The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘destruction services

tangible stream

with 19 comments

To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A colloquial translation from Tacitus’s Agricola, attributed to the Caledonian Chieftain Calgacus, the little ditty at the top of this post was originally written in Latin (as you’d imagine). The original goes like this – Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

It’s exactly what I was thinking while transiting through the Brooklyn side of DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp, just the other day as one spotted this thoroughly destroyed truck.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s hardly the Roman Empire affecting these parts, rather it’s the Empire State. The properties and businesses all along Cherry Street have been vacated, as have all but one of the waste transfer stations which used to underlie the Kos, all in the name of the NY State project which will be replacing the 1939 era truss bridge with a new cable stay bridge.

What you’ve got down here, in the interim between now and then (then being the beginning of construction on the new bridge) is the absolute dream of every illegal dumper and freelance mechanic in NYC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My understanding of the project suggests that Cherry street will cease to be, as the BQE and the new bridge will sit slightly east of the current span. Parts of Meeker Avenue will shift a bit as well. Accordingly, the Empire (state) has been acquiring properties on both sides of Newtown Creek for quite awhile and making sure that they have a clear path.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As far as the titular subject of this post, being the skeleton of a semi truck and trailer, my understanding is that the vehicle had been brought to this spot approximately a week or so ago. It had caught fire on the BQE, and was towed off the highway by FDNY. Evidence of my eyes suggests that this is not true, as there would be visible scorch marks on the onramps, and the street that the thing sits on does not betray the presence of the foam suppressants that FDNY typically deploys during vehicle fires.

Also, FDNY usually doesn’t let things burn out this completely.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plants and concrete traffic barriers around the vehicle do not appear to have suffered flames, nor the presence of the 10 to 20 firefighters and their equipment either. Curious, this, but one must accept things in DUKBO as they are.

The whole “towing it off the highway” thing was offered to me by a local witness, so I transmit it as such.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A good natured Spaniard that called himself “Zumba” and who was working as a mechanic, on a somewhat less immolated truck, and it was he who transmitted the tale of the tow. Zumba inquired if I was working for the City, nervously eyeing my camera, out of probable concern that I might be some sort of taxman seeking to screw up his weekend job. Waxman, I explained.

Zumba kept on walking back and forth to this open hatch as he went about his work. The aperture sits alongside one of the emptied industrial buildings that occlude the path of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. Someone, or something, was passing him tools from down below.

Who can guess, all there is, that might be found down there?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, September 27th, 13 Steps Around Dutch Kills
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, September 28th, The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for tickets and more info.

habitual secretiveness

with 5 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUKBO, on the Brooklyn side of that parable laden river of urban neglect called the Newtown Creek, is an industrial zone which most New Yorkers wouldn’t want to acknowledge ownership of. The particular stretch which is focused on today is not long for this world, as the replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge will obliterate these streets from the map when construction begins in 2014.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Owing to the impermanence of this area, and the certain doom it will enjoy, your humble narrator has been making it a point to divert my path into its shadowed corridors and record what might exist here. As mentioned to many, one of the goals of this- your Newtown Pentacle- is to leave behind some sort of record of what the Creeklands were before the massive changes wrought by Superfund, the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement, and all the other mega projects planned for the area begin.

It is, in my opinion, important to have the realities of this place reported on by a source not affiliated with commercial or governmental interests, and to allow some future researcher to witness the inheritances of the past as they were at the start of this century. The paucity of documentation about Newtown Creek at the start of the 20th century are a major impediment to studying its history.

That’s my “elevator speech”, by the way.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of course, the specific focus of today’s posting has little to do with history, rather it’s the utter immolation suffered by this vehicle (refer to a Newtown Pentacle post of January 4, 2012 titled “Old School 2” for context). It seems that DUKBO continues to be a great place to ditch an unwanted vehicle, and the complete destruction of this automobile speaks to a considerable interval between ignition and the intervention of the NYFD.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s an assumption, by the way, based on the absolute destruction of the vehicle interior. The absence of doors, engine hood, and other usual amenities found on modern cars (not present lying in some heap on the sidewalk) suggests that the vehicle was probably stripped, abandoned, and torched- but that is another assumption. Both of these are wide interpretations born of having grown up in South Brooklyn during the 1980’s, a time when an epidemic of car thefts and vehicular arson ran rampant and vehicles in similar condition would regularly be encountered along the Belt Parkway and its service roads.

Kids in my neighborhood became very familiar with the difference between “an accident” and an “on purpose”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Can’t blame NYFD for not getting to it in time for anything else than extinguishing the husk, as this is the middle of nowhere and residential housing is quite distant in any direction. At night, this a ghost town, with shuttered businesses and truck lots, and little or no traffic. Who can guess what transpires here, in the dead of night amidst the darkness of DUKBO?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you’re missing what looks like a mid size SUV or perhaps a minivan, this corner in DUKBO seems to be a great place to start looking for what remains of it.

remarkable law

with one comment

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A freelancer, your humble narrator is always looking for work. Recently spied in Long Island City, there seems to be a company that specializes in a trade I’m interested in.

Is this what “service economy” means?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just ask anyone who has ever lent me anything of value how good I am at this. Pretty much anything I touch ends up at least partially ruined, and when one puts his mind to the task… whoa, nelly.

I can’t have anything nice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I too offer “Destruction Services”, although my understanding is that large players in the destruction trade, like the United States Marines for instance, play this game at “big league” levels. My destruction business isn’t limited to old files like these guys though, I’ll mess up new stuff too.

Freelance rates will apply.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 8, 2012 at 12:15 am

%d bloggers like this: