The Newtown Pentacle

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Monday Newtowniverians, and a healthy one is wished for all the Brooklynites and Queensicans out there.

Today’s post displays a couple of interesting shots I managed to grab before a meeting held at LaGuardia Community College for the Newtown Creek CAG.

This CAG is a sort of advisory/community group which has formed up around the edges of the EPA Superfund project. The CAG is a requirement for EPA, and they periodically convene a meeting to inform us about their activities and overall status of the process.


A Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG) is made up of members of the community and is designed to serve as the focal point for the exchange of information among the local community and EPA, the State regulatory agency, and other pertinent Federal agencies involved in cleanup of the Superfund site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In this meeting, during which a presentation from the NYC DEP was offered describing a forthcoming dredging project on Newtown Creek, discussion of various issues surrounding the Superfund project between Federal officials and community representatives was offered. Everyone else in the room was a lettered professional or community leader or of high professional caliber, representing every conceivable office, power, and potentate involved in the Newtown Creek story.

Then there’s me, who kept on having his attention drift over to the Sunnyside Yard and the fantastic views of it at rush hour which I wasn’t photographing.


Newtown Creek CAG membership is structured on a rolling basis. The Superfund process on Newtown Creek will take many years, and interested stakeholders are encouraged to become CAG members as they learn of and want to fully participate in the process.

The CAG is designed to serve as an ongoing vehicle for information-sharing, discussion, and, where possible, consensus-building regarding decision-making related to the Newtown Creek Superfund Site. Its members represent a diverse cross-section of key stakeholder interests, including affected property owners, concerned residents, local governments, community groups, environmental groups, health experts, the business community, and others as appropriate. Requirements and responsibilities for CAG members are described in the CAG’s Operating Procedures, posted in the Resources tab.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An odd duck, even after all these years, it is so strange to think that someone like me is even allowed in the building let alone invited to participate and offer both questions for correct answering and contribute direct observations of obscure places being discussed. The folks at EPA have shared some of their early findings, which have greatly excited the scientific minded and fired the imaginations of those who imagine a “greener” city. Check out the CAG site for details.


“out of your depth”- meaning: in water that is so deep that it goes over your head when you are standing: I’m not a strong swimmer so I prefer not to go out of my depth.

harnessed shadows

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

To begin with, you will be hard pressed to find someone who is a bigger supporter of the efforts of the NYPD than your humble narrator. Vast physical inadequacies and a timorous constitution render one a “victim waiting to happen” and the presence and oversight of the gendarme is the only reason that you haven’t heard about finding my corpse lying in the street somewhere, as we live in a community cursed with predators and a criminal element which threatens all. Saying that, I recently attended a meeting of the 114th pct. community council here in Astoria, and one of the speakers was a representative of the “Anti Terror” squad. I have long been a proponent of the single truth of a “Terror War” which is that the side which most scares the shit out of the other is the one who wins. Apparently, the other guys have the upper hand at the moment, as we continue to be a reactionary and terrified opponent given to wild flights of fancy about the capabilities enjoyed by the enemy- including the deadly martial art of photography.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This unit is tasked with subverting and detecting terrorist plots, gathering intelligence on “bad actors”, and performing a role few would ask for. The representative who spoke at this meeting, however, informed the community that should they witness- for example, someone taking photographs of bridges or other “odd” things- that they should call the police and report it as suspicious behavior. After his statement was concluded, the Lieutenant was suddenly faced with an odd mendicant named Mitch who confronted him on this. I asked “Did you actually just tell the room that photography is a precursor to terrorism”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I let the Lieutenant know that I ran a blog, and was speaking to him in the manner of a journalist. “Other than the fact that there is no documented evidence of this, and that google maps would actually be a far more effective tool to scout a potential target than sending out an operative with a dslr, there are specific orders curtailing the harassment of photographers issued by Chief Kelly” I continued. Then, I asked him about the glaring lack of security and holes in the fences around the Sunnyside Yard and the energy infrastructure around Newtown Creek. I asked about the boats tied off to the Buckeye pipeline at Vernon Blvd. street end, the ferry boat on English Kills, and several other choice spots for undocumented and uncommented deviltry to occur. Additionally, did he know that there are websites which claim that anyone can find a free berth on Newtown Creek and that boats regularly show up there these days from unknown points carrying who knows what? I had to remind him where Newtown Creek and the largest rail yard in New York City was, as he seemed rather focused on Manhattan.

Also- Upcoming Newtown Creek tours and events:

for an expanded description of the October 20th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

for more information on the October 27th Newtown Creek Boat Tour, click here

for more information on the November 9th Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show, click here

for an expanded description of the November 11th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

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