The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn

great purgation

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Greenpoint, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in prior posts, I have no idea as to how the medallion yellow taxi people are going to survive CoronAmerica. They were taking a real beating from the ride share business, as well as predatory financial speculators, before all this started. Here on Provost Street, nearby a taxi company’s HQ, there are hundreds and hundreds of these normally busy vehicles just sitting idle. At a similar facility closer to home in LIC, I noticed that many of the cabs had their medallions removed from the bonnet or hood plate, no doubt for safekeeping or possibly to oblige some obscure regulation.

One didn’t intend to spend much time here in Brooklyn, I was just looping through Greenpoint and circumnavigating the sewer plant on my way back to Queens after walking over the Pulaski Bridge. Incidentally, they’ve changed the name of the sewer plant again. It’s now the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. Accordingly, from now on I’m just going to refer to it as “the sewer plant in Greenpoint” or something similar. Can you imagine being the person who answers the phone at someplace called “Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Supply lines,” that’s what I was thinking while grabbing a shot of this semi tractor trailer truck parked opposite the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The “human factor” of our supply lines is something I worry about all the time. You can offer a long haul trucker all the money in the world to make a run, but he’s still going to have to convince his wife that it’s worth the risk for making the run into NYC. Our Lady of the Pentacle is British, and she receives a series of worried missives from friends and family overseas whenever a news report airs describing the center of the pandemic as being in Queens and literally two subway stops away from where we reside. The lurid newscasts are presenting us living in a war zone, here in the City. Can’t imagine how the rest of the country is reacting towards all of our bad news, and “supply chain” or “trucker’s wife” wise, what the effect of that will be.

Will our supply of Soy Milk be interrupted?

The truck carries the corporate branding of a company called Sunland Distribution, a Florida based company specialized in temperature controlled shipping.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued back towards Astoria, marching across the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge into LIC’s Blissville section. There seems to be a bit of bulkhead reconstruction going on at what was once part of the Mobil refinery on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek. ExxonMobil still maintains an operation or two just up the Creek from here, which are dedicated to operations revolving around the recovery of the Greenpoint Oil Spill.

More of the outside world 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 end of the week of Monday, April 6th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.


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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.

minor operations

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Up on the Pulaski Bridge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was desirous of capturing the current Empire State Building lighting display, meant to honor the efforts of First Responders and Medical Staff during the CoronAmerica crisis, so a longish walk was embarked upon. Well, longish by the current standard… I ain’t exactly walking to Red Hook right now, if you know what I’m saying. One kept to the shadows, walking in a westerly direction from Astoria along streets and byways which are unpopulated during normal times, and soon found myself shlepping and scuttling up the Pulaski’s pedestrian path, connecting Jackson Avenue and 11th street in Long Island City with McGuinness Blvd. and Freeman Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Annoyingly, new construction in LIC has obscured the view of the Empire State from one of the normal “stations of the cross” which I’ve been visiting for better than a decade, but I managed to get my shot nevertheless.

I wouldn’t mind all of this new construction so much if it was at all visually interesting, or didn’t embrace the banal at every opportunity. Seriously, you invest tens of millions in waterfront development and what you build is another soulless glass box? How’s about a rhombus, maybe? A cone, or cylinder, perhaps?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek hasn’t dried up or been filled in during the quarantine, which is good news for me. The shot above looks north, towards LIC, along the pathway of the double bascule Pulaski Bridge and its bridge house. When all of this is over, I have got to find a way to get inside of that bridge house and take some photos. I’m fairly curious about the “works” within. I know who to call.

Despite the aforementioned quarantine, there were a substantial number of automobiles crossing the Pulaski, although bicycle and pedestrian traffic was virtually non existent. It was difficult to find a thirty second interval during which to actuate the camera without a passing truck or suv rattling the bridge’s structure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having to alter the exposure triangle for these shots from my normal tripod/night “go to” actually allowed me to capture the weird luminance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, for once. The Kosciuszcko is about two miles away, and this shot looks down Paidge Avenue in Greenpoint past the sewer plant towards the thing. My lens was comically zoomed out.

My walk on this particular excursion found me entering Brooklyn for the first time in at least a month, whereupon a circuitous path was followed. Avoiding population centers is a big part of the game plan for my constitutional walks.

Cooties.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.

regrettably enough

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Industrial Maspeth is my happy place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Above is what I consider to be my “shot of the night” from a recent nocturnal scuttle. Those wobbly streaks of light were offered by a passing truck or two while the shutter on my camera was hanging open. Mentioned in the past, one is fascinated by the result of setting the camera to record thirty seconds, or even a minute, of time passed. It’s the opposite of film or video, where 30 frames a second are recorded creating the illusion of movement when played back. In the shot above, you can actually discern the imperfections in the paving of the road, for instance, based on the bobbing around of the vehicle running lights. I wonder if Angels and Demons see time this way.

I intend to inhabit a spot similar to this sometime soon and execute a long series of shots in pursuance of building a time lapse video. Theoretically this means I’d have to take up station for a couple of hours, and since thirty photos would produce just one second of video, I’d need to actuate the camera at least 180 times over the course of an hour for a minute long end product. I’m going to do this, but when it’s a bit warmer. Even though this has been a warm winter, the chill nevertheless begins to penetrate through the filthy black raincoat, and manifests deleterious effects on the camera battery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing out of Queens and into Brooklyn via the Grand Street Bridge, the sounds of Canada Geese were heard coming in from the darkness of the Newtown Creek. Geese are dicks. I have spoken.

You may have heard about the latest tragedy involving my beloved Newtown Creek, wherein some lady suffering from dementia disappeared from a mass at St. Stanislaus in Greenpoint. Her body was found a couple of days later floating in the Creek nearby the Kosciuszcko Bridge on the Queens side. Condolence is offered to the family.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long suffering, Our Lady of the Pentacle was back at home while I was wandering around the Creek and as the hour was growing late I called her to say good night and offer that I hadn’t been squished by a truck yet. One was on the phone with her while this shot of a municipal waste truck was being gathered (part of a fleet of trucks parked on area streets, filled to the brim with sewer solids, which the Commissioner of the DEP has assured me are not there and must be a mirage). During my brief chat with Our Lady, I was fending off the attentions of an overly aggressive rat, so my conversation with her was punctuated periodically with loud exclamations of “leave me alone, rat” and “rat, I will kill you with this tripod.”

Of course, the notion that I had the right to be unmolested by the rodent was an example of me asserting and enjoying hominid privilege.


“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

February 26, 2020 at 11:00 am

drastic directions

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Happy 117th birthday, Grand Street Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As part of the nocturnal survey of Newtown Creek one is in the midst of undertaking, a recent evening found the camera perched atop the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and a humble narrator lost in a paroxysm of appreciation for the venerable Grand Street Bridge. Not long for this world – as the powers that be have decreed that it shall soon be expensively replaced – this beauty was erected in 1903, replacing an earlier iteration described by the United States Coast Guard as a “hazard to navigation.” The first bridge here was built in 1875, the current version is the third Grand Street Bridge.

Grand Street Bridge is the property of the City of New York, specifically the Department of Transportation. It connects Grand Avenue in Queens with Grand Street in Brooklyn. It’s found 3.1 miles back from the East River’s junction with Newtown Creek, sits at the demarcation point of two Newtown Creek tributaries – the East Branch and English Kills – and is a movable “swing bridge” which sits on a mechanical turntable that rotates the bridge ninety degrees to allow maritime egress.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The western sidewalk of the bridge doubles as a bike path, which few bicyclists actually use, seemingly preferring to just use the vehicle lanes. Heavily trafficked by MTA buses going to and from their Grand Avenue Bus Depot on the Maspeth, Queens side, the bridge is narrow and a causal factor in many of the traffic problems experienced in Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and eastern Greenpoint. This is due to the narrowness of the thing, which modern trucks cannot cross two abreast. Instead, drivers wait for traffic to clear the span, which causes backups that stretch for multiple blocks.

Even late at night, when these shots were gathered, it was quite a bother finding a 30 second interval without a heavy vehicle crossing. The Grand Street Bridge shakes and shimmies when even a passenger car crosses it, whereas the passing of a bus or a garbage truck triggers a local bridge quake. Said vibration is ruinous for a tripod mounted camera.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next up on my 2020 survey of the Newtown Creek will be the extreme eastern side of the waterway, followed by a series of walks down the visually miserable Brooklyn side of it. The reason it’s miserable is that are so few places where you can access or even view the water, as opposed to the Queens side where – as you’ve seen in recent weeks – there are multiple points of view worth looking at. Hopefully this is something I can find the time and opportunity to accomplish in the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow, something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“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.

surprising volume

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A whole lot of garbage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The high flying pedestrian and bike lane section of the new Kosciuszcko Bridge is something which I’ve been waiting to explore and exploit since I first learned of the bridge replacement project years ago. The bridge(s) officially opened last year, and I personally witnessed our Sith Lord Governor cut the ceremonial ribbon on the project with that red laser sword of his, but Darth Cuomo was fibbing when he said construction was done. The Governor would likely offer that he finds my lack of faith disturbing.

Principal construction, yes, but the contracts for this project don’t end until at least the end of 2020. Within two days of the official opening, vehicle lanes were blocked off by jersey barriers vouchsafing construction equipment and tool sheds, and orange netted wooden breastworks were once again hugging the bridge’s superstructure and perfectly visible to the children of Blissville and Maspeth. While I was on the bridge last week, for instance, a crew of Union electricians were working on perfecting the street lights illuminating the roadway. That’s the Sith way, I guess.

I’m still trying to figure out how to photograph that series of unearthly LED generated “colours out of space’ which the decorative lighting systems produce.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

See that Waste Transfer Station pictured above, found in Greenpoint?

Hostile reaction to the presence of wandering mendicant photographers over the years at this site have marked my general preoccupation with recording its splendors. Once, a brusque exchange with some hard hatted fellow driving a pickup truck resulted in a humble narrator being actively pursued as he walked quickly away from a threatened physical encounter. I lost the guy after darting across Meeker Avenue, but for a minute there I was sweating. It was August, so I was sweating anyway, but…

Don’t mess with the garbage guys, they specialize in making things disappear and go away. Newtown Creek, especially back here, isn’t Disneyworld and it’s real easy to get hurt if you don’t know the lay of the land. Say it with me – BROOKLYN.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite it all, I do love a good mound of trash.

A problem our City has, though, revolves around trucks being the primary means for transporting this material out of the City after it’s processed. Big players in this industry like Allocco Recycling and Sims Metal use maritime industrial resources to float our recyclable waste away on barges, towed by Tugboats. Waste Management has two giant facilities along the Creek which are serviced by railroad, providing the putrescent cargo which the infamous “Garbage Train” hauls through the Fresh Pond Yard and out of Queens over the Hell Gate Bridge. In either example, however, local collection trucks operated by DSNY or private carters focus their routes in on narrow corridors and intersections around the Newtown Creek, logarithmically increasing traffic in the surrounding residential neighborhoods, on their way to and from any or all of these “waste transfer stations.”

As I remind the “bicycle people” all the time, their quest for safer streets is directly related to reducing the personal waste flow of every New Yorker. According to officialdom, the average New Yorker produces about 1,300 lbs. of garbage a year. Reduce that by even a single percentile, and you’ve taken some of these trucks off the streets. Garbage, lords and ladies, will bury us all.

One wishes Darth Cuomo could fix that.


“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

January 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

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