The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Flushing Creek

unholy ways

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Returning to Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off, I’m beginning to figure this place out after having developed an interest in it earlier this year. Secondly, I wish that there were parts of my particular highly industrialized and polluted waterway that looked this good. This is an intertidal zone, with a sandy beach that leads into a marsh. There’s all sorts of evidence of filter feeding shellfish, lots of birds doing bird stuff, and expansive mats of algae everywhere you look. I imagine that if you were to shovel down a few feet, the ground would be teeming with all sorts of invertebrates and creepy crawlies. In many ways, this shoreline reminds me of the Jamaica Bay waterfront which I used to explore when I was a kid in South East Brooklyn.

I have got to find somebody willing to let me get into a rowboat with them on Flushing Creek this summer. If you’re that someone, get in touch.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Moving away from the water, and over into the parlor of the House of Moses, those highway ramps you see are (I think) the Northern Blvd. offramp of and the main stem of the Whitestone Expressway or “678.” The higher one on the right with the blue paint should be 678, but as I’m ignorant of exactly where the Van Wyck ends and the Whitestone starts, take that with a grain of salt. As mentioned, I’m still figuring this area out. If a google maps link helps, this shot was gathered right about here.

Apparently, this spot is often utilized by folks who want to smoke the weed, drink the drinks, or just do anything they want to without prying eyes. There’s lots of interesting graffiti on the pylons holding up the highway ramps, but otherwise it’s kind of a muddy no man’s land here in the House of Moses.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s all for this week, lords and ladies. This weekend, I’ll be conducting the Newtown Creekathon with my pal Will on Sunday, so a humble narrator will likely be fairly crippled afterwards.

There’s a few NYC anniversaries happening next week for those of you who like to “nerd out” about such things – on Monday the 29th, the Bronx Whitestone Bridge will turn 90, and on April 30 of 1921 The Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey officially opened for business. Additionally, on the 1st of May in 1931, the Empire State Building opened its doors.


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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.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 26, 2019 at 2:00 pm

schoolboys swapping

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Iron Triangle behind, Flushing Creek ahead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots presented this week at this – your Newtown Pentacle – we’re gathered whilst attending a walk presented by the NYC H2O outfit. We started on Roosevelt Avenue, proceeded through what remains of the Iron Triangle at Willets Point, and then looped down and around towards Flushing Creek. This entire area is what I’d define as the “House of Moses,” as in Robert Moses. Pedestrian unfriendly, few if any points of access to the waterfront, and the needs of high speed roads and automotive “flow” given prominence over all other considerations.

The group negotiated the various on and off ramps of the surrounding highways and we headed towards Northern Blvd. where there’s an opportunity to get down to the waterfront.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along the way, we encountered this late model fire engine which had an RV motor home hitched up to it. Signage adorning both fire engine and motor home indicated that it was the property of the “Ministry of Abraham,” which a humble narrator surmised as being a Korean church of some kind (a no shit sherlock level deduction offered there, the signage had Korean lettering alongside the english).

Before I got to know anybody who was ethnically Korean (when I was a kid), I always figured that Buddhism or some other “asian” faith was dominant in that part of the world. Turns out that there’s a pretty significant Protestant and Evangelical Christian population amongst those folks. Assumptions like that one is something I try to avoid as an adult. It’s where that part of me which gregariously sidles up to strangers and starts chatting with them has evolved out of.

The more you know, amirite?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the nice things about attending somebody else’s tour of somebody else’s highly polluted industrial waterway is that I get to interact with people who came on one of my walking tours, and reconnect with others whom I haven’t seen in a while. At Flushing Creek, I suddenly noticed that a friend I haven’t seen in maybe eight years was there, and a few people I’d walked around Newtown Creek came over and reintroduced themselves.

Tomorrow, more from Flushing Creek.


“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.


Events!

The Third Annual, All Day, 100% Toxic, Newtown Creekathon. April 28th.

The Creekathon will start at Hunter’s Point South in LIC, and end at the Kingsland Wildflowers rooftop in Greenpoint. It will swing through the neighborhoods of LIC, Blissville, Maspeth, Ridgewood, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Greenpoint, visiting the numerous bridges that traverse the Creek. While we encourage folks to join us for the full adventure, attendees are welcome to join and depart as they wish. A full route map and logistics are forthcoming.This is an all day event. Your guides on this 12+ mile trek will be Mitch Waxman and Will Elkins of the Newtown Creek Alliance, and some of their amazing friends will likely show up along the way.

Click here to attend.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

radical profundity

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Wrapping up at Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Ignorance is bliss.

As described in prior posts, one found his way down onto the sand at Flushing Creek, which was a fairly intriguing spot. I’ve already made inquiries with one of my paddler buddies about who I have to talk to in order to get on the water in a rowboat or something back here, so stay tuned as the weather gets warmer and the plants start turning green again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As also mentioned, I’m trying to stay a bit ignorant about conditions and history back here for the moment, but at first flush there are a very different set of environmental issues hereabouts when compared with my beloved Newtown Creek. Everywhere I looked, there were shellfish clinging to this and that all along the intertidal or littoral zone. My ignorance is willful, as I just want to wander around and take pictures.

Of course, I’m entirely ignorant… about… kinds… of… shellfish… speciation… of… No!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A lot of the talk centering around the Superfund Rememdiation process on my beloved Creek has discussed the creation of wetland habitat not dissimilar to what’s pictured above. Hopefully, the illegal dumping and wind blown trash won’t be part of the final equation in Long Island City or Greenpoint.

I wonder how long that truss bridge is… how high… average daily traffic… about who built… NO! My ignorance will not be pierced… I refuse!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personally speaking, it was actually quite a bit of fun for a humble narrator to see new things, given how much time I devote to chronicling the western end of the Newtown Pentacle. Yes, Flushing has always been on my map, but there’s always been something else to do which is closer to home.

Akkk… is that the Van Wyck… Grand Central… something that ends in a “78”… IGNORANCE!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pal Val and I left the beach and proceeded up onto the Northern Blvd. truss bridge leading to downtown Flushing and what, by this point, would be a well deserved and very affordable luncheon meal at a Chinese restaurant in the downtown area.

Even on a weekday winter afternoon, throngs of shoppers were marching about, and the streets of downtown Flushing were quite crowded. The neighborhood BIDS and the Chambers of Commerce of Western Queens could learn a thing or two at the end of the 7 Line, I think. Managers and promoters of dying or moribund commercial strips like Steinway Street – for instance – should study Roosevelt Avenue, and Prince or Main Street. In terms of street level retail activity and abundant small businesses, Flushing is popping. What do I know? I’m largely ignorant.

Down by the water though, it’s the usual story.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Government owned shorelines with fenced off industrial facilities, too few businesses taking advantage of those precious maritime bulkheads. Has to be all kinds of yuck in the water… Flushing Creek itself is situated at a locus of high speed roads, the 7 line… Arrggggghhhh… I almost just looked up Flushing Creek… NO!

I shall maintain my ignorance… I will not… I…

Back tomorrow with something completely different at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2019 at 12:30 pm

awkward signatures

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On the sand at Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After having successfully navigated my way to the water’s edge at Flushing Creek through an open gate, a humble narrator (and my pal Val, who was game for this particular caper) proceeded off the concrete and down onto the sand. As mentioned previously, I’m intentionally staying dumb about the Flushing Creek waterway – for now – as it’s entirely novel to me to “know” nothing about something and I want to preserve that as long as possible. It’s philosophic with me, ignorance, and it’s difficult to preserve. Every year, I play my “Super Bowl Challenge,” which is prophylactic in terms of information regarding the big game. I don’t want to know when, where, who… anything. It’s more difficult to know nothing than everything about something these days.

A challenge I’m several years into, as a note, is the Lady Gaga challenge. I know nothing about Lady Gaga other than her name. Never looked at a photo, listened to a song, wouldn’t recognize her if she was sitting next to me. No animosity against the house of Gaga is offered, of course, it’s just extremely challenging to remain completely ignorant of somebody is who apparently a huge pop star – and it’s a challenge I accept. I guess I know she’s a pop star.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By my standards, which are set to a high bar by that legendary exemplar of urban neglect which is the Newtown Creek, things didn’t look too bad around here. There were all sorts of garbage, dumping, broken pipes like the one above encountered… but… I mean… Maspeth Creek… y’know?

Part of the reason I wanted to come here during the brown and brittle months of the winter, incidentally, involved the lessened chances of encountering biting insects and ticks in particular. Got to imagine that there are clouds of mosquitos and black flies around this spot during the summer months.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was some sort of ruggose canvas placed on the shoreline, no doubt an attempt at fighting erosion of the sandy beach. The good news is that said canvas created a hard pack surface which was easy to walk on. We were visiting Flushing Creek at the low tide interval of the daily cycle, so lots and lots of shoreline was revealed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Modern day Flushing, with its massive “Hong Kong” style real estate developments, provided a backdrop for the scene. Like LIC, this “other” end of the 7 line in Queens has been growing exponentially in recent years. Manhattan’s Chinatown has been relegated to history’s dustbin, a relic of a forgotten age in NYC. Flushing is where it’s at these days, as far as where Chinese people live and work, and the place is being remodeled according to their tastes and preferences.

The “American Way” at work.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

We proceeded back along Flushing Creek for a bit, and the further that we went in the direction of Roosevelt Avenue, the more marshy the ground became. Brush and grasses became thicker, and salt water streams punctuated the foliage with increasing frequency. The sound of traffic on the nearby highways and area streets were the only non naturally generated sounds, other than the occasional passage of a 7 Line train set on the overhead trackage which carries the subway to and from Flushing’s Main Street.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were oodles and oodles of birds flapping around, and I’m sure that at night this part of Flushing Creek would be crawling with Raccons and Rats and all sorts of nocturnal critters doing their thing.

More tomorrow, at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

helpless resignation

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Getting to Flushing Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the mouth of a waterway, or so I’m told, which is called Flushing Creek. As a note, I’m not going to be going all “history boy” on Flushing for a bit. The reasoning behind that particular statement involves not wanting to kill the fun of discovery for me, as I’m willfully coming at this waterway “cold.” Haven’t read up on it, talked to the locals in any sort of detailed fashion, pored through dusty old books, or even hit the Wikipedia page for it. This stance is assumed in the name of not having any preconceptions regarding the place, and is an attempt to preserve some sort of joy before getting all “heavy” with the researched facts and details that I inevitably will get curious enough to learn. At the moment, I’m rolling on “vibe.” Like most of the water found on the forbidden northern coast of Queens, Flushing Creek requires you to display some level of “intent” to consciously reach it.

There’s a point of pedestrian access, however, which I stumbled across.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Passing through an open gate under the Northern Blvd. bridge, there’s a well worn footpath which allows some access to the sandy beach and grassy marsh shoreline. The first thing encountered down there, between the highways and overpasses, was a singular shoe. It would seem that the Queens Cobbler has also felt a bit of wanderlust during the winter months of 2019, and got here first.

Previous conversations with (the few) people I know that live in Flushing indicate that there is zero access to the shorelines, which is something that I can now report isn’t true. Zero “official” access is more accurate.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the shoreline found alongside the Van Wyck and its off ramps, and between Northern Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue. As mentioned above, there was a pretty well worn footpath down here. There was also evidence of habitation at various points along the footpath, including a shredded hammock and other bedding. Under the highway ramps, there were coolers and other indications that somebody was living down here. I did spot some fellow sleeping one off with his back up against the highway retaining wall, but I got the sense that he was just enjoying an afternoon siesta. I’ve been told about insalubrious gatherings occurring down here which I definitely don’t want to be a part of, but that’s just rumor for me at this particular moment so… pfahh.

More tomorrow. 


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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm

peculiar shaking

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Heading back home.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having switched my camera over from “long exposure” to “hand held” night settings and lenses, the Northern Blvd. truss bridge carried an official part of the Flushing Bay Promenade which led back to residential Flushing. The next time that I come back here, and I’m planning on it, I’m going to setup the tripod and long exposure kit up here and see what happens. The walkway is shared with a bike path, so I’ll have to take care not to present too big a footprint and ensure that I’m “visible” to oncoming bikes.

You can talk till you’re blue in the face to the bicycle fanatics, but they’ll never acknowledge that bicycles are vehicles. Why they love to infringe vehicle infrastructure onto pedestrian area pavement is beyond me. They also insist that they shouldn’t “have” to wear bike helmets. I insist that you shouldn’t have to wear shoes, but you’re walking around NYC, so it’s probably a good idea. Doesn’t matter, they’re not from here, and will move away when the decade long real estate bubble bursts to start trouble somewhere else.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shots in today’s post are high ISO and wide aperture ones, which report something fairly close to what the scene looked like to the naked eye. Dark, essentially. This jibes with what I’m always told by people who spend their time – or grew up – in this section of Queens around Flushing Creek. It’s hidden, largely inaccessible and locked away behind chain link fences, something that is experienced from a distance. Sounds a lot like my beloved Newtown Creek, huh?

This section around Northern Blvd. actually reminded me a lot of Industrial Maspeth, or Dutch Kills in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Next week, I’m hoping to take you to some places more familiar, as my post polar vortex schedule (this post is being written on Tuesday night, just before midnight… Hello world of the future!) offers many diversions in Astoria and Long Island City. I’m also meaning to head into the City for a short spell and take some pictures of a thing.

You never can tell where I’m going next, I sure can’t.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 25, 2019 at 11:00 am

rested uneasily

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Flushing Creek at night.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s not Flushing Creek in the shot above, rather it’s part of a largish NYC DOT facility that adjoins it. I’m fairly sure that the elevated roadway to the left is the Whitstone Expressway and that the one on the right is Interstate Highway 678, which is odd since 678 never leaves NY State and actually connects the Bronx and Queens with the Hutchinson, but there’s Robert Moses for you. There’s a tangled cloverleaf of high speed roads here – where East Elmhurst, Willets and College Points, and Flushing combine. As mentioned earlier in the week, I call this the area “where boulevards collide.” It’s all very confusing, and one of the least pedestrian friendly spots in the entire city.

There is a protected bike lane, though, because… priorities…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An open fence allowed access to the water at Flushing Creek, alternatively known as the Flushing River. This shot looks sort of westward along the industrialized canal. Both Flushing Bay and Creek have all the usual environmental issues – I’m told – involving open sewers and post industrial pollution that are commonly observed along NYC’s inland waterways like the Gowanus or my beloved Newtown Creek.

Again, I’m not overly familiar with this “zone.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I believe that’s Northern Blvd. up there, on the truss bridge over Flushing Creek. This shot is looking towards “Downtown Flushing” and the Main Street area. I intend to get to know this waterway quite a bit better in the coming months, as I’m always looking for something new to point my camera at, and to learn more about the Borough of Queens.

More tomorrow.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 24, 2019 at 11:00 am

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