The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘DUKBO

inextricably blended

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a bird. Spotted it at Dutch Kills, in Long Island City. Any attempt to identify the bird’s speciation will result in me being mocked for my complete ornithological incompetence, so “bird.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s a materials handler, outfitted with a rig that allows it to pick up railroad box cars, spotted at the Waste Management facility in LIC’s Blissville section.

One experiences greater success with identifying this sort of thing than birds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Those are three birds, in Maspeth.

This has been a minimalist Wednesday kind of post, and one will be back in a more typically verbose fashion 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 14th. 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 16, 2020 at 11:00 am

inhuman squeals

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My recent walks have been far ranging. In a post Zuzu the dog world, one has been able to resume being out of the house for hours and hours as I don’t have to provide her with the acute care and attention she required during her decline. Accordingly, one has been poking his lens into all sorts of places and really burning the shoe leather up. I’ve got an app on my phone which approximates the mileage and “number of steps” it accompanies me through. Resumption of my old “one day out, one day in” schedule has occurred, and a predominance of my time and attentions are being focused on the Newtown Creek again.

According to an app on my phone, which is expertly programmed to guilt me out, I’m walking a bit less than I was this time last year. This time last year, however, you actually had to go to meetings rather than log into them, and those meetings usually take place miles and miles from HQ, and there wasn’t a respiratory plague going around. App chiding notwithstanding, the stamina and ability to march around for six to eight hours at a pop have recently returned. Hibernation is bad for you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Literally “DUKBO” or “Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp” in Maspeth is where this shot was gathered. Construction on the bridge is more or less finished at this point, but they are still turning the odd screw and tweaking this or that.

This is the 2.1 mile mark on the Newtown Creek, as in it’s that far back from the East River where I was standing. The Penny Bridge site is visible in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The former property of Phelps Dodge, which occupied this section of the creek in one corporate guise or another for more than a century, the water quality in this area is both complex and poor. The original 19th century owner of this property was General Chemical, which manufactured several exquisitely toxic but lovely chemical cocktails here but their mainstay was sulfuric acid. Phelps Dodge turned the acid factory into a copper refinery, which persisted here well into the late 20th century. There’s a food wholesaler based here now.

Apparently they’re down a shopping cart.

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 14th. 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 15, 2020 at 11:00 am

sane harborage

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, one was wandering through Blissville. For one reason or another, a humble narrator decided it would be good to get a few shots of the enormous masonry wall offered by First Calvary cemetery for the amusement of passerby on Review Avenue.

My understanding of the function of this structure is that it acts as a retaining wall. Laurel Hill, the landform which Calvary was carved into starting in 1848, used to slope down towards Newtown Creek. Review Avenue is a “cut” and the engineers who worked for the Church probably had to worry about mudslides when laying out the place.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The wall itself is enormous, and based on observation from within the cemetery and atop it, around ten feet thick at the top and an unknown width at bottom. It’s composed on concrete and boulders, and likely bottoms out several yards under the level of the street and sidewalk. The boulders are typical glacial till, likely harvested from native soils, and nothing special.

My intention when shooting this was in theoretical pursuance of doing a cutaway illustration of the wall and subterrene, which was going to be accompanied by a bit of narrative reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft short story called “The Statement of Randolph Carter” wherein the exploration of a mortuary complex’s underground chambers results in a typically horrifying conclusion for a Lovecraft tale. That’s my actual thought process leading up to actuating the camera shutter.

That’s when I spotted them.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When queried as to why I always have a camera with me, the answer is usually “if I don’t have this, then a ufo would land in the intersection and Bigfoot and Elvis would disembark from it.” Usually, a camera is your best defense against anything interesting happening within eyeshot.

These two defied that maxim, however, and they are to be applauded.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They seemed to be a couple, these two, just picking their way along the rock wall.

So intent on their task were they that notice of the strange old fellow with a camera trained on them standing across the street and laughing hysterically didn’t seem to register. This genuinely amused me, and I like to believe that one of them said to the other that “the floor is lava.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They never got more than five or six feet off the lava, I would mention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’m often quoted as saying – you never know what you’re going to see at Calvary Cemetery. Even when the place has remained inexplicably closed to the public at exactly the moment when its acres of green space have been most needed, the people of LIC will make it their own.

Awesome sauce.

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 14th. 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 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

chittering scavenger

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is colossally bored, and wandering around the Newtown Creek is basically all I’ve got these days. Recent endeavor found a humble narrator on the Queens side of DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp. The difference between the two fencelines in the shot above is profound, with the chain link section rooted in the Blissville section of Long Island City and the iron fence planted firmly in the soil of Maspeth. Once upon a time, this was a municipal border, rather than a bit of geographic trivia.

When Robert Moses built a bridge, or highway viaduct, he often did so along these sorts of borders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Bob Moses 1939 version Kosciuszcko Bridge went bye bye in 2017, of course, and that’s the spanking new Andy Cuomo 21st century style one pictured above, from a bit further back along the Newtown Creek than I usually show you. I got to meet the security guy at Restaurant Depot just prior to this shot being captured, and I can tell you he was a heck of a nice guy once we established that I wasn’t a graffiti artist, skateboarder, or illegal street racing enthusiast. Unique set of problems this particular fellow has in his daily round, thought I. Also, the sound of generators was omnipresent, since this is one of the sections of western Queens which lost power entirely after that recent storm. The air was vibrating.

This section of the Newtown Creek – east of DUKBO, south of the Maspeth Creek tributary, and west of the Maspeth Avenue Plank Road – is called the “Turning Basin.” It’s an intentionally wide and fairly deep area that allows shipping to reverse course.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Turning Basin is far and away the most chemically contaminated section of the waterway, if degree matters when discussing Newtown Creek. The black mayonnaise – which is the goo found at the bottom – is a devils brew compound of coal tar, petroleum, organocoppers, and a whole lot more. This is where the amount of time for “benthic survival,” as the environmental professionals would call a fishie’s chances of making it from one side to the other alive, is surprisingly narrow. A copper refinery and a manufactured gas plant, an enameling factory and an oil refinery, fertilizer mills and rendering plants, a night soil dock. That pretty much describes the Turning Basin shorelines of about a century ago. They all were pretty sloppy with the industrial waste, and there’s a lot of that Black Mayonnaise down there.

The oil guys, the gas guys, and the copper guys are all on the hook here with the Feds to clean the Turning Basin. They have to scoop out the yuck, and cap what’s left over to keep whatever they missed sequestered away. The argument right now is about how deep a depth they will need to dredge to. The deeper you go, the more money gets put into the water.

Personally, I won’t be happy until they’re bringing up arrowheads and tomahawks.

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, August 10th. 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

August 14, 2020 at 11:00 am

dismal eyrie

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It’s Wednesday, the day of Woden (Odin), from the Old English word “Wōdnesdæg.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Street furniture. That’s the term coined by my old friend Ms. Heather at NY-Shitty for the abandoned or dumped furnishings or accoutrements you encounter while walking around the city. I always get a giggle out of that one, but in the case of this love seat encountered on the Pedestrian/Bike path of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, I have to respect the amount of physical labor it must have taken moving this fairly massive hunk of furniture to a prime viewing location fairly close to the center of the bridge.

A lot of muscle, time, and energy goes into illegal dumping. It’s so much simpler to throw things out in a legal fashion. The number of tires you see submerged in Newtown Creek is absolutely staggering, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shot looks down from the bridge on the truck yard of a company which calls itself Empire Merchants. They do the holy work of god, which is delivering liquor and beer to bars and retail shops. This company has a fairly large footprint in Greenpoint, with both enclosed warehouse spaces and large vehicle storage yards like the one pictured above. They’re officially a “distributor” as a note. “Last mile delivery” is the current buzz phrase for this sort of business.

I’d love to see them replace the surface of their parking lot with something a bit more environmentally friendly in order to drink up rain water, but this isn’t necessarily the place where you’d want a lot of water entering the underground. The Greenpoint Oil Spill is centered a few blocks away, and this particular spot sits on top of a different environmental nightmare – the Meeker Avenue Plumes. Said plumes are composed of dry cleaning chemicals spilled by a now out of business factory. The hard cap of asphalt and concrete insulating the ground water from surface flow actually helps keep those chemicals in a static position.

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

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of a largish waste transfer station, one which handles all of the good stuff – paper, metals, and putrescents – but specializes in construction debris, is pictured above. One of the interesting things, for me, about the new Kosciuszcko Bridge walkway is the window it gives you onto this sort of scene.

For years, when walking by on the street, you’d be able to see peeks of this scene. The fellows who work here… well… let’s just say that they’ve never been friendly to the odd itinerant photographer and environmental activist who was just passing by.

Back tomorrow with something else, 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, August 3rd. 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

August 5, 2020 at 11:00 am

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