The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Bridge

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

from Hells Gate, loosed upon the world

with 6 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Friday of memorial day weekend, your humble narrator stumbled into the wilds of Astoria, headed for Astoria Park. Astoria Park is at the western end of Queens, and adjoins the East River, hosting parts of both the mighty Triboro Bridge and the sublime exemplar of bridge engineering called Hellgate. Named for the section of the East River it crosses, Hellgate was my intended destination and subject, and I was hoping for some visually interesting rail traffic to be crossing the great bridge. Frustrated by a gray and humid day, the Acela and other Amtrak traffic was observed, as well as a curious CSX double engine. Then…

from nycgovparks.org

Astoria Park, on the west shore of Queens, extends from south of the Triborough Bridge to north of the Hell Gate Bridge. With a panoramic view of the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan in the south to the Hell Gate channel in the north, the scenery presents the diverse landscape of New York City. The Hell Gate channel, formed by faults deep underground, contains some of the deepest water in New York Harbor. Its treacherous reefs bear picturesque names such as “Hen and Chickens,” “Pot Rock,” “Bread & Cheese,” and “Bald Headed Billy.”

Throughout the centuries the stunning natural beauty of this location has attracted visitors and settlers. Before the arrival of European colonists, a trail passed by the site, and an Indian village flourished at Pot Cove. Local inhabitants grew maize on the shores, fished in Hell Gate, and drew water from Linden Brook, a small stream that still flows under Astoria Park South. In the mid-1600s the Dutch parceled out this land to various owners, including William Hallet whose grant embraced hundreds of acres. During the American Revolution, several British and Hessian regiments were stationed in the area. On November 25, 1780 the frigate Hussar and its five-million-dollar cargo sank to the bottom of Hell Gate, where despite some removal of cannons, the treasure still remains.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve become pretty familiar with NY Harbor in the last year, and can identify some of the common types of ships that cross its waters. Every now and then, however, a mysterious craft- an unidentified floating object or UFO if you will- crosses in front of me. Proceeding south, this catamaran (actually a trimaran) was nearly devoid of markings- which is remarkable in itself- and moving at a tremendous clip. Its “colorway” and hull shape instantly said “military” to me, but I could not recognize its specie.

from wikipedia

The first trimarans were built by indigenous Polynesians almost 4,000 years ago, and much of the current terminology is inherited from them. Multihull sailboats (catamarans and trimarans) gained favor during the 1960s and 1970s. Modern recreational trimarans are rooted in the same homebuilt tradition as other multihulls but there are also a number of production models on the market. A number of trimarans in the 19–36-foot lengths (5.8–11 m) have been designed over the last 30 years to be accommodated on a road trailer. These include the original Farrier – Corsair folding trimarans – and original John Westell swing-wing folding trimaran (using the same folding system later adopted also on Quorning Dragonfly) and like trimarans. Many sailboat designers have also designed demountable trimarans that are able to be trailered (like the SeaCart 30 by Oceanlake Marine).

The trimaran design is also becoming more widespread as a passenger ferry. In 2005 the 127-metre trimaran (417 ft) Benchijigua Express was delivered by Austal to Spanish ferry operator Fred. Olsen, S.A. for service in the Canary Islands. Capable of carrying 1,280 passengers and 340 cars, or equivalents, at speeds up to 40 knots, this boat was the longest aluminum ship in the world at the time of delivery. The trimaran concept has also been considered for modern warships. The RV Triton was commissioned by British defence contractor QinetiQ in 2000. In October 2005, the United States Navy commissioned for evaluation the construction of a General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) trimaran designed and built by Austal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Evocative, as on one hand it resembled a radar dodging stealth aircraft for the odd angles and aerodynamic shape, on the other it suggested a modern combat tank with its armor designed to deflect rather than defeat ballistic weapons.

The ship, nevertheless, was kicking up a huge wake and was shooting water behind it- some 10-20 feet high- as it rocketed down the East River.

from wikipedia

The littoral zone refers to that part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, which is rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. It always includes this intertidal zone and is often used to mean the same as the intertidal zone. However, the meaning of “littoral zone” can extend well beyond the intertidal zone.

There is no single definition. What is regarded as the full extent of the littoral zone, and the way the littoral zone is divided into subregions, varies in different contexts (lakes and rivers have their own definitions). The use of the term also varies from one part of the world to another, and between different disciplines. For example, military commanders speak of the littoral in ways that are quite different from marine biologists.

The adjacency of water gives a number of distinctive characteristics to littoral regions. The erosive power of water results in particular types of landforms, such as sand dunes, and estuaries. The natural movement of the littoral along the coast is called the littoral drift. Biologically, the ready availability of water enables a greater variety of plant and animal life, and the additional local humidity due to evaporation usually creates a microclimate supporting unique types of organisms.

The word “littoral” is used both as a noun and an adjective. It derives from the Latin noun litus, litoris, meaning “shore”. (The doubled ‘t’ is a late medieval innovation and the word is sometimes seen in the more classical-looking spelling ‘litoral’.)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “colorway” and camouflage of the craft suggested that the futurists of Britain still have modern adherents, long after the last of the “dazzle ships” were launched.

For those of you not in the know, the Dazzle Ships were an experiment in “breaking up the shape” of large combat vessels against the horizon, an attempt to reduce the visual profile of capital ships and reduce the ability of submariners to target vital areas of said ships. Dazzle works best at distance, which is what modern naval combat is all about.

from wikipedia

At first glance Dazzle seems unlikely camouflage, drawing attention to the ship rather than hiding it, but this technique was developed after the Allied Navies were unable to develop effective means to disguise ships in all weather.

Dazzle did not conceal the ship but made it difficult for the enemy to estimate its type, size, speed and heading. The idea was to disrupt the visual rangefinders used for naval artillery. Its purpose was confusion rather than concealment. An observer would find it difficult to know exactly whether the stern or the bow is in view; and it would be equally difficult to estimate whether the observed vessel is moving towards or away from the observer’s position.

Rangefinders were based on the co-incidence principle with an optical mechanism, operated by a human to compute the range. The operator adjusted the mechanism until two half-images of the target lined up in a complete picture. Dazzle was intended to make that hard because clashing patterns looked abnormal even when the two halves were aligned. This became more important when submarine periscopes included similar rangefinders. As an additional feature, the dazzle pattern usually included a false bow wave to make estimation of the ship’s speed difficult.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, my computer was down for the holiday weekend, but Our Lady of the Pentacle allowed me to use her laptop and I managed to get a few of these images out to that clandestine and anonymous network of maritime enthusiasts and quasi governmental experts who advise, comment, or offer corrections to your Newtown Pentacle. Credit for identifying this craft goes out to them, and I wish that they would allow me to sing praise publicly, but certain conflicts of interest or oaths of secrecy demand that they must always be referred to as “anonymous sources”. In this case, the ultimate sources will be referred to as Daidalos and Icaros (hey, it is Astoria Park).

from wikipedia

It is in images, not in texts that Daedalus is seen with wings; many Greek myths appear to have been invented to make sense of known but inexplicable images. The most familiar literary telling explaining Daedalus’ wings is a late one, that of Ovid: in his Metamorphoses (VIII:183-235) Daedalus was shut up in a tower to prevent his knowledge of his Labyrinth from spreading to the public. He could not leave Crete by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being carefully searched. Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He tied feathers together, from smallest to largest so as to form an increasing surface. The larger ones he secured with thread and the smaller with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird. When the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found himself buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner, and taught him how to fly. When both were prepared for flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Daidalos was actually stumped when the photos arrived, and neither of us could make any sense of the only marking- a string of tiny numbers on the hull- of this unidentified floating object. High flying, Icaros received the shots from the latter, and contacted high ranking members of a certain governmental entity. This entity- let’s just say that they have lots of boats and planes, and boats that are airports, and boats that carry nuclear missiles and stay underwater for months at a time, and a lot of the people who work for it wear white dress uniforms– claimed the ship as theirs!

from wikipedia

From the time of its inception, the military played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged out of the victorious Barbary Wars, as well as the War of 1812. Even so, the Founders were suspicious of a permanent military force and not until the outbreak of World War II did a large standing army become officially established.

The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the onset of the Cold War, created the modern U.S. military framework; the Act merged previously Cabinet-level Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (renamed the Department of Defense in 1949), headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and National Security Council.

The U.S. military is one of the largest militaries in terms of number of personnel. It draws its manpower from a large pool of volunteers; although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1972. As of 2010, the United States spends about $692 billion annually to fund its military forces, constituting approximately 43 percent of world military expenditures. The U.S. armed forces as a whole possess large quantities of advanced and powerful equipment, which gives them significant capabilities in both defense and power projection.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What you have just seen, lords and ladies, shooting down the East River at high speed was described as a (JHSV) Joint High Speed Vessel.

A JHSV can comfortably carry 300 fully armed MARINES, or up to 600 in a pinch. Alternatively, it can move multiple main battle tanks- the astounding M1 Abrams. Just so you understand, 600 is near the low end of Battalion strength, and 600 U.S. Marines could probably claim a beachhead in Hell itself if they were asked to. It also has a landing pad for a helicoptor.

This ship is huge… but a helicoptor pad?

from navy.mil

Description

The JHSV program is procuring high-speed transport vessels for the Army and the Navy. These vessels will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. The JHSV program merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel (TSV) and the Navy High Speed Connector (HSC), taking advantage of the inherent commonality between the two programs.

JHSV will be capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ships will be capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations.

JHSV is a commercial-design, non-combatant transport vessel, and does not require the development of any new technology. JHSV is being built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) High Speed Naval Craft Guide. Systems onboard will be based on commercial ABS steel vessel rules. As such, it does not require the survivability and ability to sustain damage like the LCS. It has no combat system capability and no ability to support or use LCS mission modules. It will leverage non-developmental or commercial technology that is modified to suit military applications. Select military features include Aviation; Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and (Military) Intelligence; and Firefighting for the Mission Bay. NVR does not apply to any part of JHSV.

As a non-combatant sealift ship, the Navy variant of JHSV will be crewed by civilian mariners, either employed by or under contract to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. U.S. Army vessels will be crewed by Army craft masters. Both versions will require a crew of approximately 22-40 people, but will have airline style seating for more than 300 embarked forces and fixed berthing for approximately 100 more.

  • Primary Function: The JHSV Program will provide high speed, shallow draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army.
  • Builder: Austal USA
  • Propulsion: Water Jet
  • Length: 103 Meters (338 feet)
  • Beam: 28.5 meters (93.5 feet)
  • Displacement: 600 short tons
  • Draft: < 15 feet (4.57 meters)
  • Speed: 35-40 knots
  • Range: 1,200 nautical miles
  • Crew: 22-40 civilian mariners/U.S. Army craft masters
  • Homeport: No homeport – construction has yet to begin.
  • However… This is not a JHSV!!!

    This here is the M80 Stiletto.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Check out this video at youtube which explains the Stiletto’s potential in great detail, and supplies 3D animation for operational scenarios.

    from defenseindustrydaily.com

    With the formal roll-out of the 88-foot Stiletto stealth ship and its cutting-edge “M-Hull” wave-damping design, that legacy takes another step forward. The Stiletto is part of Project WolfPac, which aims to test new concepts of shallow-water and riverine warfare organized around swarms of smaller, affordable ships linked by communications. The Stiletto can slip into shallow waters, launching inflatable boats and even UAVs while serving as a communications hub via its “electronic keel.” Best of all, the M-Hull significantly reduces the pounding its occupants take from waves – poundings that often result in back injuries that cut careers short, or leave sailors with lingering disabilities in later life.

    and from wikipedia

    The 88-foot (27 m) long vessel has a notable hull design, an M-shaped hull that provides a stable yet fast platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment or weapons, or for conducting special operations. The hull design does not require foils or lifting devices to achieve a smooth ride at high speeds in rough conditions. Its shallow draft means the M80 Stiletto can operate in littoral and riverine environments and potentially allows for beach landings.

    The M80 Stiletto is equipped with four Caterpillar, Inc. C32 1232 kW (1652 HP) engines yielding a top speed in excess of 50 knots (90 km/h) and a range of 500 nautical miles (900 km) when fully loaded. It can be outfitted with jet drives for shallow water operations and beaching.

    It has a topside flight deck for launching and retrieving UAVs and a rear ramp that can launch and recover an 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat (RIB) or Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

    It weighs 45 tons unloaded, light enough that it can be hoisted onto a cargo ship, while still able to carry up to 20 tons of cargo in the 1,996 square feet (200 m2) of usable interior space. The ship is 88.6 feet (27.0 m) in length, with a width of 40 feet (12 m) and a height of 18.5 feet (5.6 m), yet has a draft of only 2.5 feet (0.8 m).

    The M80 Stiletto is the largest U.S. naval vessel built using carbon-fiber composite and epoxy building techniques, which yields a very light but strong hull. The prototype M80 Stiletto is expected to be in use in less than one year. Ships are expected to cost between $6 and $10 million

    Madison Avenue Bridge Centennial

    with 3 comments

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The last of the bridge centennial parades was held on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. The Madison Avenue Bridge spans the Harlem River and connects Manhattan with the Bronx.

    from wikipedia

    The Madison Avenue Bridge crosses the Harlem River connecting Madison Avenue in Manhattan with East 138th Street in the Bronx in New York City. The bridge is operated and maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation. It was designed by Alfred P. Boller and built in 1910 to replace and double the capacity of another earlier swing bridge dating from 1884.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    It rained, at this parade.

    from nycroads.com

    The Madison Avenue Bridge, which today is maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), provides two lanes of eastbound and two lanes of westbound traffic between Manhattan and the Bronx. On the Bronx approach, the bridge directly connects to the Major Deegan Expressway (at EXIT 3). On the Manhattan approach, motorists must take side streets to connect to the Harlem River Drive. According to the NYCDOT, the bridge carries approximately 45,000 vehicles per day (AADT).

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    American Bridge Company? That was J.P. Morgan, wasn’t it?

    from wikipedia

    The Harlem River is a navigable tidal strait in New York City, USA that flows 8 miles (13 km) between the Hudson River and the East River, separating the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Part of the current course of the Harlem River is the Harlem River Ship Canal, which runs somewhat south of the former course of the river, isolating a small portion of Manhattan (Marble Hill) on the Bronx side of the river.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The indomitable DOT crew that provided electricity and made sure that tents were in place to shield the dignitaries and speakers from the weather. Notice their high visibility safety gear.

    from wikipedia

    The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT or DOT) is responsible for the management of much of New York City’s transportation infrastructure. Janette Sadik-Khan is the current Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, and was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on April 27, 2007.

    The department’s responsibilities include day-to-day maintenance of the city’s streets, highways, bridges and sidewalks. The Department of Transportation is also responsible for installing and maintaining the city’s street signs, traffic signals and street lights. The DOT supervises street resurfacing, pothole repair, parking meter installation and maintenance, and the management of a citywide network of municipal parking facilities. The DOT also operates the Staten Island Ferry.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The bridge itself is a rather straightforward swing bridge, with trusses and box girders forming the superstructure for the busy roadway.

    from wikipedia

    Harlem stretches from the East River west to the Hudson River between 155th Street; where it meets Washington Heights—to a ragged border along the south. Central Harlem begins at 110th Street, at the northern boundary of Central Park; Spanish Harlem extends east Harlem’s boundaries south to 96th Street, while in the west it begins north of Upper West Side, which gives an irregular border west of Morningside Avenue. Harlem’s boundaries have changed over the years; as Ralph Ellison observed: “Wherever Negroes live uptown is considered Harlem.”

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Two young fellows opened a large box and revealed this cake. As soon as I saw it, I knew what must happen next, for I know a secret about politicians…

    from wikipedia

    Cake is a form of food that is usually sweet and often baked. Cakes normally combine some kind of flour, a sweetening agent (commonly sugar), a binding agent (generally egg, though gluten or starch are often used by lacto-vegetarians and vegans), fats (usually butter, shortening, or margarine, although a fruit purée such as applesauce is sometimes substituted to avoid using fat), a liquid (milk, water or fruit juice), flavors and some form of leavening agent (such as yeast or baking powder), though many cakes lack these ingredients and instead rely on air bubbles in the dough to expand and cause the cake to rise. Cake is often frosted with buttercream or marzipan, and finished with piped borders and crystallized fruit.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    All Politicians love cakes and cameras, and are magnetically attracted to them from wherever they may be in the city.

    from wikipedia

    To balance local authority along with the centralization of government, the Office of Borough President was established with a functional administrative role derived by having a vote on the New York City Board of Estimate, which was responsible for creating and approving the city’s budget and proposals for land use. The Board of Estimate consisted of the Mayor, the Comptroller and the President of the New York City Council, each of whom were elected citywide and had two votes, and the five Borough presidents, each having one vote.

    In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris (489 U.S. 688) declared the New York City Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that the city’s most populous borough (Brooklyn) had no greater effective representation on the board than the city’s least populous borough (Staten Island), this arrangement being an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court’s 1964 “one man, one vote” decision.

    The city charter was revised in 1990 and the Board of Estimate was abolished. The Office of Borough President was retained but with greatly reduced power. The borough budget reverted to the mayor or the New York City Council. A Borough President has a small discretionary budget to spend on projects within the borough. The last significant power of the borough presidents — to appoint a member of the New York City Board of Education — was abolished, with the board, on June 30, 2002.

    The two major remaining appointments of a Borough President are one member of the city Planning Commission and one member of the Panel for Educational Policy. Borough Presidents generally adopt specific projects to promote while in office; but, since 1990, Borough Presidents have been seen mainly as the ceremonial leaders of their boroughs. Officially, they advise the Mayor on issues relating to each borough, comment on all land-use items in their borough, advocate borough needs in the annual municipal budget process, appoint Community Boards, chair the Borough Boards, and serve as ex officio members of various boards and committees They generally act as advocates of their boroughs at the mayoral agencies, the city council, the New York State government, public corporations and private businesses.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Borough President of Manhattan Scott Stringer arrived first, and seemed pleased with the confection.

    from wikipedia

    Scott Stringer (born 1960) is a New York Democratic politician and the current Borough President of Manhattan. His mother, Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, is a cousin of Bella Abzug and served on the New York City Council. Stringer grew up in the Washington Heights/Lower Inwood neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, attended Manhattan public schools and graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In 1983, he became a legislative assistant to Assemblyman, and future Congressman, Jerrold Nadler. During these years, he supported Democratic candidates such as Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1992, Stringer ran for Nadler’s Assembly seat representing the Upper West Side when Nadler replaced deceased Congressman Ted Weiss.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. arrived in a nearly simultaneous fashion, and the two exchanged pleasantries- while eyeing the pastry.

    from wikipedia

    Ruben Diaz, Jr. (born April 26, 1973) is a Democratic Party politician from the Bronx in New York City, and the son of New York State Senator Rubén Díaz.

    Diaz became the Bronx Borough President in April 2009 after representing the 85th Assembly District in the New York State Assembly. When first elected in 1996 he became, at age 23, the youngest member of the New York State Legislature since Theodore Roosevelt.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The two BP’s electrified the crowd of well wishers, reporters, and invited guests. Diaz also maintained a certain vigil on the cake.

    from wikipedia

    On February 18, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr. to the position of Director of the White House Office on Urban Affairs.

    When Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a special election to choose his successor,[64] Diaz was considered the leading candidate for the position of Bronx Borough President.

    The special election was held on April 21, 2009. Diaz defeated Republican Party candidate Anthony Ribustello by an overwhelming 87% of the vote, to become the 13th Borough President of the Bronx.

    On July 1, 2009 Diaz appointed Delores Fernandez to the reconstituted New York City Board of Education. Fernandez is anticipated to be the sole member of the Board that will have a perspective independent of mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    Diaz ended his first summer as borough president by recommending that the New York City Council reject Related Companies’ proposal to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall. In an editorial in the New York Daily News, Diaz wrote he is “fighting to make sure that this development includes ‘living wage’ jobs that offer health insurance.” Related’s proposal is still going through the city’s review process.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The ceremonies began with the national anthem as sung by members of (I believe) the Choir Academy of Harlem.

    from wikipedia

    Samuel I. Schwartz, a.k.a. Gridlock Sam, is one of the leading transportation engineers in the United States, and is widely believed to be the man responsible for popularizing the phrase gridlock. Educated at Brooklyn College and the University of Pennsylvania, he originally worked as a cabbie. He eventually held the second-in-command post of Deputy Commissioner in New York City’s transportation department for many years and now operates as a private consultant. One of Gridlock Sam’s newest developments is that of a plan to enhance truck traffic along the Detroit-Windsor border. Today he gives advice in his own column in New York City’s Daily News. He answers questions by mail and alerts readers about traffic patterns.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Master of ceremonies Sam Schwartz.

    from gridlocksam.com

    Some thirty-seven years ago I began my professional career as a New York City taxi driver. This provided basic training for maneuvering through the city’s streets. Though trained in science, I switched majors to transportation engineering in graduate school. I thought I would save the subways, but the Transit Authority wouldn’t offer me a job. I ended up as a junior engineer at the old Traffic Department.

    Initially I worked developing neighborhood one-way plans but soon I was moved to “Special Projects”. John Lindsay was mayor and proposed many innovative and bold schemes to reduce traffic in Midtown. I spent a lot of time on these plans, working with an old-time traffic engineer named Roy Cottam. One day, Roy spoke of his fears if we closed the streets in the Theater District, the grid system would “lock-up” and all traffic would grind to a halt. Soon we simply juxtaposed the word, and the term gridlock was born.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    There was a general feeling of happiness, despite the wet and cold. Of course, we were all under the tent.

    from nycbridges100.org

    In the spring of 2007, a group of civic minded individuals realized that several of New York City’s bridges were approaching their 100th anniversary. In order to commemorate the significance of these magnificent spans and their role in making New York City the greatest metropolis in the world, the group formed the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission, a 501 (c) 3 corporation.

    The aim of the Commission is to promote the 100th year anniversary of six historic New York City bridges, to educate the public about the bridges’ role in the life of the city, to encourage respect for the history of New York City; to heighten the public’s awareness of the City’s infrastructure and the need to maintain it; and to stimulate the interest of the public in celebrating the centennial of these six bridges.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Out of nowhere, the Kevin C. Kane, NYFD Marine 6 appeared.

    from limarc.org

    Kevin C. Kane, N2MEI, was a New York City Firefighter, and a member of LI-MARC. Early on the morning of September 12, 1991, Kevin responded with Engine Com-pany 236 to a fire in at an abandoned apartment house in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Despite the knowledge that there might not be enough hose to reach all parts of the house, Kevin and his fellow firefighters entered the building in search of victims. Shortly thereafter, a section of burning ceiling fell on Kevin. Despite the frantic efforts of his colleagues, they were not able to reach him. Eventually he managed to jump from a window, into the bucket of a fire truck. Having been burned over most of his body, he died the next day. In his honor, The NYFD named a fireboat The Kevin C. Kane, and created the Kevin C. Kane Medal for bravery.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The kids from the Harry S Truman High School band, and I mean all of them, were just jumping with personality and enthusiasm.

    from wikipedia

    Marching band is a sport consisting of a group of instrumental musicians and usually dance teams / color guard who generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching (and possibly onto other movements) with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments. Most marching bands use some kind of uniform (often of a military style) that include the school or organization’s name or symbol, shakos, pith helmets, feather plumes, gloves, and sometimes gauntlets, sashes, and/or capes.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Suddenly, all the spectators were looking south while I was looking west.

    from wikipedia

    Harry S. Truman High School is a public high school at 750 Baychester Avenue, in the Bronx, New York City, United States. The school is designated as an Empowerment School by the New York City Department of Education, which allows it more autonomy in choosing a curriculum.

    Truman High School is one of the remaining large high schools in the Bronx that has not been broken up into a number of small schools. This trend which has been popular in the city has seen South Bronx High School, Evander Childs High School as well as Roosevelt High School split into a number of smaller schools that are still located in the same building.

    Truman High is located in the Co-op City section of the Bronx, yet many of the students commute to school from areas as far away as the South Bronx.

    The size of Truman High School (over 3000 students) does give it the benefit of having many sports programs and extracurricular activities.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Marine 6 was starting its own performance.

    from wikipedia

    Types of Apparatus:

    MARINE or Fireboat is a specialized boat outfitted specifically for firefighting capabilities. Its responsibilities include suppression of all fires that occur on water, such as boat fires, pier fires, etc. A Marine Unit also assists land based companies with securing a water supply, as they have the ability to “draft” water from the rivers they operate in.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Red and blue colorant is added to two of the firehoses…

    from wikipedia

    The first bridge on this site was constructed by the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1841. It was composed of four 90-foot (27 m)-long box truss spans, three of which were fixed iron spans, while the remaining span was a wooden swing span. In the closed position, the bridge had a clearance of only seven feet above mean high water. Masonry piers supported the four box-truss spans.

    In 1867, the wooden drawbridge was replaced with an iron one that gave a clearance of fifty feet. It was very busy. By the 1880s, the bridge was crossed by more than 200 trains a day.

    The bridge was soon made obsolete by heavy traffic and dredging of the Harlem River Ship Canal. Alfred P. Boller worked with the railroad to create a new four-tracked swing bridge. The railroad and the city split the cost.

    The new bridge was built in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers’ project to build the Harlem River Ship Canal. The Park Avenue railroad viaduct was also extended north of 115th Street at the same time. While the bridge was being built, a temporary bridge was built and the old span was demolished.

    When the new bridge was finished, it had a 300-foot (91 m)-long steel truss span supported by masonry piers. The new span had a vertical clearance of 25 feet (7.6 m).

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    … and a patriotic display is manufactured.

    from nycroads.com

    During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Park Avenue Railroad Bridge passed through the hands of several financially ailing railroads, ranging from the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to the Penn Central Railroad. Today, the lift span is operated by the MTA Metro-North passenger railroad.

    Recently, the MTA Metro-North Railroad announced a $10 million project to rehabilitate the Park Avenue Railroad Bridge. The bridge control, power and lift systems are now beyond their useful life, and will not be replaced. Instead, the project will remove the moveable elements of the bridge (such as the wire rope and counterweight), and will rehabilitate the foundation. The MTA Metro-North Railroad currently is seeking approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to make this a fixed bridge in order to minimize the cost of rehabilitation.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The announcement was made that the rest of the ceremony would be kicking off “Bronx Week”, so the entire crowd began to lurch toward the Bronx shoreline.

    from wikipedia

    In a marching band or a drum & bugle corps, the colorguard is a non-musical section that provides additional visual aspects to the performance. The marching band and colorguard performance generally takes place on a football field while the colorguard interprets the music that the marching band or drum & bugle corps is playing via the synchronized spinning of flags, sabres, rifles, or through dance. The color guard uses different colors and styles of flags to enhance the visual effect of the marching band as a whole. The number of members in a colorguard can vary- some only having a few members while others may have 41 or more. Within the band, colorguard is often referred to as flagline or simply guard.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The Truman kids led the march off the Madison Avenue Bridge toward the Bronx side.

    from wikipedia

    The size and composition of a marching band can vary greatly. Some bands have fewer than twenty members, and some have over 500. American marching bands vary considerably in their instrumentation. Some bands omit some or all woodwinds, but it is not uncommon to see piccolos, flutes, clarinets, alto saxophones, and tenor saxophones. E♭ clarinets, alto clarinets, bass clarinets, and baritone saxophones are less common, but can be found in some bands. Bassoons and oboes are very seldom found on a field due to the risk of incidental damage, the impracticality of marching with an exposed double reed, and high sensitivity to weather.

    The brass section usually includes trumpets or cornets, mellophones or E♭ alto horns (instead of horns), tenor trombones, baritone horns or euphoniums, and Tubas or sousaphones. E♭soprano cornets are sometimes used to supplement or replace the high woodwinds. Some especially large bands use flugelhorns and bass trombones.

    Marching percussion (often referred to as the drumline, battery, or back battery) typically includes snare drums, tenor drums, bass drums, and cymbals and are responsible for keeping tempo for the band. All of these instruments have been adapted for mobile, outdoor use. Marching versions of the glockenspiel (bells), xylophone, and marimba are also rarely used by some ensembles. Historically, the percussion section also employed mounted timpani that featured manual controls.

    For bands that include a front ensemble (also known as the pit or auxiliary percussion), stationary instrumentation may include orchestral percussion such as timpani, tambourines, maracas, cowbells, congas, wood blocks, marimbas, xylophones, bongos, vibraphones, timbales, claves, guiros, and chimes or tubular bells,concert bass drums, and gongs, as well as a multitude of auxiliary percussion equipment. Drum sets, purpose-built drum racks, and other mounted instruments are also placed here. Until the advent of the pit in the early 1980s, many of these instruments were actually carried on the field by marching percussionists by hand or on mounting brackets. Some bands also include electronic instruments such as synthesizers, electric guitars, and bass guitar, along with the requisite amplification. If double-reed or string instruments are used, they are usually placed here, but even this usage is very rare due to their relative fragility. Unusual percussive instruments are sometimes used, including brake drums, empty propane tanks, trashcans, railroad ties, stomping rigs, and other interesting sounds.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Word went around that refreshments could be found, and other entertainments offered, upon our arrival in Deegan Rock Park.

    from wikipedia

    For parades, bands usually line up in a marching block composed of ranks (rows) and files (columns). Typically, each member tries to stay within his or her given rank and file, and to maintain even spacing with neighboring musicians. It is usually the responsibility of the people at the end of each rank and the front of each file to be in the correct location; this allows other band members to guide to them.

    Band members also try to keep a constant pace or step size while marching in parade. This usually varies between 22 and 30 inches (56–76 cm) per stride. A step size of 22.5 inches is called 8-to-5 because the marcher covers five yards (about 4.6 m) in eight steps. A step size of 30 inches is called 6-to-5 because five yards are covered in six steps. Because yard lines on an American football field are five yards apart, exact 8-to-5 and 6-to-5 steps are most useful for field shows.

    A drum cadence (sometimes called a walkbeat or street beat) is usually played when the band is marching, sometimes alternating with a song. This is how the band keeps time. Alternately, a drum click or rim shot may be given on the odd beats to keep the band in step. Between songs and cadences, a roll is usually given to indicate what beat in the measure the band is at. Cadence tempo varies from group to group, but is generally between 112 and 144 beats per minute.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The band played on, as the crowd crossed safely over the flow of Harlem River.

    from wikipedia

    A musical instrument is constructed or used for the purpose of making the sounds of music. In principle, anything that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the beginnings of human culture. The academic study of musical instruments is called organology.

    The date and origin of the first device of disputed status as a musical instrument dates back as far as 67,000 years old; artifacts commonly accepted to be early flutes date back as far as about 37,000 years old. However, most historians believe determining a specific time of musical instrument invention to be impossible due to the subjectivity of the definition.

    Musical instruments developed independently in many populated regions of the world. However, contact among civilizations resulted in the rapid spread and adaptation of most instruments in places far from their origin. By the Middle Ages, instruments from Mesopotamia could be found in the Malay Archipelago and Europeans were playing instruments from North Africa. Development in the Americas occurred at a slower pace, but cultures of North, Central, and South America shared musical instruments.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Apparently, the syncopated footsteps of marching bands cause bridge engineers no small amount of worry, but the sturdy old girl didn’t shake a bit.

    from wikipedia

    The Bronx is divided by the Bronx River into a hillier section in the west, closer to Manhattan, and the flatter East Bronx, closer to Long Island. The West Bronx was annexed to New York City (then largely confined to Manhattan) in 1874, and the areas east of the Bronx River in 1895. The Bronx first assumed a distinct legal identity when it became a borough of Greater New York in 1898. Bronx County, with the same boundaries as the borough, was separated from New York County (afterwards coextensive with the Borough of Manhattan) as of January 1, 1914. Although the Bronx is the third-most-densely-populated county in the U.S., about a quarter of its area is open space, including Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo in the borough’s north and center, on land deliberately reserved in the late 19th century as urban development progressed northwards and eastwards from Manhattan with the building of roads, bridges and railways.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Word was that the cake had already been transported down to Deegan Rock Park, and somehow- Diaz knew it.

    from wikipedia

    In 1997, the Bronx was designated an All America City by the National Civic League, signifying its comeback from the decline of the 1970s. In 2006, The New York Times reported that “construction cranes have become the borough’s new visual metaphor, replacing the window decals of the 1980s in which pictures of potted plants and drawn curtains were placed in the windows of abandoned buildings.” The borough has experienced substantial new building construction since 2002. Between 2002 and June 2007, 33,687 new units of housing were built or were under way and $4.8 billion has been invested in new housing. In the first six months of 2007 alone total investment in new residential development was $965 million and 5,187 residential units were scheduled to be completed. Much of the new development is springing up in formerly vacant lots across the South Bronx.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Other Bronx politicos also eagerly followed the charms of the baked goods.

    from ilovethebronx.com

    Saturday, May 15th through Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

    Throughout Bronx Week, residents of the Bronx and visitors from the tri-state region come together to celebrate the people, places, history and businesses of the Bronx. Outdoor performances, trolley tours, health fairs, a salute to volunteers and business workshops are just some of the events in store.

    The grand finale is on Sunday, May 23rd, when famous sons and daughters of the borough will return home for induction to the Bronx Walk of Fame on the Grand Concourse, followed by our annual Parade, Food & Art Festival and Concert on Mosholu Parkway.

    Bronx Week is the ideal time to remind all New Yorkers that The Bronx is a great place to live, work and play.  Don’t Miss The Fun!

    For more information on fun Bronx Week events happening in our borough, check back with us using our Bronx Week Calendar page or call 718.590.BRONX

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The lady who was holding this sign was chided by your humble narrator for hiding her face. That was the Madison Avenue Bridge Centennial Parade.

    from nypost.com

    Bronx Week 2010 kicked off yesterday, May 12, but fear not — all you’ve missed so far was a press conference.

    This year’s festive celebration of the borough will include 22 events in only 12 days and culminate in a busy, exciting Grand Finale on Sunday, May 23.

    “This time we have organized even more events, while keeping the traditional ones, to celebrate the beauty, culture, talent and development of our neighborhoods,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “No Bronxite should stay home during these many days full of activities.”

    Doris Quiñones, executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, said that this year, for the first time, Bronx Week has been moved up one month earlier.

    “We moved it from June to May to make it easier for schools to participate,” she said. “Eighty schools are already scheduled to march in the parade on Sunday, May 23.”

    That day is the Grand Finale, which is the big culmination of Bronx Week. In addition to the parade, which starts at noon on Mosholu Parkway, that night will be the famous Bronx Ball, at which the borough’s best and brightest show up in formal attire to dance the night away. This year the ball is under a huge tent at Orchard Beach at 6 p.m. and, as in the past, will have a red carpet, Bronx high school cheerleaders, and will kick off when Borough President Diaz honors a special few.

    Circumnavigation 3

    with one comment

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Hailing from the Brooklyn neighborhoods of first Flatbush, then Flatlands and Canarsie, my driving into “the City” habits always focused on the red haired step child of the Brooklyn Bridge- the Manhattan Bridge- which was the next great structure that the Circle Line passed.

    from wikipedia

    The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan (at Canal Street) with Brooklyn (at Flatbush Avenue Extension) on Long Island. It was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges. The bridge was opened to traffic on December 31, 1909 and was designed by Leon Moisseiff, who later designed the infamous original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that opened and collapsed in 1940. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level (split between two roadways). The lower level has three lanes, four subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway. The upper level, originally used for streetcars, has two lanes in each direction, and the lower level is one-way and has three lanes in peak direction. It once carried New York State Route 27 and later was planned to carry Interstate 478. No tolls are charged for motor vehicles to use the Manhattan Bridge.

    The original pedestrian walkway on the south side of the bridge was reopened after forty years in June 2001.[3] It was also used by bicycles until late summer 2004, when a dedicated bicycle path was opened on the north side of the bridge, and again in 2007 while the bike lane was used for truck access during repairs to the lower motor roadway.

    Main span: 1,470 ft (448 m)

    Length of suspension cables: 3224 ft (983 m)

    Total length: 6,855 ft (2,089 m)

    The neighborhood near the bridge on the Brooklyn side, once known as Fulton Landing has been gentrified and is called DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

    To celebrate the bridge’s centennial anniversary, a series of events and exhibits were organized by the New York City Bridge Centennial Commission in October 2009. These included a ceremonial parade across the Manhattan Bridge on the morning of October 4th and a fireworks display in the evening. In 2009, the bridge was also designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Your humble narrator was honored to serve as a Bridge Parade Marshall for the aforementioned Centennial Parade, and attended the Landmarking ceremony on March 5th.

    Here’s the Newtown Pentacle Posts on the Centennial Parade on October 4th-

    Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 1

    Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 2

    Manhattan Bridge Centennial Parade 3

    Here’s the NP post on the Ceremony in March- Exhausted

    And for my personal take on the Manhattan Bridge- DUMBO… or missing my Dad

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Beneath the Bridge, small clots of citizenry were cleaning the shoreline of wind blown refuse and whatever washed up out of the East River over the long and severe winter that New York endured in 2010. It was Earth Day eve, after all.

    I wish I could point you to a link about this effort, but the Brooklyn Blogosphere is an impenetrable fortress of noise and self importance which defies even the might of Google. If anybody associated with this effort is reading this, please fill the rest of us in on the particulars.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Moving north, ever north, midtown Manhattan’s iconic Chrysler Building rises behind the recently upgraded East River Station cogeneration power plant at 14th street and Ave. D.

    from newyork.construction.com

    The East River Generating Station, one of Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc.’s largest and most significant combined-cycle power stations, will be repowered by Slattery Skanska and its subsidiary Gottlieb Skanska.

    Located on the east side of Lower Manhattan, the 43,000-sq.-ft. facility produces electricity and steam for homes and businesses throughout New York City. The project was completed May 2004.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    I still owe you, lords and ladies, a proper workup of the Williamsburg bridge. I’m still collecting material research and photography for this posting, so don’t expect it anytime soon. One of my summer projects is “The Grand Walk”, which will start in Manhattan and follow Grand Ave. through Williamsburg and Greenpoint, across the Grand Ave. Bridge into Queens and onto (former Grand Avenue) 30th avenue through Astoria to Hallet’s Cove. An open call for experts on the various phases of the route is being made, by the way, and hopefully I can get a few of you to come along for the first Newtown Pentacle meetup and photowalk at the end of the summer. Bring ID, and a camera.

    from wikipedia

    Construction on the bridge, the second to cross this river, began in 1896, with Leffert L. Buck as chief engineer, Henry Hornbostel as architect and Holton D. Robinson as assistant engineer, and the bridge opened on December 19, 1903 at a cost of $24,200,000. At the time it was constructed, the Williamsburg Bridge set the record for the longest suspension bridge span on Earth. The record fell in 1924, when the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed.

    hungry ghosts

    with 2 comments

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    On a recent sunlit afternoon, the Hermetic Hungarian ventured forth from the Shining City once again. Recovered from a spell of bad dreams which our recent visit to the Grand Ave. Bridge- with all its loathsome implications- had awakened in him, the studied recluse announced that a new digital camera was in his possession which needed a test drive. Always an atavist and luddite, the Hermetic Hungarian (HH from this point on) had already decided that it was inferior to the chemical emulsion process of image capture- film- which he has spent much time mastering.

    This, like the Mac vs. PC debate, is a conversation that your humble narrator does not wish to have anymore.

    from wikipedia

    Operating system advocacy is the practice of attempting to increase the awareness and improve the perception of a computer operating system. The motivation behind this may be to increase the number of users of a system, to assert the superiority of one choice over another or out of brand loyalty, pride in an operating system’s abilities, or to persuade software vendors to port specific applications or device drivers to the platform.

    Operating system advocacy can vary widely in tone and form, from published comparisons to heated debates on mailing lists and other forums. In its most extreme forms it can veer into zealotry. Advocates are often normal users who devote their spare time to advocacy of their operating system of choice; many have a deep and abiding interest in the use, design and construction of operating systems and an emotional investment in their favourite operating system.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Allow me to lift the curtain for this post- and talk shop.

    Once upon a time, in the brash days of youth, I too shot film. I carried a Yashica FX3 fully manual, 1984 vintage camera, which I still have. Unfortunately, the cost of the film itself and the consequent expense of development and printing cramped my urge to shoot and shoot. For years, I had a goofy point and shoot 35mm camera, which has long disappeared into gadget heaven. When the Canon Elph’s first came out, I was hooked on digital and haven’t looked back since. Yes, the recording medium of film is capable of capturing and storing FAR more information than a digital shot can- even today. But- as I’ve mentioned in the past- I work in the advertising industry.

    from nycgovparks.org

    Astoria Park, on the west shore of Queens, extends from south of the Triborough Bridge to north of the Hell Gate Bridge. With a panoramic view of the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan in the south to the Hell Gate channel in the north, the scenery presents the diverse landscape of New York City. The Hell Gate channel, formed by faults deep underground, contains some of the deepest water in New York Harbor. Its treacherous reefs bear picturesque names such as “Hen and Chickens,” “Pot Rock,” “Bread & Cheese,” and “Bald Headed Billy.”

    Throughout the centuries the stunning natural beauty of this location has attracted visitors and settlers. Before the arrival of European colonists, a trail passed by the site, and an Indian village flourished at Pot Cove. Local inhabitants grew maize on the shores, fished in Hell Gate, and drew water from Linden Brook, a small stream that still flows under Astoria Park South. In the mid-1600s the Dutch parceled out this land to various owners, including William Hallet whose grant embraced hundreds of acres. During the American Revolution, several British and Hessian regiments were stationed in the area. On November 25, 1780 the frigate Hussar and its five-million-dollar cargo sank to the bottom of Hell Gate, where despite some removal of cannons, the treasure still remains.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    What used to happen when a photo entered the agency was that a medium or large format “chrome”- which is a sort of giant slide- would be handed off from photographer to agency (and still does, sometimes). This chrome would then be photostat reproduced (in the very old days) and it’s “for position only or F.P.O.” representation would be worked into a mechanical board so that the printer would understand where to place it or “strip it in”. When the Macintosh came along, the chrome would instead be scanned, at first by highly specialized devices called drum scanners and later by advanced versions of tabletop scanners.

    The digital scan actually matters more than the original at this moment, and the tipping point from film to digital was reached when the ad agencies began requesting digital files from their photographers.

    from omh.state.ny.us

    Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, a maximum security hospital of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), opened in 1985 and provides secure treatment and evaluation for the forensic patients and courts of New York City and Long Island. Most patients are received through the courts under Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) or through the OMH Commissioner’s office via the New York State Code of Rules and Regulations (NYSCRR) regarding hospitalization of the mentally ill.

    Treatment is provided in accordance with the current standards of professional care outlined by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Organizations (JCAHO) and is carried out with respect for each patient’s privacy and rights, in agreement with his/her level of functioning and need for security. KFPC has an active staff education program as well as academic affiliations with several metropolitan area colleges and universities, to help assure quality treatment and state of the art care.

    and from wikipedia

    The Manhattan Psychiatric Center is a New York-state run psychiatric hospital on 125th Street on Ward’s Island in New York City. As of 2009 it had 509 beds. The current building is 14-stories tall.

    The hospital’s roots date to 1848 when Ward’s Island was designated the reception area for immigrants. Some additional structures were originally part of Blackwell’s Island Lunatic Asylum, which opened around 1863.

    The building was significantly enlarged in 1871, and a Kirkbride Plan style building was built. After the immigration entry shifted to Ellis Island in 1892 the state took it over from Manhattan in 1899 and expanded it even further. At the time, it had 4,400 beds and was the largest psychiatric hospital in the world.

    At the time it was one of two psychiatric hospitals for residents of Manhattan that had been take over by the state. The other psychiatric hospital would become the Central Islip Psychiatric Center in Central Islip, New York. Both hospitals were referred to as Manhattan State Hospital.

    It later became the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. The facility is currently run by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Its taken the camera companies a while to catch up with the desktops, but they’re getting close- the high end Canons, for instance, do 25.3 megapixel shots (which I’ve retouched and let me say that these are well wrought images).

    My current cameras- the Canon G10 and Canon T1i both hit 15 megapixels, giving me ample detail and clarity. I’ve got fairly quick SDHC cards in them, which allows burst shooting, and at any given time I’m ready to pop off a couple of thousand exposures. The batteries in both are rechargeable, and once the photos are copied to my desktop- the cards are formatted and used over and over. Film never offered me this kind of freedom to just shoot and shoot.

    from wirednewyork.com

    The massive beauty and advanced technology of the Hell Gate Bridge (more properly the New York Connecting Railroad Bridge) contrast sharply with nineteenth-century descriptions of the channel that it spans. Named for the dangerous rocks and perilous waters at the confluence of the East and the Harlem Rivers, Hell Gate is surrounded by Manhattan, Queens, and three islands: Wards, Randalls, and Roosevelt (formerly called Blackwell’s, then Welfare). Philip Hone (1780 -1851), writing of an 1844 visit there, described “the delightful scene: the clumps of fine old trees clothed in the gorgeous foliage of autumn, the lawn still bright and green, the mild, refreshing breeze, the rapid waters of Hell Gate covered with sailing vessels and steamboats -all combined to present a picture of consummate beauty.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    HH, however, feels limited by digital- as do other “old school” photographers encountered during my long walks through and around the Newtown Pentacle. He lugs around a gigantic medium format film camera, which is a best of breed sort of machine. Coney Island Mike, another friend of the Pentacle, also decries the prevailing winds of technological advancement and pines for some 1970’s golden age of film availability and creative darkroom techniques.

    I really do see the point, as mentioned above, film does capture and contain more information than any digital image can- so far.

    from wikipedia

    Construction was overseen by Gustav Lindenthal, whose original design left a gap of 15 feet (4.6 m) between the steel arch and the masonry towers. Fearing that the public assumed that the towers were structurally integral to the bridge, Lindenthal added aesthetic girders between the upper chord of the arch and the towers to make the structure appear more robust. The original plans for the piers on the long approach ramps called for a steel lattice structure. The design was changed to smooth concrete to soothe concerns that asylum inmates on Ward’s and Randall’s islands would climb the piers to escape.

    The engineering was so precise that when the last section of the main span was lifted into place, the final adjustment needed to join everything together was 1⁄2 inches (12.7 mm). The bridge was completed on September 30, 1916.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Back at my day job as photo retoucher and advertising industry print production specialist, however, I can tell you that its the digital file that’s going to the printer- not a piece of film. That makes anything shot in film second generation at best. Of course, many of the images I present here are highly processed- shot in raw format, sharpened or color corrected in photoshop, or produced by esoteric digital sleight of hand like “tilt shifting” or HDR.

    (all the shots in this post are “straight” shots, raw files which were fed through my normal workflow)

    from nycroads.com

    PROVIDING A MUCH-NEEDED RAILROAD CONNECTION: In 1892, Oliver W. Barnes, an engineer associated with Pennsylvania Railroad president Alexander J. Cassatt and bridge designer Gustav Lindenthal, conceived plans for the Hell Gate Bridge. Cassatt saw the Hell Gate project – originally called the “East River Arch Bridge” – as an opportunity to bring rail traffic from Pennsylvania Railroad routes in New Jersey and points west through New York City to New England. The project was to also tie into the Long Island Rail Road routes, in which the Pennsylvania Railroad had a controlling interest. Meanwhile, Lindenthal saw the Hell Gate project as his chance to construct his Hudson River Bridge, a suspension bridge with a 2,800-foot-long main span that would have been the longest in the world. That same year, the New York Connecting Railroad was incorporated to help realize this plan.

    In 1904, Lindenthal, who oversaw the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge and the construction of the ongoing Manhattan Bridge and Queensboro Bridge projects, was chosen as consulting engineer and bridge architect by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which had just acquired the New York Connecting Railroad. Under these auspices, Lindenthal was engaged in a project to connect the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad in New Jersey, the Long Island Rail Road in Queens, and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in the Bronx. Although the project allowed Lindenthal to design the Hell Gate span, it would not include his long-sought goal: a great suspension bridge across the Hudson River. Instead, the Pennsylvania Railroad decided to use exclusive tunnels for rail traffic across the Hudson and East rivers.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    One of the mantras that I’ve followed since my heady days at art school (School of Visual Arts) where I studied Illustration and Comic Book art is that you don’t need to use expensive mediums to make a good image. In accordance, my friends and I used to draw comics on brown paper bags or whatever other commonplace material we could procure. Later on in life, I will admit to the occasional red sable brush purchase, but by and large most of my “kit” came from staples and I’ve done comic cover art that was colored with Crayola Markers in the past.

    I try to follow this philosophy with photography, which is the greatest way to spend money- short of crack addiction- that America has ever found.

    from wikipedia

    On June 15, 1904, the General Slocum caught fire and burned to the waterline in New York’s East River. At the time of the accident she was on a chartered run carrying members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (German Americans from Little Germany, Manhattan) to a church picnic. An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board were killed. The General Slocum disaster was the New York area’s worst disaster in terms of loss of life until the September 11, 2001 attacks.[2] The events surrounding the General Slocum fire have appeared in a number of books, plays and movies through the years.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Fantasies about radio triggers and tripods that cost more than my first car bounce in my head, and I fiend for trick and ultra wide angle lenses. I pore over the BH Photo catalog in the manner of a fetishist, but it’s just camera pornography to me. I can barely afford to feed my little dog Zuzu these days, and Our Lady of the Pentacle has suggested homespun garments for next winter. HH however, insists that no digital camera he’s yet found suits him. I suggested either a Canon G10 or G11 to him, or if portability was a consideration- the very attractive Canon S90.

    from wikipedia

    Amtrak is no longer required by law, but is encouraged, to operate a national route system.[ Amtrak has some presence in all of the 48 contiguous states except Wyoming and South Dakota. Service on the Northeast Corridor, between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., as well as between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is powered by overhead wires; for the rest of the system, diesel locomotives are used. Routes vary widely in frequency of service, from three trips weekly on the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles, California, to New Orleans, Louisiana), to weekday service several times per hour on the Northeast Corridor, (New York City to Washington, D.C.) Amtrak also operates a captive bus service, Thruway Motorcoach, which provides connections to train routes.

    The most popular and heavily used services are those running on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which include the Acela Express, and Northeast Regional. The NEC serves Boston, Massachusetts; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and many communities between. The NEC services accounted for 10.0 million of Amtrak’s 25.7 million passengers in fiscal year 2007. Regional services in California, subsidized by the California Department of Transportation are the most popular services outside of the NEC and the only other services boasting over one million passengers per annum. The Pacific Surfliner, Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin services accounted for a combined 5.0 million passengers in fiscal year 2007.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    These shots, of course, were accomplished with my increasingly trusty DSLR- the Canon T1i, but the vast majority of photos you’ve endured at this blog have emanated from the Canon G10. The S90 is functionally a G10 with a smaller lens and form factor, will be dramatically discounted around Christmas, and HH ordered one to try out. That’s how we ended up in Astoria Park. Originally, we planned on walking the Triborough Bridge, but last minute information reached me that the Bridge has a series of “Photography Prohibited” signs posted and we decided that it just wasn’t worth the potential hassles with the law.

    That’s what the eggheads call a “chilling effect on civil liberties” in action, by the way.

    from railroad.net

    As a retired TBTA sgt, I can definetly state that photography IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN on all bridges & tunnels operated by that agency. This edict has been in effect for many years, but it was not strictly enforced before 9/11/01. It is now. Signs prohibiting “filming” are, (and have been all along) posted at all facilities. Summonses can, & usually will be issued (criminal court “C’ summonses) to filmers/videotapers who are seen “filming” on TBTA property (mainly bridges, tunnels and toll plazas, but also in other areas under control of the TBTA).

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    Over the course of an hour or so, your humble narrator cracked out a couple of hundred exposures, a few of which were good enough to “show”. HH shot 22. I had mine “developed” and online within 48 hours (I was busy) and HH waited a full week for his transparencies to be shipped to him. Are HH’s shots superior to mine? I still don’t know, because he hasn’t managed to scan them yet. I’m not mocking him, nor deriding film, just stating that immediacy is a selling point for me as well.

    As a good American, I crave and demand instant satisfaction, sometimes for urges I don’t know I have yet.

    from wikipedia

    Ward’s Island is situated in the East River in New York City. Administratively it is part of the borough of Manhattan. It is bridged by rail to the borough of Queens by the Hell Gate Bridge and it is joined to Randall’s Island to the north by landfill. The two Islands together are run by the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation under a partnership agreement with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Together, the two islands form New York County’s Census Tract 240, which had a total population of 1,386 living on 2.2 km² of land area, according to the United States Census, 2000.

    Viaducts leading to the Robert F. Kennedy Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate bridges pass overhead. Vehicular access is by the Little Hell Gate bridge from Randall’s Island, while a narrow pedestrian and bicycling bridge, Ward’s Island Bridge, links the island to the east side of Manhattan in Harlem.

    – photo by Mitch Waxman

    The Hermetic Hungarian of course, feels the least melancholy when surrounded by relict technologies. The upper west side rooms he occupies enjoy shelves of watch making equipment and rare mechanisms which originate in the darkest corners of Europe. His current project is to end time mechanically, freezing the world’s motion by the actions of a vast clockwork which he is assembling in accordance with instructions found on a scroll that might be written in Sanskrit that HH claims were scribed by some mad monk.

    At my insistence, he has not installed a battery or self winding mechanism on the device, so sleep easily, my Lords and Ladies of Newtown.

    from wikipedia

    The Bhavacakra is represented as being held by the jaws, hands, and feet of a fearsome figure who turns the wheel. The exact identity of the figure varies. A common choice for the figure is Yama, the god of death or Kala the lord of time. This figure is also known as the “Face of Glory” or Kirtimukha.

    There is always a figure or symbol in the upper left and the upper right. The exact figure or symbol varies; common examples include the moon, a buddha, or a bodhisattva. In the picture of the Tibetan Bhavacakra in Sera, Lhasa the clouds take the shapes of certain Buddhist symbols, eg. svastika.

    Written by Mitch Waxman

    May 2, 2010 at 1:00 am

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