The Newtown Pentacle

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scoundrel out

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Creek. Pictured above and below are sections of the Whale Creek tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek. This canalized section of the greater waterway is contained entirely within the confines of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment and Resource Recovery Plant – or simply, the sewer plant in Greenpoint. The DEP has part of its small navy here, utilizing these boats to execute the mandate laid out for it by NYC’s charter. The blue vessel at the right of the shot is one of DEP’s skimmer boats.

There’s a conveyor belt apparatus which dips down into the water as the Skimmer Boat navigates along, and this mechanism allows them to harvest “floatable” trash and garbage as well as flotsam and jetsam from the rivers and creeks of NYC. They have several variations on this design in their inventory, in addition to the larger “Sludge Boats” which are more commonly noticed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One enjoys creating long exposure photos of this material swirling around in the eddy currents at the end of the canals. Nothing fancies up a shot like garbage in the water, I always opine.

Blah, blah, blah. I talk myself blue in the face about this issue and nobody cares. Litter on the street becomes litter in the water because of the combined sewer blah blah blah. Nothing changes, nobody cares, nothing matters except ‘Affordable housing’ (which is now going to be referred to as “deeply affordable housing,” if you want a preview of politic talk in 2022) and bike lanes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been quite a week, with Thanksgiving and all, huh? Personally, I’m getting prepared for another “away game.”

Another bit of travel is on my horizon, and I’m going to be passing through Pittsburgh again in the next couple of weeks. This time around, I’m hoping to pull off a few night time shots when I’m there.

Back next week with more, 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.

open rage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Since returning to NYC from my travels, one has not allowed any dust to accumulate upon the camera. Situational need has found me in all sorts of interesting places. Pictured above is the largest single point source of greenhouse gases in Brooklyn, for instance, which are burned off into the atmosphere by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Those four pipes carry methane from within the bioreactor eggs of the sewer plant up to venturi apparatuses where the fiery immolation occurs. The machinery is tuned to keep the flames invisible.

Fossil fuel companies are singularly responsible for everything horrible, of course, and not the government which historically encouraged them to do those horrible things – since Governmental agencies and officials are inherently good. The latter entity, however, has engaged with an exemplar of the former – specifically the National Grid outfit – to harvest and filter the gases produced at the sewer plant and sell them to you under the product branding of “natural gas” and “resource recovery.” The Government hopes for a net profit on the process, as does National Grid, but only the latter is evil. The project is scheduled to be up and running about five years ago, and isn’t up and running yet because of the salubrious Government’s red tape, but there you are. Do as I say, not as I do.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That yellow building just to the left of center in the shot above is where the evil fossil fuel industry first set itself up in the modern sense in 1854, manufacturing “coal oil” under the brand name “Kerosene.” The company that started the operation was acquired first by Charles Pratt’s Astral Oil, and then by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and eventually by the Standard Oil Company of New York after the whole Sherman Antitrust Teddy Roosevelt dealie (TR used to be good because progressive, but now he’s evil because racism and colonialism).

The evil Standard Oil Company of New York, or SOCONY, rebranded as Vacuum Oil, and eventually decided they wanted to be trademarked as Mobil Oil. Mobil would one day merge with the evil Standard Oil Company of New Jersey in the 1990’s, after SOCONJ had changed its name first to ESSO and then later to Exxon. The evil Exxon Mobil consented to a decree by the obviously good natured New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, dictating that the corporate behemoth will need to siphon an unknown amount of “product” out of the ground at that location pictured above.

Right across the water on the Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, the inherently good Attorney General of NYS, Andrew Cuomo, forced the inherently evil Exxon Mobil to clean up an oil spill left behind by the similarly proscribed Mobil/SOCONY. Cuomo has since been redefined as an evil scion of sex sins and a corrupt and false eidolon who was mean to the other politicians – just as evil as the fossil fuel companies are, with all of their capitalism and carbon – or like any who might question the validity of “affordable housing” or bike lanes probably are. The dichotomy offered is that someone can be good once and bad later, which is confusing. How can anyone employed by the government be, in any way, bad? I mean… just ask any politician how virtuous and vetted they all are. They’ll tell you exactly how noble, and free of corrupting industrial and financial influences, modern day politics are due to oversight committees staffed by their own colleagues.

It’s not like Tammany Hall is still running the City, right? Those patriarchal rascals were the ones who made the devil’s bargain with the inherently evil capitalists, right? Not at all like the modern day reformers, progressives, or all of the other inherently good politicians who operate in a closed loop of leadership ladder climbing that’s funded and curated by the Real Estate Industrial Complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason that our ancestors called it “Tammany Hall” was in homage to a legendary “Sachem,” or Chief of the Lenape, named Taminend. Leaders of Tammany like Boss Tweed and Dick Croker were called the “Grand Sachem” of the political club. You remember the Lenape, of course, whose land our inherently good government stole, and who were then resettled in forested areas nobody else wanted by the same do gooders? They’re called the Delaware these days, those Lenape people who survived the inherent goodness of the political state.

Founded in 1790, Tammany Hall really came into its own in 1854 with the election of Mayor Fernando Wood. Wood seriously considered having NYC secede from the Union with the Confederacy, given the amount of slave related business NYC was involved in. Cotton was a commodity bought and sold on Wall Street, and the East River coast of Manhattan is where a large number of the slave ships, which provided a labor force for the Cotton Plantations, were built. It was a risky business, slaving, but you could safely invest in it by buying shares in a slave ship from a broker to spread out the risk, or by putting your money into insurance funds which guaranteed other people’s investments in slavery. It wasn’t difficult to find a way to invest in slaving, as Wall Street handled most of it all in the early 19th century, allowing investors to act shocked at the barbarity of the practice after the Civil War. By then, the smart money was in railroads, anyway.

Coincidence on the 1854 thing, huh? The inherently evil capitalists of the petroleum industry setting up shop here at Newtown Creek, while the inherently good government of Tammany Hall was encouraging slaveholding, armed insurrection, and cotton plantations in the American South? Gosh.


“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

November 22, 2021 at 11:30 am

possible dream

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent occasion found a humble narrator all by himself for several hours at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ at 520 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. A former Mobil Oil facility, this building is now owned by the Broadway Stages company. Downstairs, they have a working television production studio. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a secret or something, but this is currently where Queen Latifah is filming “The Equalizer” television show. There’s often craft service leftovers for us to enjoy left in the lobby, and on this afternoon there were donuts. TV donuts.

An artist has a studio on the third floor, and on the fourth and fifth floors you’ll find the Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you’d imagine, one such as myself finds his way here regularly for meetings and events and NCA related business. I’m seldom here by myself, and certainly not for the four to five hours interval recently enjoyed. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, no interlopers asking what kind of camera I was using, and I got busy.

I was using filters and everything. It’s not as easy as you’d think to get high around Newtown Creek, after all. Can’t waste the opportunity.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The next few days here at Newtown Pentacle will display shots gathered during this interval. One rolled through his entire bag of tricks this time around. My hope, which was ultimately squashed, was that I’d catch the 911 tribute lights being turned on (which tells you how long ago these shots were captured, so oops). Saying that, I’m still pleased with what I came home with.

Back tomorrow with more, 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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 20, 2021 at 11:00 am

seared unbearably

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A few more views from Newtown Creek Alliance HQ in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section for today’s post. That’s the sewer plant in Greenpoint above, with 3 of its 8 stainless steel digester eggs in frame. It’s a technological marvel, I tell you.

For this trio of shots, I was actually on the roof of HQ at 520 Kingsland Avenue, where NCA has partnered up with several other entities around the creation and maintenance of a 26,000 square feet green roof.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Heavily cropped, the shot above depicts night time operations for yet another tug – which I think is the Helen Laramy. Tug companies paint their vessels with certain “colorways” which indicate who owns what and are graphic enough to be seen at a distance. This is a lot less important today than it was in the past, as the United States Coast Guard maintains a system wherein onboard radio transponders don’t just identify vessels in NY Harbor, but also indicate where – exactly – they are, and what their heading and speed are.

Seriously, you’ve seen science fiction movies where the starships have fewer electronic doo dads than the bridge of a modern tugboat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From what I was able to discern, this particular tug was operating along the bulkheads of Allocco Recycling in Brooklyn. Yesterday’s post displayed another tug working the opposite shore. Allocco is in the metals business like SimsMetal in Long Island City, but their main line seems to involve aggregates. Aggregate recycling involving passing excavated soils through a series of sieves to grade it by particle size – sand, gravel, rock etc. The material is then poured into barges and taken away for further processing or redistribution back into the ground somewhere.

I’ve been asked this a few times, so… Allocco doesn’t stand for anything as a corporate amalgamation name, instead it’s the last name of the family who owns this business. I know the showrunner there, Mike. Nice guy.


“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 8, 2021 at 11:00 am

intense concentration

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One found himself visiting the HQ of the illimitable Newtown Creek Alliance over in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section the other day, where a maritime industrial show was on offer. I had just conducted an introduction to Newtown Creek for an academic class and while my colleague continued the narrative, I wandered off and got busy with the camera.

That’s the DonJon Towing Company’s Caitlin Ann, towing barges of scrap metal about, which were filled up by the SimsMetal company on the Long Island City side of my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A maritime barge carries the equivalent cargo of about 38 heavy trucks. You spend carbon and fuel running the tugboat, of course, but the greenest possible way to move bulk cargo around involves the water.

Also, as I’ve often said: it doesn’t matter if they’re pushing or pulling the barges, tugboats are in the towing business.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

SimsMetal handles municipal recycling for DSNY, who bring their collections here. They also do commercial recycling for private entities – recycling structural steel, aluminum, even cars which are all headed for the shredder. Sims also operates the shredder, but that’s at their joint in New Jersey. I’ve asked, they won’t let me and the camera anywhere near the shredder – too dangerous for a non employee to be anywhere near.

Newtown Creek is the most feature rich and interesting section of New York City to me. Period. Back tomorrow with more wonders.


“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 7, 2021 at 11:00 am

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