The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Bridge

self styled

with 2 comments

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

Advertisements

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

nervous motion

with 2 comments

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

with 5 comments

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

with one comment

– 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

leave a comment »

– 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.

time worn

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hundred and twenty nine years ago- on May 30, 1883- 12 people were killed and 35 wounded upon the Brooklyn Bridge in what would best be described as constituting a personal nightmare scenario to your humble narrator. I’ve never liked crowds, and shy away from congested areas where a sudden panic might carry me toward apotheosis randomly. Surely this is born of an experience in racially polarized South Brooklyn back in the early 1980’s when I found myself swept in the surge of a small race riot while onboard a bus.

from nytimes.com

A woman fell down the wooden steps at the end of the New-York approach to the Brooklyn bridge yesterday afternoon while the pathway was crowded with thousands of men, women, and children walking and passing one another. As she lost her footing another woman screamed, and the throng behind crowded forward so rapidly that those at the top of the steps were pushed over and fell in a heap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Weak, poorly developed physically, and given to panic- a young narrator watched with growing horror as a group of “Cugenes” (slang for Italian kids in my old hood) approached the Bushwick bound B78 bus intent on ferreting out a certain African American youth with whom they had a conflict. The Cugenes come onto the bus swinging, and as tribal affiliations ruled the day- the pushing started. I found myself a helpless and unwilling cork bobbing on a sea of witless hatred, an experience which has stayed with me to this day.

from wikipedia

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.

Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and as the East River Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge, a name from an earlier January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an icon of New York City, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unending nightmares of such situations guide me to this day, and one is quite phobic about being trapped within a crowd without egress or a clear pathway of escape. I think it’s part of the reason that places like Times Square fill me with nameless dread, and I prefer the concrete desolations of the sparsely populated Newtown Creek.

I’m all ‘effed up.

from chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

A terrible disaster occurred yesterday afternoon on tho East River Bridge, by which twelve persons lost their lives and a great many others were injured more or less seriously. While there were no less than 15,000 persons on the Bridge, a blockade was formed on the footpath at the head of a flight of steps nine feet high extending from the masonry above the anchorage to the first iron truss, the same place at which blockades of people have occurred heretofore. A panic followed the pushing and struggling in which men and women tried to free themselves from the crowd. In the midst of this rush, started, it is thought by a gang of roughs, either thoughtlessly or with mischievous intent, several persons were carried over the edge of the steps. They fell on the landing and at the foot of the stairs, ethers stumbled on them, and more than forty persons were trampled underfoot by the panic-stricken multitude.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

mural history

with one comment

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wandering around Calvary Cemetery is often a revelatory experience, and while perambulating through the hallows of Section 9 the other day, the shock of sudden recognition nearly laid me low. While scanning the monolith studded landscape for certain things which cannot be mentioned, the name of one of history’s most famous New Yorkers suddenly appeared before me.

Steve Brodie… The man who jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge and lived to talk about it.

Steve Brodie, photo courtesy Wikipedia

also from wikipedia

Steve Brodie (December 25, 1861 – January 31, 1901) was an American from New York City who claimed to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and survived on July 23, 1886. The resulting publicity from the supposed jump, whose veracity was disputed, gave Brodie publicity, a thriving saloon and a career as an actor.

Brodie’s fame persisted long past his death, with Brodie portrayed in films and with the slang terms “taking a Brodie” and “Brodie” entering the language for “taking a chance” and “suicidal leap.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There weren’t just three major newspapers in 1886, there were hundreds, and the proto “media” ate up Steve Brodie’s story, turning him into a celebrity. From all accounts, Brodie found every advantage offered by fame- opening a swank saloon on the Bowery and starring in a popular play about his exploits.

He would always be known as the “bridge jumper”.

from nytimes.com

A tall, slim man, who looked very much like an overgrown street boy, stood talking to a young woman at the New-York end of the Brooklyn bridge a little after 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon. He bade her good-bye and kissed her.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The scourge of the 19th century was “consumption”, or as we call it “tuberculosis”, and Brodie took ill. Like other “lungers”, it was thought that the dry air of the southwest would aid him in fighting the affliction and he packed off for San Antonio in Texas.

That’s where he died.

from nytimes.com

The body was taken to Calvary Cemetery for burial. A crowd of 500 or 600 men, women, and children, attracted by curiosity remained in the streets during the services at the house, and many of them followed the funeral cortege to Ninety Second Street Ferry on its way to the cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is a real shame that someone has decided to pry the probable white bronze marker from the monument, which would have occurred in the empty oval space directly above the names and dates which remain. Such is the case though, and there are many instances of such theft not just at Calvary but at all the cemeteries which comprise the cemetery belt of western Queens.

It’s pretty low to steal from the dead, in one humble narrators opinion.

An interesting analysis of whether or not Mr. Brodie actually made his jump was published by “The Day” in 1986. Click here for the article by Larry McShane.

Steve Brodie, photo courtesy Wikipedia

ALSO, this Friday:

My own attempt at presenting a cogent narrative and historical journey “up the creek” is up coming as well-

Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly on Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M. for the“Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385 as the “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” is presented to their esteemed group. The club hosts a public meeting, with guests and neighbors welcome, and say that refreshments will be served.

The “Magic Lantern Show” is actually a slideshow, packed with informative text and graphics, wherein we approach and explore the entire Newtown Creek. Every tributary, bridge, and significant spot are examined and illustrated with photography. This virtual tour will be augmented by personal observation and recollection by yours truly, with a question and answer period following.

For those of you who might have seen it last year, the presentation has been streamlined, augmented with new views, and updated with some of the emerging stories about Newtown Creek which have been exclusively reported on at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

For more information, please contact me here.

What: Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show

When: Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M.

Where: Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385

%d bloggers like this: