The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for the ‘Pulaski Bridge’ Category

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator found himself wandering across the loquacious Newtown Creek, as is often the case, on the Pulaski Bridge. Count Casimir Pulaski, whom the bridge is named for, was a Polish noble and accomplished military man who – after meeting Ben Franklin and Lafayette while exiled in France – joined the Continental Army as a Cavalry General during the American Revolution. Part of Washington’s executive staff, Pulaski died of wounds he received at the Battle of Savannah in 1779.

The 1954 vintage bridge over Newtown Creek, connecting what’s now called McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn with LIC’s 11th street, was a product of Robert Moses’ long tenure as the high lord of transportation spending and construction in NYC. Actual construction of the double bascule draw bridge was accomplished by the Horn Construction Company, with the assistance of Bethlehem Steel and the American Bridge Company. An earlier bridge, connecting Brooklyn’s Manhattan Avenue with LIC’s Vernon Avenue (as it was known back then), was also removed as part of the project.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprisingly well used stair cases rise up on either side of the bridge, allowing pedestrian egress. The pedestrian lanes do indeed flow from on ramp to off ramp, but the stairs are located a lot closer to the center beam of the span. The LIC side stairs are found just south of the Midtown Tunnel and Long Island Rail Road Hunter’s Point yard.

One hasn’t used the Pulaski all that much during Covid times. One of the guiding principals for me during this interval has been the avoidance of other people. Given the increased population density of Hunters Point and Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section that has come with the real estate build out of the last twenty years…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the Greenpoint side, where McGuinness Blvd. slouches roughly downwards towards the waterfront. When the bridge was built, McGuinness Blvd. was created as a double wide “arterial” street designed to carry Brooklyn Queens Expressway bound traffic to Meeker Avenue, where the high speed road has travelled on an overpass since 1939. That overpass leads to another Robert Moses project – the Koscisuzcko Bridge – which leads to his 1940 vintage Long Island Expressway and his 1936 Grand Central Parkway.

It is no accident that the Pulaski and Kosciuszko bridges are named for Polish generals. Instead, it’s good politics, given the enormous community of Polish folks who live or lived in Greenpoint, Maspeth, and LIC’s Blissville.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, how happy is a humble narrator when his pedestrian crossing of the Pulaski Bridge gets interrupted by the double bascule drawbridge opening up to allow a vessel navigating along the fabulous Newtown Creek to pass by below? Everybody else just gets annoyed at the obstacle, I get busy with the camera. Joy.

Luckily, just like at Sunnyside Yards where there’s seemingly an Amtrak employee whose duty revolves around creating and closing holes in the fences, there seems to be an analogous job title at the NYC DOT. Therefore, after getting my open Pulaski shot done, I went over to one of my favorite holes. (That last sentence sounds like a dirty series of sex metaphors, doesn’t it? I wonder… What sex act would be called an “open Pulaski”?)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At my favorite Pulaski hole – which I’m going to ask you to interpret literally – as in it’s a hole in the fence on the Pulaski Bridge – I saw a Long Island Rail Road engine pulling a train… wait… oh… damn it… everything I say is contaminated now…

If you’re nearby the LIRR’s Hunters Point rail yard you really only see trains moving around a couple of times a day, usually in the 2 or 3 hour long intervals known as “rush hour.” The trains leaving this yard cross Borden Avenue and enter the Sunnyside Yards coach yard, where connections to both Eastern Long Island and Manhattan can be accessed. The Long Island City based Hunters Point Yard is where the LIRR parks rolling stock during the day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, since I’m all vaxxed up I’ve been riding the subways again. I’m entertaining myself while waiting for Astoria bound N trains to arrive at Queens Plaza by working on capturing an “iconic” shot of the IRT Flushing line 7 trains entering the station on the high elevated tracks. I’ll be shooting this particular angle for a bit, in all kinds of different weather and at varying times of the day for a bit so there you are.

Funnily enough, when I pulled the camera down from my face I noticed that there was a cop quietly standing on either side of me. There was no encounter with the gendarmerie, but they did follow me onto the N train which I made it a point of riding to the last stop on. When the train rolled into the station I smiled, waved my hand at them, and reversed course.


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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.

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUPBO, or Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, is a section of the fabulous Newtown Creek which I haven’t been paying too much attention to during the pandemic months. It’s a bit more “populated” than I’ve been comfortable being around, what with the homeless colony that’s popped up on the LIC side. There’s several RV’s you’ll notice down there, which a few humans and several rather bark prone doggies are living in, and that violates my goal of going to places where nobody else is. What this city needs is a good…

As you can see, there was a full moon on the night these shots were gathered, with the one above looking due East towards Calvary Cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Pulaski Bridge pictured above, a double bascule drawbridge owned and operated by the NYC DOT. Fundamentally speaking, this section of Newtown Creek isn’t the environmental horror show you encounter further east, rather it’s more akin to the environmental horror show that is the East River. A recent assertion by one of the Superfund Investigatory teams was that there were more “chemicals of concern” entering the Creek in this zone via the East River than from the upland post industrial properties. This, of course, causes me to wonder and ponder whether or not the East River itself should be considered a Superfund site.

When you start peeling a banana, you’re sort of committed to eating the thing, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Hunters Point Yard of the Long Island Railroad, which adjoins the Pulaski, I noticed these work trains sitting and idling. Can’t tell you what they were up to, but it’s likely that track and right of way maintenance was on the dance card.

Back tomorrow with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, August 10th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

inmost mysteries

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DUPBO.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Avoiding population centers as I’ve been, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the DUPBO (Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp) area in Long Island City’s Hunters Point section, preferring the more industrial quarters further east… Blissville, Industrial Maspeth… all of my happy places. Yes, the illegally docked boats are now observed three and sometimes four deep here in DUPBO, bobbing around in Newtown Creek and tied off to trees and fence posts. This activity has largely undone the positive influence of the HarborLab operation on the shoreline, but the only laws which matter are those which are enforced and the powers that be have incongruously looked the other way at this behavior, so…

Live and let live, right? Nothing really matters, ultimately. It’s all just a fiction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things which drew me down here was a rumor of a tent colony having been set up under the Pulaski Bridge, which turned out to be spurious. There are a couple of people living in RV’s down here, one of whom has a particularly enthusiastic dog, but nothing that could qualify as a tent city. Last guy I met living in a tent down here was a veteran, and I helped hook him up with shelter via my pals in the liberal/progressive/socialist conspiratorial gobernemental cabal. They’re so evil, I tell ya.

I often consider starting a blog aimed at the Fox News crowd. Headlines like “Amphibian Genderfluid found in vaccines” or “Evidence of Devil worship in China revealed” are probably too high brow, though. Is “Trans Toad VAX horror” more like it?

Hey, check me out! Hangs out under bridges, starts to troll. Hah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Long Island Railroad usually has an engine sitting nearby and ready to roll with its works active for some reason, and a particularly long in the tooth one greeted me the other night. A maintenance of way tool, EMD MP15AC is what it’s manufacturer (General Motors) would have described it as during the production years of 1974 and 1985. I’m told it’s a “diesel switcher/road-switcher locomotive” which delivers 1,502 HP.

I took a picture of it. There you go.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 25th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


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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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Archive, again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that I still haven’t produced any images worth showing to you in the last few days, today is another post pulling photos from the Newtown Pentacle archives. Luckily, over the years, I’ve been able to put the camera in front of some pretty cool stuff. Pictured above is the Kirby Moran tugboat, navigating through Newark Bay, with the Bayonne Bridge in the background. This was shot while onboard a Working Harbor Committee trip. WHC is a Manhattan based non profit, dedicated to educating the public about the harbor of New York and New Jersey, and one which I’ve worked with for more than a decade as official photographer and occasional tour guide.

I fear that there won’t be any boat excursions in the cards for me this year, which would and will be sorely missed. Being out on the water is a big part of my life during the warm weather months. Honestly, I do not know what I’m going to do with myself on Tuesday or Thursday nights in July and August.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a New York & Atlantic train in the shot above, captured on a Waste Management campus in East Williamsburg last year. I got to ride on the train, and had unusual levels of access to the folks who own and operate the freight service the day this shot was captured. I also got a cool baseball hat with their logo on it which I wear all the time now. NY&A operates mainly on Long Island Railroad’s rights of way, and handle LIRR’S freight duties for Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. Just behind the train is a fence, and just behind the fence is the English Kills tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek.

The context of why I was able to shoot this train, and enjoy access to the site, was due to an invite by the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce offered to myself and several other members of Newtown Creek Alliance – a Brooklyn based non profit dedicated to reveal, restore, and revitalize Newtown Creek. I’ve been NCA’s historian and general tour guide for more than a decade as well, and I’m also a member of the board of directors for the organization.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I see a lot of cool cars when I’m wandering around Brooklyn and Queens, including this cherry Ford Mustang all done up with racing stripes. This particular auto was encountered on the Astoria side of Northern Blvd., which happens to sit within the jurisdiction of Queens Community Board 1, a Governmental body which I was sworn into and joined last year.

I’m currently a member of the Transportation and Environmental Committees, but have made it a point to attend a meeting of every committee CB1 has in order to understand the structure of the organization. The only ones I haven’t attended so far are Public Safety and Health. Saying that, I occasionally sit in on the 114th pct.’s community council meetings.

I’ll definitely be getting out in the dead of night this weekend, wandering through the plagued streets, and gathering some new images for next week. See you then, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, May 11th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates as we move into April and beyond, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

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