The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘East Williamsburg

hellish sabbat

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happy Thanksgiving week, which I’m taking off. Single image posts will greet you between now and Monday the 30th of November. I’ll be out taking pictures, in between dodging microbiotal clouds of expirant and looking over my shoulders for other sources of existential danger.

Today’s photo depicts an imaginary municipal waste truck nearby Newtown Creek over in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburgh section. Why is it imaginary? Long story, ask me when and why if you ever see me again.

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, November 23rd. 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.


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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 25, 2020 at 11:00 am

Project Firebox 94

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An ongoing catalog of New York’s endangered Fireboxes.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This soldier of the realm is found at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in infinite Brooklyn, not too far from the darkest of those hillside thickets found along the Newtown Creek- which is its tributary English Kills. This is is Bushwick, historically, but the area has come to called East Williamsburg in modernity- a term which has zero historical precedence. Of course, ask a realtor where Williamsburg ends these days and they’ll tell you Lake Ronkonkoma.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 26, 2013 at 7:30 am

peculiar erudition

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Neither Tea nor Tiger…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After Richard Croker and the Tammany crew in Manhattan managed to beg, borrow, and steal enough support and patronage in Albany and around the independent municipalities which they successfully consolidated into the City of Greater New York in 1898, they had bills to pay. Tammany paid its way by handing out open ended municipal contracts, and in 1903, one them was called the Grand Street Bridge. The slogans bandied about by the local politicians who were not playing ball with the Manhattan crowd was “Keep the Tiger out of Queens,” or “Neither Tea nor Tiger.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the run up to the consolidation, which was decided by a special election, a banner hung nearby this spot which admonished that were the Tammany crowd to gain control of Queens and Brooklyn they would create a wasteland of noxious industries, cemeteries, and trash heaps here. Back then, it was called Whites Dock, and the swampy wetlands were described as being thick with fish and mussels as late as the 1880’s.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The first bridge here, a wooden drawbridge was erected in 1875, followed by a second wood bridge erected in 1890. The modern day Grand Street Bridge over Newtown Creek was opened in 1903, was built by the King Bridge Co. and is a swing bridge. A swing bridge is s structure that pivots 90 degrees on a mechanical turntable, allowing maritime traffic egress by opening an aperture. Grand Street Bridge is the frontline, the DMZ, of the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Project Firebox 62

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This graffito clad sentinel is found on Conselyea Street.

A tough guy, this box has stood its ground like any native son of infinite Brooklyn. When trouble pops up, it’s the first one to let the bosses know what threatens the neighborhood. They keep him out here on the corner to remind everyone back home that someone is always looking out.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 9, 2013 at 12:15 am

strange narratives

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Work is under way on certain subjects of a rather esoteric nature around HQ this week. A good amount of my attention is being focused on the particular section of Newtown Creek bulkhead pictured above, an area whose street facing side adjoins 47th street between Grand Avenue and 58th road. This was part of the aluminum manufacturing operation conducted by the ALCOA corporation during the second world war, spoken of at length by the departed Frank Principe. A general call for information is put forward to surviving Maspethicans and Blissvilians for any information which they might possess on the area- contact me here if you’ve got any tales to tell about the place which you can share.

I’m aware that the “office” to the plant was on the corner of 49th street at 47-10 Grand Avenue, incidentally, and know a bit about the heavy FBI presence during the 1940’s which area wags commented upon contemporaneously.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing over from Queens to the Brooklyn side of the bridge, where Grand Avenue transmogrifies into Grand Street, one finds first a large shipping hub commensurate with dozens of trucks and then the Charles J. King scrap metal operation. The truck yard, it seems, occupies the footprint of a factory which built and sold prefabricated houses- a novel concept in the early 20th century. They would assemble an entire dwelling on site and then ship it out via truck or rail to all points of the compass.

An operation of some size and reputation, this is another part of the story here in DUGSBO which is in the process of research and production.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Additionally, it would seem that the enormous Feldman lumber operation on Grand Street has been a lumber yard for literally more than a century- the business and parcel merely changing hands over the years. I’ve seen photos!

The process of discovering the history and presenting the same in a cogent fashion isn’t something which one commits to in the fashion of a police detective, at least not for your humble narrator.

It is odd sometimes, for the Newtown Creek seemingly does not like giving its secrets up easily, nor in a timely fashion that is suitable for publication.

The story of the place instead oozes out of the pages of wormy newspapers and elder tomes, suggesting rather than describing an answer to the eternal question- “who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?”.

Also- Upcoming Newtown Creek tours and events:

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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