is evidenced as far back as 7,000 years in the historic record. Most of the world’s garlic is produced in China, which is probably why you don’t hear many vampire stories with a Han twist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A taproot, the Carrot is another ancient vegetable, especially so for the one pictured above which withered away in the back of my refrigerator. The word “Carrot” suddenly manifested in the English language around 1530, orignating from the Middle French “carotte,” which comes from the Late Latin carōta, which borrowed the word from the Greek καρωτόν or “karōton.” Daucas Carota is the scientific name for the wild Carrot, and there are many, many variants of it found throughout Iran. Wild Carrot variants were grown in Europe as early as 2,000 BCE, but most modern folks wouldn’t recognize those purple colored vegetables as carrots. The modern yellow and orange cultivar “Daucas Carota Sativum” comes from Afghanistan, and found its way into Europe via the Moors back in the 8th century CE.

Suffice to say, the specimen above found its way into the compost bucket shortly after the shot above was captured.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All citrus trees belong to a single genus – Citrus – and are almost entirely interfertile, with farmers reproducing them via grafting. A single superspecies – grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and various other types and hybrids are all one “thing.” The fruit of a citrus tree is a hesperidium, which is modified berry and is covered by a rind which is actually a rugged and thickened ovary wall. According to various sources – the word “orange” comes from the Sanskrit word for “orange tree” (नारङ्ग nāraṅga). The Sanskrit word reached European languages through Persian نارنگ (nārang) and its Arabic derivative نارنج (nāranj). The first recorded use of the word Orange in English was in 1512.

The Navel Orange, as pictured above, is a mutant variant which emerged in Brazil sometime between 1810 and 1820. The navel part is actually a conjoined twin.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lemons are thought to have originated in either Northern India, Burma, or Southern China. The plant made its way to Europe and the Romans in the 1st century CE, but it was the Arabs who embraced them in cuisine and widely planted them. Columbus brought lemon seeds along with him to the Americas back in 1493, but it wasn’t until 1747 that Lemons began to be widely planted and cultivated by Europeans – due to a Scot Doctor named James Lind – who discovered that lemon juice could help sailors in the British Royal Navy avoid coming down with Scurvy.

The word “lemon” is thought to be of Arabic origin – “laymūn or līmūn” – which came to the European tongues via the Old French “limon,” and then the Italian “limone.” An older Persian term for it is “līmūn,” which is a generic term for citrus fruit, and there’s also the Sanskrit root word “nimbū.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Limes are actually prehistoric cultivars, and were widely grown by the Persians and Baylonians. There are multiple fruits (actually berries) called “limes,” but not all of them are actually Citrus. The Royal Navy switched over from Lemons to Limes around the time of the American Civil War, which was a HUGE military secret in the middle of the 19th century, given that the latter contained more Scurvy fighting vitamin C than the former. Also, they go better with Gin.

This is where the term “Limey,” as used to refer to a British person, began.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Botanists will tell you that the Banana is also a berry, just like the various iterations of the Citrus family.

Wild Bananas are chock full of seeds. Seedless bananas are all cultivated from two wild variants known as Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Native to Austrailia and the Indo-Malayan archipelagos of the southern Pacific, Banana is believed to have first been actively cultivated in New Guinea, of all places, in impossibly ancient times – 5,000 – 8,000 BCE. The word “Banana” is believed to West African in derivation, and transmitted to European tongues via Spanish and Portuguese trade ships.

There’s ultimately two families of banana you’re likely to encounter in the Americas – the sort you eat raw which are called Cavendish, and the kind you cook – which are commonly referred to as Plantains – and are called Saba. In Asia and Africa, you’ve got a pretty big group of variants for this sort of big yellow berry. The Portuguese brought the banana to the Americas in the 16th century.

The banana trade, incidentally, is one of the most evil endeavors which British and American Capitalism has ever engaged in. Subjugation and enslavement of native peoples, importation of African and Asian slaves to work the plantations; interference with, corruption of, and the overthrow of foreign governments – were and are a part of doing business right up to today. NAFTA only made things worse, and there’s a reason for the negative connotations of the term “Banana Republic.” The same people who won’t buy a “conflict diamond” or eat a veal chop will happily cut up a banana for their bowl of Cheerios. I know I will, and politics be damned.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are few things which are fun to say out loud as the phrase “Deadly Nightshade,” and the Tomato or Solanum lycopersicum is a member of the family. It’s regarded as a fruit, but in reality it’s another berry. The Conquistadors counted the Tomato as one of their many captured treasures after the conquest of the Mexica or Aztec Capital City of Tenochtitlan in 1521. The English word tomato hails from the Spanish word “tomate” which was lifted from the Nahuatl (the mesoamerican language) word tomatl. The Spaniards carried the plant around their empire, distributing it globally. It ended up all over the Mediterranean, and again it was the Arabs who first embraced the crop. Europeans were always uneasy about the deadly nightshade thing.

The Medici’s were growing tomatoes in 1548, over in Florence, Italy. For the fancy types, tomatoes were ornamental props and not for consumption as they grew too low to the ground. For the peasants – then as now, you eat what you can afford to eat. Mangiare.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just about everything you’ve seen in Monday’s, and today’s, posts were basically harvested from the food stuffs which Our Lady of the Pentacle and I normally keep on hand here at HQ. There were a few other options, incidentally – potatoes come to mind, but I was particularly keen on the sliced fruit (or berries) stuff, given their complex internal structures.

As mentioned earlier these shots were produced using a complicated setup on my countertop – a stage if you will, which was also harvested from stuff I had laying around. The transluscent stand was a plastic container with a slot cut into it for the strobe, and there’s also a flashlight or two gaff taped to table top tripods and a basic photographic “umbrella” light involved as well. The camera is wearing a flashgun as well, set to its lowest setting for some fill light, but its main job was to actuate the slave strobe that’s stuck under the subject to provide back light. So, there you are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Finally, a shot of my life savings.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 11, 2016 at 11:00 am

thinking thus

with 4 comments

Something a little different, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor, committed in the dark of night, has seen a humble narrator hunched over the kitchen counter with an array of tripods, flashes, and lights. This week’s “project” has involved me using an older camera, which has a fairly decent macro lens function, to get up close and personal with a variety of foodstuffs. The joke I’ve shared with Our Lady of the Pentacle is that I’m trying to produce a series of images you might encounter framed on the wall of a juice bar.

It’s all terribly complicated – this sort of thing – and requires a bit of prep. The red onion pictured above had a pretty powerful flash gun firing at full power under a transluscent “stage” in a darkened room, with my goal being the visualization of the internal structure of the vegetable.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I actually like Broccoli, if it’s prepared and cooked correctly, but I realize that this sub genus of the cabbage family is not to everyone’s taste. Raw Broccoli is nasty, but it photographs nicely from a few centimeters away. This one didn’t involve any fancy technique, just a bit of lighting. The hard part about photographing something like this is that fresh Broccoli is purple and green at the same time, and subtly iridescent.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A navel orange, cut into a quarter inch thick slice, deployed on the aforementioned transluscent stage with the flash gun beneath it and the lens placed about a centimeter from the focal plane. Again, the internal structure of the thing was what I was going for.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hunting around in the refrigerator, I grabbed a jar of Smuckers Strawberry Jam and carefully threaded the lens into the neck of the jar, after placing it on the aforementioned setup. The blast of light traveling upwards towards the camera rendered the jam transparent, and you can see all the little shards of fruit in the syrupy goo. The light refracted into the glass of the jar, rendering out a trippy series of visual artifacts which pleased my eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back to the Broccoli, this time with an orangish rim light applied. The orange light is something I’ve mentioned in the past, part of my “ghetto lighting” rig. A pill bottle gaff taped to a strong flashlight, it provides a soft warm fill light which contrasts nicely with the purples and greens, IMHO.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Another slice of that Navel Orange on the stage and “under flash” setup, this one was cut a bit thicker and transected several of the fruit’s internal sections. I also hit this one with a secondary “on camera flash,” set to its lowest power setting, in pursuance of getting just a bit of the surface texture in addition to the internal structure of the multitudinous juice sacks.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, Photowalk, Pickman

Tagged with , ,

anytime, anywhere

with 7 comments

A few shots from last week’s blizzard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given a humble narrator’s legendary vulnerability to cold, as you might have guessed, I spent most of the blizzard last Saturday firmly ensconced in the steam heated walls of Newtown Pentacle HQ in Astoria. I did venture outside during the afternoon to visit the bodega across the street for breakfast cereals, I like a bowl of Cheerios with a banana cut into it, and to vouchsafe a bar of chocolate for Our Lady of the Pentacle.

When venturing into the cold waste, I discovered that at least one Chinese restaurant was open, and offering delivery services. Early bird gets the worm and all that, but… Jaysis.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were those who had decided to try and motor about, this was before the Mayor banned automotive traffic, but they were soundly rebuffed by road conditions. It was actually kind of difficult just to crack out a couple of exposures due to wind blown snow, which tended to “spot” the lens, let alone cross the street.

Luckily, most of the neighbors didn’t attempt to drive, and the streets were eerily quiet hereabouts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The only thing you saw much of were Municipal vehicles like the ambulance pictured above. One neat thing was that everyone in the neighborhood was given the opportunity to recognize the undercover vehicles which the 114th pct utilizes after the Mayor’s ban on travel was enacted.

After 2:30 p.m., anything you saw on Broadway was basically “blue” or “red.” Or Green, Orange, and a White in the case of the sanitation guys.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having purchased my Cheerios and Chocolate, I began to scuttle back towards home, and one of the hundreds of plow trucks operated by DSNY rolled by. The annual Astoria problem has begun again, incidentally. As happened last year, and the year before – recycling pickup was cancelled due to Martin Luther King day. Recycling in my neighborhood is Sunday night’s problem, so it is up to us to store the stuff in anticipation of the following weekend. Now, we’ve got a blizzard’s worth of snow, so recycling pickup is again postponed till next week.

Last year, a series of similar cold weather events and legal holidays pushed the storage of the entire month of January’s recycling trash until well past President’s day in February.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in HQ, and with no intentions of leaving the place, one nevertheless used the fortuitous positioning of the building relative to the prevailing wind in pursuance of a few shots in the evening. As you’ll recall, this is when the storm really got rolling. I set up a tripod and all my night shooting gear, but in the end elected to use low light techniques for the shots.

The long exposure methodology effectively eliminated the falling snow from the shots, and since I wanted to have a “truer” record of the event – I went for high ISO and a faster shutter speed to capture the drifting snowflakes. As is always the case, getting the color temperature of the light was critical, and for the new LED street lights that’s 4300 Kelvin.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Got to hand it to the neighbors, they were fighting this storm while it was at full force and attempting to keep their cars from being completely buried in the drifts. The different technologies of street lighting which were discussed a couple of weeks ago – the old school orange yellow sodium lights versus the new school led blue colored lights can be discerned in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The new school LED’s actually performed quite well during the storm, I would add.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The buildup of a shelf of snow on my window sill while shooting inspired me to shove a couple of flashlights into it and get a macro shot of the translucent accumulation. These lights are part of what I call my “ghetto lighting” rig. Ghetto as in I have zero funds for real lighting and therefore have been forced to jury rig a set, which given my normal shooting habits – needs to easily portable. The warm light and blue light are formed by identical and quite powerful LED flash lights which can pump out an amazing 300 Lumens and are powered by just 3 AAA batteries each. That’s actually kind of amazing, but I’m a flashlight geek, and will jump up and down if you say “Cree.”

The warmer light is created by the flashlight having an old pill bottle gaff taped to its head.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

continuous system

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Holiday pretty pictures, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Long Island Railroad crossing Borden Avenue in LIC in the shot above, which was captured around ten years ago. I take a lot of pictures of trains, mind you, but the one above remains one of my favorites. It’s number 401, btw.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Number 420 was observed at the Sunnyside Yards’s Harold Interlocking not too long ago, and funnily enough it was smoking up. If you don’t get the joke, just google 420 for what it means to our inebriated friends.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

411 doesn’t just provide directory assistance, it also transits from the Hunters Point yard in LIC to the Hunters Point stop at the southern end of the Sunnsyide Yards – the only place in the entire 183 square acre rail yard where you can actually board a train.

Back Monday with some slightly more substantive content, and may all your Friday’s be black.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

been decreed

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Scenes from the lugubrious Newtown Creek, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One had to go to Greenpoint to talk to a guy about a thing, recently. The guy in question was my colleague from Newtown Creek Alliance, Will Elkins, and the thing was to pick up some flyers he had printed up for the OHNY Plank Road event we conducted last weekend. We met at the North Brooklyn Boat Club location in Greenpoint’s DUPBO (Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp) neighborhood, and soon I found myself catching a ride with him in a medium sized row boat – outfitted with an electric motor – plying the waters of Newtown Creek.

We were heading for the so called “Unnamed Canal” which is analogous to the intersection of Kingsland Avenue and North Henry Street, which sits alongside a relict DSNY marine waste transfer station. That’s where NCA’s “Living Dock” project is underway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the electric engine slowly but surely propelled us along, the FDNY’s “BATT” SAFE Boat (Callsign: WDG3982) appeared behind us. The SAFE Boat platform has been discussed numerous times at this – your Newtown Pentacle – over the years. It utilizes the “weapons platform” concept which has been in vogue in military circles for the last couple of decades, which dictates that you create a single superstructure which can accomplish a variety of basic missions and then customize it to the particular occupation of the user. The NYPD carry towing equipment, the FDNY has water monitors (nozzles that shoot water or foam), and the Coast Guard mounts M60 machine guns to them.

This creates an economy of scale for the procurement of basic replacement parts like screws and engine bits, and creates a large number of trained mechanics who can easily find employment based on their familiarity with the design. The SAFE Boats come in small, medium, and large. The BATT is of the “response boat small” type.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By all appearances, the BATT was on patrol. It’s officially designated as a “Law Enforcement” vessel everywhere that I checked. Above, the BATT is depicted as proceeding eastward along the Newtown Creek, with LIC’s M1 industrial zone and the SimsMetal Newtown Creek Dock as a backdrop. Presumptively, they were on a regular patrol. It’s likely that this unit is based at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, although there are other Marine unit bases to the north where it might hail from.

As a note, I forgot to take the flyers from Mr. Elkins after returning to land and after having walked to Greenpoint from Astoria to get them. This is one of the many reasons that a humble narrator can best be described as an idiot.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

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