The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Empire State Building

deeds and aspect

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photos by Mitch Waxman

For this Maritime Sunday, check out the show (visible from the infinities of Brooklyn) which was playing out on the East River last Friday.

What you’re seeing are two Moran Tugs- The Doris Moran and the James Turecamo- towing a floating dry dock past midtown. The Caddell company’s gargantuan… dare I say cyclopean… equipment is an amazing maritime structure. A floating dry dock will submerge itself, whereupon a boat will be floated into position over it, and the structure will rise up and capture the vessel. The dry dock will fully resurface and lift the ship into the air, allowing repairs and maintenance to be performed.

– photos by Mitch Waxman

Here’s a shot of a tug undergoing repair on another one of Cadell’s drydocks at the Kill Van Kull.

Upcoming tours:

The Insalubrious Valley– Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

ornate and exotic

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Maddeningly, lucky captures like the ones featured in today’s posting have been pretty rare for me of late, but here’s three from the proverbial “right place, right time.” Whilst crossing the devastations of Laurel Hill last week, enroute to a meeting in Brooklyn, those dense atmospheric conditions which had all but occluded the visual presence of Manhattan, just an hour earlier, suddenly cleared up. The burning thermonuclear eye of god itself omnipotently bathed the accursed earth in its radiation, driving away the rain laden clouds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I was skulking and scuttling the periphery, along an obscure pavement, of the polyandrion of the Roman Catholic Church- called Calvary. Bearing witness to this sudden explosion of majesty and inadvertent stage lighting, for one such as myself, was fraught with danger. Having grown increasingly nocturnal over the winter months, your humble narrator let slip an audibly fearful hiss when that light- which had traveled 93 million miles in seconds and was aimed directly at me- struck my shadow tempered skin. At once, I was moving eastward- and toward safe harbor in the perennial shadows of DUKBO (Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp) scuttled I.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, as it was late in the day, this luminous event was short lived and the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself now floated low to the horizon in the northwestern sky. Enormous volatility in the air and surrounding cloud systems lent an effusive quality to its emanations, which oddly framed the so called Freedom Tower- a megalith nearing completion on the site of national tragedy and aspiration. To one such as myself, however, such things are better left for others to contemplate, enjoy, and discuss. There is no place for me in the company of others. My place is here, along the Newtown Creek, and amongst the tomb legions.

partly delirious

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently spotted as it plied the estuarine expanses of the East River, the Vane Brothers Sassafras Tug. Your humble narrator was onboard an East River Ferry, heading from Manhattan to Greenpoint, and spotted the tug moving iconically along the strait.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the dim past of industrial supremacy, this was one of the busiest stretches of aqua firma in the world, and it is truly a condemnation upon our modern civilization that the passing of a tug and barge along its expanses is something remarkable. A blogger of a century ago would have been limited to monographs, of course, but such a creature would have found very little to say about such a thing. In modernity, it would be like commenting on the passing of a common truck.


Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

unvocal waves

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent business carried me into Manhattan, to a meeting where the alcohol flowed freely and afterwards your humble narrator found himself more than a little tipsy. In prior times of plenty, a taxi might have been hired to carry my besotted husk back to Astoria, but as dire financial circumstances demand- it would be the subway that would ferry me home.

The assignation that night was right in the middle of rich people country, Lexington Avenue in the high 30’s, so the drinks were far better than the usual swill I quaff.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Making my way through Times Square, by this point more than just a little tipsy and edging on drunk, the notion of attempting a few night shots entered my fevered mind. As mentioned in several prior posts, this is something “I’m working on”. A difficult endeavor under normal circumstance, low light photography is especially interesting after several cocktails have been imbibed over a short interval.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luckily, I’ve never felt inhibited taking “street shots” of strangers, and have often been chided for walking right up to people and just starting to click away. Of course, embarrassment ruled over me the next morning, as I found a series of cliche “Times Square Street Photography” shots had been captured in my stupor.

Back to the sobering realities of the Newtown Creek for me.


Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

fear eclipses

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The warmth was welcome, but the mists and fog were not. Multiple journeys into and out of the concrete devastations of the Newtown Creek watershed in recent weeks have garnered nothing but terror for your humble narrator. What unknown things, too small to notice, might have been carried aloft by those vapors? After all, if you can smell something… you are breathing it in.

That thing which cannot possibly exist in the cupola of the Sapphire Megalith was surely unaffected by those whose flapping and flopping might be observed only with the aid of microscopy, in its perch high above the mists.

I’m all ‘effed up.

from wikipedia

Delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom’s syndrome, is a form of psychosis whose victims acquire a strong delusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present. Very often the imaginary parasites are reported as being “bugs” or insects crawling on or under the skin; in these cases the experience of the sensation known as formication may provide the basis for this belief.

The alternative name of Ekbom’s syndrome derives from Swedish neurologist Karl Axel Ekbom, who published seminal accounts of the disease in 1937 and 1938. This term is also used interchangeably with Wittmaack-Ekbom syndrome, another name for restless legs syndrome (RLS). Although delusional parasitosis and RLS were both researched by Ekbom, and RLS sufferers sometimes describe some of their symptoms as if they have, for example, “ants in my veins”, they are distinctly different disorders. RLS is a physical condition with physical causes, whereas delusional parasitosis is a false belief.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Intimate associates and clandestine confidants have been acting oddly since those foggy days during the third week of March, leading me to experience entirely uncontrollable and unpermissive pulsations of paranoid wondering. It was so odd, experiencing the weather of early summer at this stage of the year, imparting a sensation to me that we had all somehow skipped ahead a month or two in time according to the whim of some extra dimensional overlord- but only for a short interval.

Perhaps time itself has come undone.

from wikipedia

The Capgras delusion theory (or Capgras syndrome) is a disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor. The Capgras delusion is classified as a delusional misidentification syndrome, a class of delusional beliefs that involves the misidentification of people, places, or objects. It can occur in acute, transient, or chronic forms. Cases in which patients hold the belief that time has been “warped” or “substituted” have also been reported.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mayhaps it was was the influence of whatever it was that arose on the billowing fog that caused my reason to falter and imaginings to take on a sinister cast. The miasmic clouds which blanketed and caressed could not have been anything more than mere humidity, not some noxious atmosphere of industrial exhaust and foul microscopic life clinging to those tiny water droplets hanging suspended in the air. Such wonderings are merely paranoia, but one wonders… and more than wonders…

from wikipedia

Between people of different faiths, or indeed between people of the same faith, the term omnipotent has been used to connote a number of different positions. These positions include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • A deity is able to do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible, i.e., ( 2 ) pure agency.
    • A deity is able to do anything that it chooses to do.
    • A deity is able to do anything that is in accord with its own nature (thus, for instance, if it is a logical consequence of a deity’s nature that what it speaks is truth, then it is not able to lie).
    • Hold that it is part of a deity’s nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for said deity to go against its own laws unless there was a reason to do so.
    • A deity is able to do anything that corresponds with its omniscience and therefore with its worldplan.

Under many philosophical definitions of the term “deity”, senses 2, 3 and 4 can be shown to be equivalent. However, on all understandings of omnipotence, it is generally held that a deity is able to intervene in the world by superseding the laws of physics, since they are not part of its nature, but the principles on which it has created the physical world. However many modern scholars (such as John Polkinghorne) hold that it is part of a deity’s nature to be consistent and that it would be inconsistent for a deity to go against its own laws unless there were an overwhelming reason to do so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator must simply be drinking too much coffee.

from wikipedia

Caffeine overdose can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication (DSM-IV 305.90), or colloquially the “caffeine jitters”. The symptoms of caffeine intoxication are comparable to the symptoms of overdoses of other stimulants: they may include restlessness, fidgeting, anxiety, excitement, insomnia, flushing of the face, increased urination, gastrointestinal disturbance, muscle twitching, a rambling flow of thought and speech, irritability, irregular or rapid heart beat, and psychomotor agitation. In cases of much larger overdoses, mania, depression, lapses in judgment, disorientation, disinhibition, delusions, hallucinations, or psychosis may occur, and rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue) can be provoked.


Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly at this year’s Obscura Day event on April 28th, leading a walking tour of Dutch Kills. The tour is already a third booked up, and as I’m just announcing it, grab your tickets while you can.

“Found less than one mile from the East River, Dutch Kills is home to four movable (and one fixed span) bridges, including one of only two retractible bridges remaining in New York City. Dutch Kills is considered to be the central artery of industrial Long Island City and is ringed with enormous factory buildings, titan rail yards — it’s where the industrial revolution actually happened. Bring your camera, as the tour will be revealing an incredible landscape along this section of the troubled Newtown Creek Watershed.”

For tickets and full details, click here :

hollow phantoms

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Empire State Building 2010 from the oiled shadows of Borden Avenue, Queens – photo by Mitch Waxman

They want to build a competitor to the Empire State Building? The mayor says it’s good for the City?

Forgive my french, but this is one mighty fucking ugly building the oligarchs are going to build, imho. I’d rather see a 20 story fire breathing statue of Mike Bloomberg that proclaims “Remember Me” erected. Well, its finally starting to happen to Manhattan, this odd experience that has been felt by those of us in the lesser boroughs for the last few years.

I wonder where the money to build this monster will be coming from, and how much of the public dime will go into its construction.


We know hackers and preservationists are staunchly opposed to Vornado’s 15 Penn Plaza, because the 1,216-foot Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed tower would replace McKim Mead & White’s notable-if-not-renowned Hotel Pennsylvania. Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, is also not a fan for the simple reason that Malkin Holdings is holding the Empire State Building. And its views would most likely be compromised by 15 Penn Plaza. Malkin is now speaking out against the project, under the aegis of a group calling itself Friends of the New York City Skyline, a posse which also includes MAS, the Historic Districts Council, and the Landmarks Conservancy. It may be too little, too late.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 25, 2010 at 4:43 am

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