The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn

northward pull

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Wednesday, the dusk of the week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One can affirm that the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge is still there, as of last week. A small but double basculed draw bridge which spans the English Kills tributary of the fabled Newtown Creek, Metropolitan Avenue Bridge is 3.1 miles from the East River. You don’t see much in the way of maritime traffic back here, but there’s usually a tug and fuel barge found at the Bayside fuel depot’s bulkheads.

One would advise the curious that the shoreline is crumbling, and you want to be REALLY careful anywhere near the ragged edge of the land if you don’t want to end up immersed in Newtown Creek’s most polluted section. If you’re not being careful, the dice will roll and it’s either going to be X-Man or Liver Cancer for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A couple of old fuel trucks are permanently stationed hereabouts, which endlessly fascinate me with their late 20th century design cues and onboard signage.

The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was dipping behind Manhattan just as I arrived at the bridge, which served as my turnaround point on this particular walk. One does not decide in advance on where the pivot takes place, but it is often considered. That’s the thing about the street grid surrounding Newtown Creek – there’s so many dead ends and cul de sacs, which aren’t a big deal when you’re in a vehicle, but if on foot you need to factor them into your route.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was when I pivoted that the roar of powerful engines was heard. Frankly, I thought that a massive nocturnal bit of construction might be afoot due to the noise which was clearly audible even with my headphones in and Black Sabbath playing. It was approaching the sound levels encountered nearby the helicopter landing pads you encounter on the east side of Manhattan.

More on the tumult tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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

extremely lofty

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Tuesday’s morbid habitations.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looping through the Poison Cauldron of Greenpoint, one was performing his “patrol” function. This is a self appointed duty which sees me walk and survey the entire Newtown Creek about once every quarter. I generally don’t do it all in one go, rather the mileage is non scientifically split up into a series of walks which are scheduled for “when the light is nice” or around specific atmospheric conditions. A recent evening walk occurred right around sunset, and it found me walking from Astoria to LIC whereupon a crossing of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge brought me to Brooklyn. Once in the “land a me bert” an eastern course was adopted.

The particular angle my toes were pointing towards saw my perambulatory pursuit positively pulsating towards the eastern sections of Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A big part of the reason that this particular cauldron is so poisoned, the National Grid company continues to loathsomely squat upon an acquired property which once housed the Brooklyn Union Gas Company’s manufacturing operations. Manufactured gas production is notoriously problematic from an environmental point of view, and one will soon notice that on their enormous property – found between Newtown Creek and Vandervoort Avenue in Greenpoint – that vegetation growth is stunted. What grows on this land, poisoned by heavy metals and esoteric products of the century old gas retorts, doesn’t seem “right.” It’s queer, and not in the good way.

That’s what I was thinking when I spotted a space car parked along the National Grid fenceline.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was either a pickup or suv at the core of this construct. It bore a license plate issued by the state of Montana. I cannot tell you any more, but I’m glad it exists.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2020 at 11:00 am

starfish arms

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Monday’s old familiar places, like DUKBO

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent exertions carried a humble narrator to the poison cauldron of the Newtown Creek, a hopelessly corrupted section of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint shorelines. Petroleum refining, industrial dry cleaning, the manufacture of so called “natural gas,” metals finishing… all have left behind a devil’s brew of exotic cocktails in the soil and ground water hereabout. Modern usage like petroleum and liquor distribution, garbage sorting and handling, warehousing of construction industry supplies are slightly less inimical to environmental harmonies than their forebears. There’s a reason I call this area the Poison Cauldron, after all.

I also refer to it as the Brooklyn side of DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp – where the omnipresent humming of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway carried along the bridge high overhead is inescapable. Nothing like a high volume roadway set into a crowded urban setting, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At some indeterminate time in the near future, a newly constructed park will open beneath the new bridge(s) which promises some fairly interesting photographic opportunity for one such as myself. I’ve been documenting the replacement and transition of the old Kosciuszcko Bridge to the new one since 2010. The minute that the park opens is officially when I’m going to close the cover on that particular file and publish some sort of book on the subject.

It’s been nice to have something to do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, they’re still finishing things up down here, so there’s a lot of interesting things to point the lens at still. I give it about a month after the NYS DOT returns to Albany before the illegal dumping starts up in earnest around here again. I’m told that the hordes of very noisy automobiles which everybody is complaining about have been gathering down here on weekend nights to race and do “fast and furious” sort of things.

One hasn’t scuttled through this particular area in months due to pandemic factors, so when recent opportunity to do so presented itself off I went. I’ve been trying to catch a bit more sunlight these days, as all of my nocturnal activity has resulted in a desultory balance of Vitamin D and I’m as pale as the belly of a dead herring.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 28th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm

triangularly tapering

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Friday is urban bucolia day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marching, endlessly marching, one noticed that a bit of excavation has been performed on the former Mobil oil properties alongside the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This particular piece of American soil has long been owned by some third party, and it’s not a part of the modern properties which ExxonMobil’s tenancy is still extant upon.

Not sure what’s going on here, but I like a good hole, and the construction guys seem to have dug a truly ribald one. Huzzah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ExxonMobil is still working on the remediation of the semi legendary Greenpoint Oil Spill, along with their contractors – called Roux – for this particular situation. They maintain a large property at 400 Kingsland Avenue, which used to be the entrance to the Mobil refinery that operated here until 1966.

Just last year, the team at ExxonMobil invited a group of interested neighborhood people and activists to one of their offices to give us an update on the cleanup efforts, which are coming along nicely according to the their data. There’s a couple of recovery wells which are now bringing up ground water rather than petroleum, but they are still working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on cleaning up the historic mess left behind by their forebears.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One hasn’t spent too much time on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek during the pandemic, given that my walks would have carried me through some rather populated areas that I wanted to avoid.

There’s a window of cautious safety right now, according to my perceptions, that I’m trying to exploit before things get weird again. Things are going to get weird again, and I’m saying by middle to late October probably, by Thanksgiving definitely. Enjoy yourselves while you can.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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

exotic delicacy

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Wednesday? Now you’re talkin…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, occasion found one standing atop a NYC Ferry heading towards Lower Manhattan. Along the way, two Vane tugs were noticed as they moved in opposite directions along the East River. Both were towing fuel barges, and you’ll notice that the background one is riding considerably higher in the water than the foreground one. The one in the background, heading south, had therefore already delivered its cargo, whereas the barge being towed by the Charleston Tug in the foreground is full. Whether the tug is pulling or pushing, it’s called “towing.” It was all very exciting.

I like a good tugboat shot, I do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This senior citizen of the harbor was docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard when the ferry made its stop at the facility.

I ended up taking the subway home from Manhattan for a variety of reasons. Partially it was due to going fairly far afield of the River in pursuit of luncheon, a journey which carried me all the way to East Broadway for some pretty Dyn-O-Mite Chinese food at a sit outside table somewhere in the surviving tenements of the lower east side. Good times, we’re lucky to have them, good times.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was nice being in Manhattan again, for a change. That’s not something I’d normally say, given my antipathy to the place in recent years.

The extant tenements of lower Manhattan, found south east of Bowery and north of the Brooklyn Bridge, absolutely fascinate me. A general wander trough this neighborhood is definitely in the cards for me sometime in the next month. Planning stage, me. I’m going to hit the same Chinese place again for lunch, I think. Tastiest meal I’ve had in months.

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

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, September 21st. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 23, 2020 at 11:00 am

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