The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘DUPBO

ever been

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw a humble narrator more or less walk the entire Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, and by the time I reached the Pulaski Bridge all of my aches and pains were absolutely singing an opera.

That’s when you really just have to lean into it, I always say, and keep on scuttling. You want to know something, though? What I’ve really been missing the last month or so, and especially during low energy moments like the one I was experiencing while getting ready to surmount the Pulaski, has been having my headphones plugged into my ears while they’re blaring early Black Sabbath.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal security, however, demands that all of my senses remain unoccluded. I need to be able to hear “it” if and when it’s coming. It’s funny, actually, that this section of Newtown Creek is one of the areas which I’ve assiduously avoided throughout the pandemic months. The population has become particularly dense here, due to what a friend of mine refers to as “the real estate frenzy.” That isn’t why I’ve been avoiding it, though.

Anywhere that lots of people are, that ain’t where I been.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge has a dedicated pedestrian and a seperated bike lane, in addition to its lanes of vehicular traffic. It’s a double bascule drawbridge, and electrically powered. It connects McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with 11th street at Jackson Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City. Along the way, on the Queens side, it also overflies the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

It’s extremely well traveled, and each one of its several traffic lanes is quite busy. It’s also fairly easy to get into trouble up there, precisely because of its populous nature. I used to know a guy who got jumped midspan, and who laid there bleeding from a head wound while the Brooklyn and Queens cops were arguing about which precinct the mugging occurred in – 94th or 108th. Neither one “wanted it” as it would cause their “house’s” crime stats to go up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be an amazing series of NYC views up on the Pulaski, with the Empire State Building at the center of your frame and reflected in Newtown Creek. The sky has been stolen by big real estate, however. It’s been privatized. If you’re looking for “inspirado” you better have some cash to pay for it.

The good news is that our elected officials continue to subsidize the real estate people, by bending the rules for them and handing out multiple decade long tax breaks in the name of “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The dodge accomplished by the Real Estate people is to establish a development corporation as an ‘’LLC” or “Limited Liability Corporation” for the duration of planning and construction. The day after they cut the ribbon on a new building, the original development LLC, which made all the deals with the city and state, is dissolved and the property is transferred to a management LLC that can pick and choose which tenets of the original LLC’s political contracts they want to oblige.

Either way, they’re not paying any taxes for a long time. Not paying into the cops, or the schools, or the hospitals which their tenants in their thousands consume the services of. Remember when the Governor set up the Javitz center as a mass casualty hospital at the start of COVID? That’s because NYC doesn’t have enough hospital beds anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some enterprising soul poked a hole in the chain link fences of the Pulaski’s pedestrian walkway a few years back, one that allows a view down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel’s entrance.

August of 1940 is when the tunnel opened, along with the section of the Long Island Expressway which feeds about 32 million vehicle trips a year into the thing. At least you can still see the Empire State Building from here since the Real Estate people haven’t convinced the politicians that it would solve the homeless problem if we decked over the tunnel’s toll plaza over and built luxury condos on top.

Give it time. Swagger.


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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.

peradventure may

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The estimable bridge tenders of the NYC DOT were on station at the Pulaski Bridge when a humble narrator scuttled by. What makes them “estimable” is that if you see them hanging around a draw bridge, odds are that the bridge will be opening soon, hence you can estimate.

These are more photos from an extremely productive walk I took on the 12th of April. Six photo posts have been offered here for awhile now, as I’m trying to “catch up” with the real world calendar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge is the first crossing of Newtown Creek you encounter when navigating in from the East River. Constructed in 1954 at the behest of Robert Moses’s DOT, Pulaski Bridge carries five lanes of auto traffic as well as dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes. It’s a double bascule draw bridge, electrically powered, and is part of the NYC DOT’s portfolio of movable bridges. It connects Greenpoint’s McGuinness Blvd. with LIC’s 11th street.

One thereby scuttled across “the red one” to Paidge Avenue in Brooklyn, which allowed me to enter the Newtown Creek Nature Walk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The sewer plant in Greenpoint was reconstructed beginning in the early 1990’s, and the NYC DEP was compelled to comply with the NYC Charter requirement of “1% for art,” which sets aside a percentile of every municipal construction project for art or public space. The Nature Walk, thereby, wraps around the sewer plant and is accessible via either Kingsland Avenue or Paidge Avenue between dawn and dusk. It’s proven to be quite a popular destination for Greenpointers.

As I arrived, I spotted two tugboats at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sea Lion, pictured above, was towing a recycling barge from the SimsMetal dock found on the Queens side of Newtown Creek. Sims does a lot of maritime shipping from this dock. They handle recyclables collected by DSNY, crushed cars, and all sorts of scrap metal here. The materials are brought in by truck, but shipped out by barge. A maritime barge carries the equivalent cargo of 38 heavy trucks.

Sea Lion is a harbor tug, as in its fairly small in size at 64.7 feet in length, but the 1980 vintage vessel is mighty – she produces 1,400 HP, which is more than that railroad engine I showed you the other day. Ocean going tugs are fairly enormous.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A larger class tug, the Seeley, was waiting patiently for the bridge tenders to open up Pulaski Bridge. Sea Lion didn’t need the bridge to open, as the height of her conning tower and antennae were well below the bridge’s double bascule undersides.

The horns began to blow, and then the chiming of the signal arms sounded, and then traffic stopped flowing over the Pulaski Bridge for an interval so that a different type of traffic could pass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seeley navigated through, and although I’m incapable of the emotional state called “happy,” a humble narrator was slightly less miserable than normal for a few minutes.

More tomorrow.


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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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 2, 2022 at 11:00 am

lute dancer

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tunnels leading into Manhattan that are used by the Long Island Railroad are found within the Sunnyside Yards. On the south shore of Queens along Newtown Creek, however, you’ll find the LIRR’s Lower Montauk tracks which lead east. Used to be that the Lower Montauk could connect to the Yards via the Montauk Cutoff, but those tracks are now “abandoned,” and my friends and I have been working for a few years now to turn the cutoff into an “official” public open space – so no bueno for connecting anymore. The Montauk Cutoff is de facto “unofficial” public open space right now, but that’s another story.

Lower Montauk line starts at the LIRR’s Hunters Point Yard in Long Island City, found along Borden Avenue, which has been an active rail yard since the 1860’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A siding leaves the Lower Montauk and crosses Borden Avenue at street grade, after traveling under the Pulaski Bridge. This siding first enters the Hunters Point Avenue LIRR station about two blocks from the spot pictured above, and those tracks then offer connection to the Main Line and the tracks heading to Woodside, and Jamaica. These latter connections are beyond that which I can speak intelligently about, so if you think you know more about this than I do – you’re right, you do.

LIC, though, that’s my jam.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Lower Montauk tracks almost always have a couple of idling engines sitting on them, which I’m told are kept ready to roll in case of an emergency or if a non functioning train on the busier parts of the system needs a rescue. They also tow work trains and “maintenance of way” equipment about.

That’s LIRR engine 105 pictured above, which was built sometime between 1968 and 1981. It’s a 1,000 HP locomotive engine.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Engine 164 is pictured above, which I can’t tell you much about. It’s gloriously rusty, and can really use a paint job – that’s all I’ve got.

The tracks they’re sitting on are on the Lower Montauk line. Eastwards, these engines can connect first to the Wheelspur Yard, or travel over the DB Cabin bridge spanning Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary leading into the Blissville Yard, on their way eastwards to the interlocking at Haberman or all the way to the Fresh Pond yard. Along the way, in Ridgewood, the LIRR Bushwick Branch intersects and connects.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

MTA stores their “rolling stock” in between rush hours at the Hunters Point Yard, and twice a day there’s an absolutely terrific amount of activity down here in DUPBO, Down under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

This is one of the most infrastructure heavy areas I know. The draw bridge above, rail and vehicles traffic on the surface, and the Long Island Expressway is feeding traffic into the Queens Midtown Tunnel below.

In my experience, between 4 & 6 in the afternoons, you’re almost guaranteed to see something LIRR related happening here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, my very productive day wasn’t over by a long shot, and I decided to crack out a “long shot” while climbing the Pulaski’s stairs and heading over towards Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section.

Wonders, I tell you, wonders.


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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.

think slowly

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator found himself wandering across the loquacious Newtown Creek, as is often the case, on the Pulaski Bridge. Count Casimir Pulaski, whom the bridge is named for, was a Polish noble and accomplished military man who – after meeting Ben Franklin and Lafayette while exiled in France – joined the Continental Army as a Cavalry General during the American Revolution. Part of Washington’s executive staff, Pulaski died of wounds he received at the Battle of Savannah in 1779.

The 1954 vintage bridge over Newtown Creek, connecting what’s now called McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn with LIC’s 11th street, was a product of Robert Moses’ long tenure as the high lord of transportation spending and construction in NYC. Actual construction of the double bascule draw bridge was accomplished by the Horn Construction Company, with the assistance of Bethlehem Steel and the American Bridge Company. An earlier bridge, connecting Brooklyn’s Manhattan Avenue with LIC’s Vernon Avenue (as it was known back then), was also removed as part of the project.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprisingly well used stair cases rise up on either side of the bridge, allowing pedestrian egress. The pedestrian lanes do indeed flow from on ramp to off ramp, but the stairs are located a lot closer to the center beam of the span. The LIC side stairs are found just south of the Midtown Tunnel and Long Island Rail Road Hunter’s Point yard.

One hasn’t used the Pulaski all that much during Covid times. One of the guiding principals for me during this interval has been the avoidance of other people. Given the increased population density of Hunters Point and Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section that has come with the real estate build out of the last twenty years…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the Greenpoint side, where McGuinness Blvd. slouches roughly downwards towards the waterfront. When the bridge was built, McGuinness Blvd. was created as a double wide “arterial” street designed to carry Brooklyn Queens Expressway bound traffic to Meeker Avenue, where the high speed road has travelled on an overpass since 1939. That overpass leads to another Robert Moses project – the Koscisuzcko Bridge – which leads to his 1940 vintage Long Island Expressway and his 1936 Grand Central Parkway.

It is no accident that the Pulaski and Kosciuszko bridges are named for Polish generals. Instead, it’s good politics, given the enormous community of Polish folks who live or lived in Greenpoint, Maspeth, and LIC’s Blissville.


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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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

dizzy precipitation

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seriously, how happy is a humble narrator when his pedestrian crossing of the Pulaski Bridge gets interrupted by the double bascule drawbridge opening up to allow a vessel navigating along the fabulous Newtown Creek to pass by below? Everybody else just gets annoyed at the obstacle, I get busy with the camera. Joy.

Luckily, just like at Sunnyside Yards where there’s seemingly an Amtrak employee whose duty revolves around creating and closing holes in the fences, there seems to be an analogous job title at the NYC DOT. Therefore, after getting my open Pulaski shot done, I went over to one of my favorite holes. (That last sentence sounds like a dirty series of sex metaphors, doesn’t it? I wonder… What sex act would be called an “open Pulaski”?)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At my favorite Pulaski hole – which I’m going to ask you to interpret literally – as in it’s a hole in the fence on the Pulaski Bridge – I saw a Long Island Rail Road engine pulling a train… wait… oh… damn it… everything I say is contaminated now…

If you’re nearby the LIRR’s Hunters Point rail yard you really only see trains moving around a couple of times a day, usually in the 2 or 3 hour long intervals known as “rush hour.” The trains leaving this yard cross Borden Avenue and enter the Sunnyside Yards coach yard, where connections to both Eastern Long Island and Manhattan can be accessed. The Long Island City based Hunters Point Yard is where the LIRR parks rolling stock during the day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, since I’m all vaxxed up I’ve been riding the subways again. I’m entertaining myself while waiting for Astoria bound N trains to arrive at Queens Plaza by working on capturing an “iconic” shot of the IRT Flushing line 7 trains entering the station on the high elevated tracks. I’ll be shooting this particular angle for a bit, in all kinds of different weather and at varying times of the day for a bit so there you are.

Funnily enough, when I pulled the camera down from my face I noticed that there was a cop quietly standing on either side of me. There was no encounter with the gendarmerie, but they did follow me onto the N train which I made it a point of riding to the last stop on. When the train rolled into the station I smiled, waved my hand at them, and reversed course.


“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.

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