The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Bushwick Branch

dull acquiescence

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It’s National Candied Orange Peel Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week was quite a busy one, with the new K bridge opening and the Governor coming to Newtown Creek, and then riding over the thing with the NY Times and all, but my fun didn’t end there. After the green cab ride with Emma G. Fitzsimmons, the NY Times transit reporter who wrote the article, one found himself in Williamsburg where I got to observe the insane amount of traffic typical of the Metropolitan Avenue corridor. I had to get to Maspeth to meet up with Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY and a couple of other friends, who had asked me to conduct a Newtown Creek walk for them. I had a full day of scuttling in front of me, so I wanted to conserve my energy.

Luckily, the Q54 bus replicates the route of an old trolley line which connected Williamsburg to Maspeth, so I whipped out my Metrocard and headed for the Clinton or Goodfellas diner. Traffic was horrible all the way there, and I ended up being about a half hour late for the endeavor.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The walk I took the small group on was a “half Creekathon” which proceeded eastwards from industrial Maspeth through Bushwick and Ridegwood and then west towards Greenpoint. As this was the first truly warm day of the year (and quite humid) our stamina was challenged and we didn’t quite make it all the way, but the roughly five mile walk around the Newtown Creek was – as always – fascinating. The view above is from mid span on the Grand Street Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Slouching roughly across a footbridge that spans the Bushwick Branch lead track of the LIRR, we crossed the Brooklyn Queens border and entered into industrial Bushwick. This is an area undergoing tremendous amounts of transformation, but it’s still quite horrible, thankfully.

Waste Transfer stations, heavy trucking, the most heavily polluted section of Newtown Creek, visiting the destination for about a third of NYC’s putrescent trash… ahhh… home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of the Bushwick Branch, we spotted this double engine setup crossing Varick Street from the Waste Management facility which processes and handles the trash which will fill up the garbage train. Those green box cars on the left are the containers for the stuff, and it was a bit surprising seeing a bright blue GATX unit back here – normally it’s the black and emerald color way of the NY & Atlantic company you see.


Upcoming Tours and events

First Calvary Cemetery walking tour, May 6th.

With Atlas Obscura’s Obscura Day 2017, Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour – details and tix here.

MAS Janeswalk free walking tour, May 7th.

Visit the new Newtown Creek Alliance/Broadway Stages green roof, and the NCA North Henry Street Project – details and tix here.


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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The scions who run the Newtown Creek Alliance declared that we all gather for a meeting recently, and not wanting to be mocked in absentia (rather in person), your humble narrator set out for the gathering. Only issue with this caucus was that it was being held in far off Ridgewood at the Onderdonk house, which is a pretty long walk from Newtown Pentacle HQ here in Astoria. After having moved things around, schedule wise, a vast scuttle was instituted. The shot above depicts the East Branch of the Newtown Creek at its terminus on Metropolitan Avenue.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, I decided to check out the Scott Avenue footbridge. This is a rusted metal and rotting concrete structure which rises over the tracks of the LIRR’s Bushwick Branch, allowing pedestrian traffic egress to Flushing Avenue- a structure seen from distance but never traversed. Due to the aforementioned distance from my quarters, it will be admitted, this is the section of the Newtown Creek watershed with which I am the least familiar and one which still offers pleasant surprises when visited. In the shot above, what you’re looking at is the northward facing tracks of the Bushwick Branch as they head towards Fresh Ponds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The inverse view, to the south and the infinity of Brooklyn. The train cars, homogenous and numerous, are awaiting service by the NY and Atlantic freight railway. What is colloquially known as the “garbage train”, they are gathered for usage at the Varick Street Waste Management facility which is nearby and adjoins the bitter end of the Newtown Creek tributary known as English Kills near Johnson and Morgan avenues. The undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens is also present in this shot, although I cannot tell you exactly where. Additionally, I am unsure as to whether these cars were loaded with their putrescent charge when I gathered these images.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Pentacle postings “approaching locomotive” and “skillfully wafted” discuss the Bushwick Branch and the Waste Management facility at Varick Street in some detail, why not check them out? Luckily, lords and ladies, your humble narrator goes to these spots so you don’t have to. If you did want to see some of the wonders described within these postings- why not consider coming on one of the upcoming excursions I’ll be leading?

for an expanded description of the October 20th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

for more information on the October 27th Newtown Creek Boat Tour, click here

for more information on the November 9th Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show, click here

for an expanded description of the November 11th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

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