The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Freedom Tower

equally silent

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On August 19th, one endeavored to scratch another one of the items off of my list of “I really should do this thing before I move away’s.”

Accordingly, I soon found myself in Lower Manhattan and heading for the One World Trade observatory deck. Personally, I’ve been put out since they stopped calling the 1,776 foot tall monument to National Tragedy “The Freedom Tower.”

A quick review of the observatory deck would involve offers of recrimination about reflection, refraction, and the usage of blue tinted glass for a thing designed to offer panoramic views of the greatest city in the history of mankind. The Observation Deck is a fairly difficult spot to shoot from because of those factors, and in comparison – both the Empire State Building and 30 Rock observatories allow you to be outside and unoccluded rather than caged up behind blue glass, so they’re better for the photographically inclined visitor to NYC. I haven’t done Hudson Yards’ overlook thing, and don’t plan to.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I was there in the early morning, about nine or so. The light when I first arrived was fairly abysmal, but it improved as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself wheeled about in the sky. I don’t know what the time limit is, as far as how long you can linger before getting the boot, but I guess I was up there shooting for about 90 minutes to two hours.

Naturally, the first thing I did was ascertain the location of Newtown Creek and get a wide angle shot of it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’ll see that Tug pictured above and framed by the Brooklyn Bridge at water level in a post later this week. It was the Joker (flagged out of Philadelphia) and she was headed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a barge full of what seemed to be sand.

As mentioned, the light began to change a bit as the burning orb moved through the vault of the sky. I also decided that I needed to compensate for the cold blue tint that the windows were causing, as seen above, and jacked up the color temperature on the camera to accomplish that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking northwards across Manhattan from the financial district towards midtown and the Empire State Building, I kept on laughing to myself about the “Midtown Manhattan needs to be denser” rhetorical arguments currently vomiting out of the Gubernatorial and Mayoral mansions.

We’re right on the precipice of “Blade Runner” style development these days. What was the answer to 9/11? Battery Park City and Luxury Condos. What was the answer to Sandy? Hudson Yards and Luxury Condos. Want to guess what NYC’s answer to Covid will be?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At any rate, looking across the dystopian shithole of residential Manhattan, which a generation of city planners will tell you is the solution rather than problem, and towards the ruinations of Hunters Point and Greenpoint’s intersection with Newtown Creek. In the distance at the top of the shot is Flushing Bay and the northeastern extants of the East River. You can just make out the Whitestone Bridge.

I did a quick lens swap at this point, and whipped out a “long” telephoto one which would allow for more “reach.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The tallest building in the shot, on the LIC or Queens side and roughly at center top, is the “Sven” at Queens Plaza. At dead center of the photo, dwarfed in modernity, is the 1992 Citigroup building – aka the Sapphire Megalith of LIC. Everyone of those giant structures except for the megalith have risen over just the last fifteen years, a build out unaccompanied by a similar rise in the number of Hospital Beds, Libraries, Police Stations, Fire Houses, or any significant increase in Sanitation or Sewerage capability.

Despite the promises of the City Planners, and the Real Estate Developers, despite all of this new inventory coming on line in the last 15 years, rents are at an all time high in NYC.

It’s the problem, not the solution, and if you believe in “trickle down real estate,” I can get you a great deal on the bridge pictured in the third slot on todays post.


“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, 2022 at 11:00 am

living thing

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Happy Birthday Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

History boy wise, one makes it a point of keeping track of certain things, and especially so when it involves one of the organizations that make life possible within the megalopolis. Centered on the Statue of Liberty, if you were to draw a 25 mile long line on a map of New York Harbor, then rotate it into a circle that encompasses roughly 1,500 square miles… you’d begin to form an idea of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s turf.

The first organization of its kind, and created on this day in 1921; Port Authority oversees tunnels, airports, cargo ports, sea ports, bridges, has an impressive real estate portfolio including the World Trade Center pictured above, operates train and bus stations, it’s own subway and freight rail lines, and operates a 1,700 member police organization which – in any other City – would be enormous.

As a note – PANYNJ is how the rest of this post is going to refer to the organization.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the PANYNJ’s George Washington Bridge pictured above.

Conflicts between the neighboring states of NY and NJ were a serious issue in the years leading up and including WW1, with squabbles over jurisdiction and competition for Federal funding getting in the way of “Progress” during the Progressive era. Modern day “progressives” don’t actually understand the term, I’m afraid. Back when it was coined, it was about streamlining and improving Government services, eliminating political corruption, and the scientific management of Government capital and resources to reduce wasted or duplicate effort. PANYNJ was formed specifically in the name of “Progress,” and to ensure economic growth in the bustling harbor cities of our archipelago.

Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson were the national figures leading this “Progressive” movement which gave birth to the high priests of “Progress” a generation later – Robert Moses, Austin Tobin, the Rockefeller brothers; David and Nelson. All saw the so called “middle class” as the key to American prosperity and growth, and they spent their lives creating institutions and infrastructure to promulgate an expansion of this demographic.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s PANYNJ’s Port Elizabeth Newark Global Marine Terminal pictured above, a small part of the third largest cargo port in the United States. After Wall Street, the actual wealth of NYC and NYS is entirely predicated on maritime trade. The Real Estate Industrial Complex of NYC is a comparative midget when you look at the economics of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Literally tens of billions of dollars of trade move through the facilities, with lots and lots of tax revenue extracted along the way.

The PANYNJ’s role in all this economic activity is to facilitate the physical plant of the port, ensure passage into the harbor via various maintenance functions like dredging and bridge maintenance and sometimes replacement, and to work with local shareholders. PANYNJ is authorized to issue bonds, borrow money, and act fairly independently of the political regimes in both states (although that last one is fairly debatable).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Outerbridge Crossing on the Arthur Kill, named for Eugenius Outerbridge of the New York Port Authority (which predates PANYNJ).

Bridges and Hudson River crossings owned and operated by PANYNJ include Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, GW Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing. They also run the PATH subway service, Port Authority and GW Bridge Bus Terminals. PANYNJ also owns the Expressrail network in New Jersey, a freight rail system.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

PANYNJ also operates NYC’s airports; including LaGuardia (pictured above), JFK, Newark, Atlantic City, Stewart International, and Teterboro.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s been one hell of a 98 years for this organization, huh?

This history boy, for one, looks forward to their centennial.


“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.

delighted astonishment

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A short trip off of a Long Island to… Staten Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at the St. George Ferry terminal, on the… Staten Island… side of the harbor, one is treated to magnificent views of Lower Manhattan and it’s a pretty sure bet that you’ll see some maritime traffic. Pictured above is the Vane Brothers Sassafras towing a fuel barge, for instance.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One such as myself is always eager to witness a DEP Sludge Boat splashing by. That’s the MV North River heading towards the Port Richmond sewer plant found a mile or so up the Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Marjorie B. McAllister also happened by, and the bright red tug was towing a fuel barge. Even when it seems that a tug is pushing a barge, it’s still called “towing.”

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

rattling and beating

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Meshuggenehs, all of us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An interesting exercise was undertaken recently, which involved the peeling back of hardened scabs and callouses. Whilst browsing the vast interwebs recently, a link carried me over to YouTube. A recording of “The Howard Stern show,” which was broadcasting live during the September 11th attacks, was perused. The reactions of Howard and his crew to the attacks as they happened put me in touch with my own experiences that day, and opened up an old wound. This touched off a spate of reviewing broadcasts, both news and scripted drama, produced in the aftermath of the attacks. One remembers the emotional numbness of the time, when it seemed that nothing would ever be funny again, and the paramount question of that moment in time – raised over and over – was “why do they hate us.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All these years later, the answers offered by the entertainment industry – whether asked by the hosts of what passes for news in our nation or as interpreted by dramaturges – boiled down to “freedom.” Aside from a childish lack of knowledge about the actual foreign policy of, and an unvarnished look at the actions of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, what struck me was the notion we held about ourselves back then. The general gist of what folks wanted in the months following the attacks was to “unleash” the CIA, and to teach the rest of the world “who’s the boss.” I guess we’ve got that now – with our fleets of flying robot assassins, institutional torture, and a gulag in Cuba. If you’ve got the time, I suggest you scan the web in a similar fashion, as it’s an interesting thing to see what our world was once like and how far we’ve travelled in a very short time. Remember “freedom fries”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An urban myth is put to rest, incidentally, in the shot above. “Ever notice how you never see a dead pidgeon” is the particular yarn, something I’ve heard repeated over and over. I see a LOT of dead pidgeons, and have photos to prove it. An urban myth which the September 11th attacks actually put to bed was the efficacy of the so called “Emergency Alert System,” whose tests interrupted television and radio broadcast throughout my childhood. It was nowhere to be found on 911, despite there being an actual emergency in my area. Additionally, the Emergency Alert System didn’t seem to activate during Hurricane Sandy either.

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enormous circumference

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Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, or perhaps Goldfinger’s yacht, I would presume…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last weekend, a humble narrator was out on the water, and this luxury yacht was encountered nearby the Statue of Liberty. Painted on the hull is the legend “Altessa IV,” which a bit of googling has revealed as being the property of a fellow named Dennis Washington. A Montana businessman of some note, calling Mr. Washington’s vessel a mere yacht does the thing a disservice. This is an incredible ship (an accurate description, as Altessa lV can actually launch two smaller vessels from within her hold). Also, there’s a helicopter deck.

Apparently, Mr. Washington lent the thing to Bill Gates for a family vacation to Belize back in 2012.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To me, it looks like this ship is ready to jump into the air and transform into some sort of giant fighting robot, but I’m an idiot.

Forbes got onboard, and there’s a great set of shots by Neil Rabinowitz that detail the interior spaces onboard here. Boatinternational.com also hosts a set of images from the same photographer, which can be viewed here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Luxury yachts are not normally something I point out, but the Altessa lV was a striking ship. As to what I was doing on the water, suffice it to say that I was circumnavigating Staten Island with the Working Harbor Committee and let’s leave it at that.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Walking Tours-

Saturday, October 25th, Glittering Realms
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

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