The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Bridge

leaden coffins

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Monday, it affects us all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Single shots will greet you this week, as a humble narrator plays catch-up and also spends his time exploring and shooting rather than worrying about the weather and delivering posts. Regular posts will resume next week.

Pictured above is the Brooklyn Bridge, as seen from lower Manhattan at night.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm

dusty shelves

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East River in the dark.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was invited to a holiday party in Lower Manhattan the other night, and a humble narrator fairly abhors holiday parties, but the reason I went was to “show my face” and then excuse myself so I could do some shooting. The party was lovely, filled with friends old and new whom I enjoy both working and personal relationships with. Thing is, and I have to remind myself of this periodically, I don’t belong amongst people. Every minute that I’m not out and about shooting is a waste of my time, essentially, but since there is a part of me that could still be considered human you need to “feed the beast” occasionally. Allowing what’s left of my soul a bit of convivial solace and warmth periodically is as necessary as eating meals or pooping, essentially, but when you really get down to it none of that personal stuff matters. Everybody dies, moves away, or just writes you off in the end and all that really matters is the work. Everybody secretly (or not so secretly) hates me anyway, and it’s always a relief for them to see me walking away into the dark.

Accordingly, one bundled up his filthy black overcoat and set off into the nighted streets of the Shining City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The House of Moses is what I call the East River shoreline of lower Manhattan, which in recent years has seen a spartan park appear beneath Robert Moses’ grandiose FDR Drive. My singular superpower is the ability to see through time, which makes the POV in any shots captured along this byway depressing. Once upon, and long ago, this was one of the busiest maritime centers upon the planet, the destination of hundreds of thousand of ships. Today it’s a relic, a waterfront curiosity for lookie loos, and a window into the short term thinking of an era defined by terminologies like “stagflation.”

Pictured above is one of the remaining sandy beaches along the East River, and the only one I know about in this part of Manhattan. I called a couple of people I know who would be able to tell me exactly how many sandy beaches there are on the East River, as a note, but in both cases my call went directly to voicemail. That happens a lot to me these days, which sort of confirms the dire portent and bleak future thing currently embraced by one such as myself.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Manhattan Bridge on the left, and the Brooklyn Bridge on the right in the shot above. For some incomprehensible reason, the FDR Drive framing the shot has recently been painted purple. I’m not quite sure about the choice of coloration, as in why they chose purple, but it’s probably a De Blasio thing (does purple equate to equity, or fairness, or just some other high handed and sanctimonious bullshit?). At least they didn’t use LED lights to saturate the atmosphere with garishly colored lighting.

As a note, it was freaking freezing out when I was shooting these, but the dissolute cold felt welcoming and mirrored that psychological and emotional vacuum which a humble narrator calls life.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm

self styled

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It’s National Pickle Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A variety of obligations and impediments have caused one to come up short on content this week. As is my custom, accordingly, whilst a humble narrator is out perambulating about the great city seeking to ameliorate his shortcomings – single shots which I like for one reason or another will be presented at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Pictured above – a shot of the Brooklyn Bridge as seen from the East River.

Upcoming Tours and events

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

nervous motion

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Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned yesterday, one is taking a short break – hence the singular image which greets you above. Back soon with new stuff.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours and events –

October 7th, 2015
Our Polluted History:
A Non-Toxic & Fascinating Forum on Greenpoint’s Environmental Past panel discussion

with GWAPP, click here for details

October 10th, 2015
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

one night

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A Dark and Stormy night, upon the East River.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, an opportunity to go out for a trip on a Circle Line excursion presented itself. While onboard, Kenneth T. Jackson (The Encyclopedia of New York City) narrated the journey, which first traveled down the Hudson and then proceeded to the tip of Roosevelt Island on the East River before hanging a U-Turn.

I amused myself onboard in accustomed fashion, waving the camera around at points of interest as they were presented. On the return journey, to Circle Line’s Hudson piers, we encountered the Robert Burton tug.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A 1981 vintage boat, currently operated by Norfolk Tug, the Robert Burton’s story is well told at tugboatinformation.com, click here for their page. Her crew was manipulating a fuel barge under the Brooklyn Bridge, amongst the busy chaos of the East River’s ferry and tour boat traffic. My life was complicated by the growing fog, as an infestation of clouds began to descend upon the City, at just about the same time that sunset was meant to happen. Light and photography are complimentary, and an absence of the former precludes the latter.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, there were still a few photons floating about in the blanketing aerosol, and these admittedly grainy shots were captured. Working Harbor Committee is about to kick into its Summer 2014 schedule, by the way, check out the offerings for diversion and enlightenment here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours, and a Magic Lantern show, coming up.

Saturday, May 31st, Plank Road with Newtown Creek Alliance.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Saturday, June 7th, 13 Steps around Dutch Kills with Atlas Obscura.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Wednesday, June 11th, Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show with Brooklyn Brainery.
Click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

scratching restlessly

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently observed, the Gage Paul Thornton moving a fuel barge past Pier 16 in Manhattan, providing some focal point for this week’s “Maritime Sunday”. Picturesque, the spot that the boat is moving through is just loaded with NY iconography, recognizable instantly and impossible to confuse with anywhere else.

from marinesteel.com

Thornton Towing & Transportation is owned by Gerard and Richard Thornton, and Ed Carr; all of whom have spent their entire professional careers working on and around the waters of New York Harbor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s an odd thing, that when pointing a lens at Manhattan these days, it’s hard to find a place to “pin” the location as identifiably “New York City”. Without the Brooklyn Bridge or Empire State Building in the shot, it’s hard to recognize the formerly iconic skyline anymore. Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx still look like NY, but Manhattan has had so much reconstructive and cosmetic surgery that it’s hard to recognize.

another Thornton tug was featured not that long ago at this, your Newtown Pentacle- The Thornton Brothers was seen in the posting “middle stature

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Similar rhinoplasty and silicon injections are in the works for the other boroughs of course, Williamsburg has had a boob job in recent years, and Long Island City has had a facelift and tummy tuck. One hopes that the process will fizzle out before it goes too far and the Bronx starts to look like Bruce Jenner.

Anyway, a hearty Maritime Sunday shout out is sent to the Gage Paul Thornton and her crew.

from dailymail.co.uk

He was a star athlete and American hero when he brought home the gold medal after the 1976 Olympic Games.

But Bruce Jenner today appears to have chiselled away at the masculine features that graced Wheaties boxes decades ago.

The reality star, better known now as Kim Kardashian’s step-father, was barely recognisable from the retro image as he stepped out for a promotional event this weekend, his face looking distinctly tighter than usual.

tangible things

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hanging around the East River side of Lower Manhattan recently, your humble narrator was elated to see the Bouchard Tug “Ellen S. Bouchard” transiting past Governors Island. Such prurient thrills are all that I’m still capable of getting excited about these days, so I whipped out the camera and started shooting.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1982, by Halter Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana (hull #1036) as the Ellen S. Bouchard for Bouchard Transportation of Melville, New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a fuel barge that the tug is managing, and odds would be good that it’s journey began on either the Kill Van Kull or the Port of Newark. It would be foolish to guess where it was headed, except to say that it will drop its cargo off at a distribution center for eventual disposition to end customers via tanker trucks.

from bouchardtransport.com

From his first voyage at eleven years of age as a cabin boy on a sailing ship bound for China, Captain Bouchard knew that shipping would be his life. By 1915, he was the youngest tugboat captain in the Port of New York.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The barge would be carrying something close to the equivalent capacity of fifty standard sized oil trucks, and was accordingly making its way through the narrow East River in a slow and deliberate fashion. Such caution is necessary, as an accidental allision or collision would spell disaster for both natural and unnatural features alike.

from wikipedia

Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc, based in Melville, New York, and founded in 1918, is primarily a family and employee-owned company that provides transportation and logistics services in U.S..

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s something about the sight of Tug passing under the Brooklyn Bridge that causes one to want to buy a slice of pizza or order a bagel with cream cheese and lox and complain about the Mayor or the Yankees. It’s just so “New York”.

from wikipedia

The tugboat is one symbol of New York. Along with its more famous icons of Lady Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge, the sturdy little tugs, once all steam powered, working quietly in the harbor became a sight in the city.

The first hull was the paddler tug Rufus W. King of 1828.

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