The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Governor Andrew Cuomo

mysterious archways

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Kosciuszcko Bridge opening ceremony, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All the fancy people showed up along my beloved Newtown Creek on Wednesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office had sent out the invitations, and I was lucky enough to receive one. Our Governor really knows how to put on a show, it should be mentioned, and what a show it was. The invitation discussed him “cutting the ribbon” on the deck of the brand new Kosciuszcko Bridge, and along with a few hundred onlookers and a gaggle of media people, that’s just what he did.

For a whole lot of Brooklyn and Queens people, this event signaled the end of a long process, including myself. I’ve been taking pictures of this operation for nearly a decade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Documenting this project has been a long standing project of mine – this 2012 post tells you everything you could want to know about Robert Moses, Fiorella LaGuardia, and the origins of the 1939 model Kosciuszcko Bridge.

Just before construction started, I swept through both the Brooklyn and Queens sides of Newtown Creek in the area I call “DUKBO” – Down Under the Kosciuszcko Bridge Onramp. Here’s a 2014 post, and another, showing what things used to look like on the Brooklyn side, and one dating back to 2010, and from 2012 discussing the Queens side – this. Construction started, and this 2014 post offers a look at things.

There’s shots from the water of Newtown Creek, in this June 2015 post, and in this September 2015 post, which shows the bridge support towers rising. Additionally, this post from March of 2016 detailed the action on the Queens side. Most recently, here’s one from May of 2016, and one from June of the same year. Here’s one from August of 2016the December 2016 one, one from March of 2017 which discusses the demolition of the 1939 bridge.

Here’s a post showing what I saw during a pre opening walk through in early April of 2017, and the fanfare surrounding the opening of half of the new bridge in April of 2017, a walk through of the Brooklyn side job site in June of 2017. Here’ssome night shots from early July of 2017. A series of posts focused in on the removal of the central truss of the 1939 bridge from the summer of 2017 – a timelapse, some stills, and the barging out of the truss.

More recently, in late September of 2017, a final series of shots of the old bridge were captured in this post. Acquisition of a souvenir chunk of steel from the 1939 bridge was described in this post, and a video of the “energetic felling” of the approaches on October 1st was offered in this one. Still shots and views of the aftermath from the waters of Newtown Creek from later in the day on Oct. 1 are found in this posting, and the aftermath of the demolition as seen from Calvary Cemetery in LIC’s Blissville section in this post from October 5th. This post from December of 2017 closed out an event filled year in DUKBO, and a visit to the site at night is described in this March of 2018 post. Another progress report was offered in June of 2018. A nocturnal visit occurred in December of 2018, a short post from January of 2019, and also one from February of 2019. Most recently, in August of 2019, I made another night time visit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There were speeches from familiar faces – NYS Assemblymembers Cathy Nolan and Joe Lentol spoke. The audience included a series of political “powers that be,” including political bosses like Frank Seddio and Congressman Greg Meeks. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was there, as were Council Members Steve Levin and Bob Holden. There were a bunch of politicians there whom I’ve never associated with Newtown Creek in the past, but there you are.

Andrew Cuomo draws a crowd, and he brought his Mom along as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rain threatened, but the skies held out during the speech making section of the event. Experience has taught me not to sit down during these sort of things, as you get stuck in the chair and all of your photos will end up being from the same point of view. My constant milling about earned some “hairy eyeball” action from the dozens of NYS Troopers and Gubernatorial Security people, but they must’ve figured that a humble narrator was harmless.

Truth be told, I kept on thinking about how I was just standing there on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If you include planning and funding this project – decades in the making – the various elected officials finally gathered to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the final stage of the K Bridge project. The ceremony ended, although there would be a celebratory cocktail hour later that night, and the crowd began to disperse.

I didn’t take a single picture at the afterparty, btw., having decided that I just wanted to enjoy the moment for once. There was a light show highlighting the new bridge, and Billy Joel was simulcast from a live concert at Madison Square Garden. Mr. Joel mentioned the bridge, his affection for the Governor, and then played his anthemic “New York State of Mind” while the light show was presented.

Luckily, a friend gave me a ride home from Maspeth afterwards, and I didn’t have to walk or spend money on a cab.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The pedestrian and bicycle section of the Kosciuszcko Bridge is everything which I’ve been hoping it would be, visually speaking. One will be spending a LOT of time up there in the coming weeks as I’ve been hungering for unhurried access to this vantage point for literally years.

One made his way back to Laurel Hill Blvd. and eventually Astoria by walking northwards along it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, I did have to hurry, as shortly after the ceremony ended, the clouds did indeed burst and rain began falling.

In actuality, it was more of precipitating mist when the photos above and below were captured. That’s when the clouds are scraping along the roof and tree tops and there aren’t raindrops – per se – but the air is full of droplets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Yessiree, I’m going to be inhabiting this walkway for most of September. Can’t wait to do a walk through at night as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Frankly, it’s been a lucky stroke for me that this project has occurred practically in my back yard. Even more so that it crosses my beloved Newtown Creek.

Now… what’s next?


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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

August 30, 2019 at 11:05 am

several persons

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It’s National Chocolate Parfait Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m always excited when people come to Newtown Creek to spend some time with me, but for some reason it always ends in a cloak of darkness punctuated only by the flashing of red and blue lights and the presence of law enforcement. Last Thursday, the 27th of April, was no exception to this tradition. That was the day that Governor Andrew Cuomo returned to Newtown Creek to celebrate the opening of the triumphant new Kosciuszcko Bridge.

Luckily for me, and you, and the historic record – a humble narrator was on the scene.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A habit, one arrived earlier than the appointed time for the event. I’m on the Stakeholders Advisory Committee, but somehow made it onto the first shuttle bus to the event with the press corps. That gave me a few minutes to wander about and get the lighting conditions figured out, and more than one or two shots of Newtown Creek from the bridge were acquired, since I was just waiting for the event to start.

Documenting this project has been a long standing project of mine – this 2012 post tells you everything you could want to know about Robert Moses, Fiorella LaGuardia, and the origins of the 1939 model Kosciuszko Bridge. Just before construction started, I swept through both the Brooklyn and Queens sides of Newtown Creek in the area I call “DUKBO” – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp. Here’s a 2014 post, and another, showing what things used to look like on the Brooklyn side, and one dating back to 2010, and from 2012 discussing the Queens side – this. Construction started, and this 2014 post offers a look at things. There’s shots from the water of Newtown Creek, in this June 2015 post, and in this September 2015 post, which shows the bridge support towers rising. Additionally, this post from March of 2016 detailed the action on the Queens side. Most recently, here’s one from May of 2016, and one from June of the same year. Here’s one from August of 2016the December 2016 one, and finally . Here’s another from March of 2017 which discusses the demolition of the 1939 bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Suddenly, marching bands began to appear. This troupe danced their way over from Greenpoint.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This troop marched in from the Queens side, which is in West Maspeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One does love a parade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A whole passel of people began to appear from both sides of the new bridge, including this contingent of elected officialdom and VIP’s from Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The security people and the folks from Albany got everyone into their places, and I crouched down with a bunch of other camera wielders as a 1932 Packard Limo which used to belong to Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived on the scene.

Andrew Cuomo had returned to the Newtown Creek, in style.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The last time that I saw Mr. Cuomo hereabouts was back in November of 2010, when he (as Attorney General of NYS) announced the settlement of the ExxonMobil/Greenpoint Oil Spill lawsuit. As a note, that’s no dig, the Big Guy’s been busy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Governor of New York State seemed quite pleased with his new bridge, a project which he had famously and personally shouldered into fruition.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was a ribbon cutting.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then the crowd formed ranks during the pledge of allegiance, and the speechifying began.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First up was Borough President Melinda Katz of Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Second was Assemblyman Joe Lentol of Greenpoint. Mr. Lentol was followed by a diplomatic official from the Polish Government whose name I did not catch. Thaddeus Koscisuzcko whom the bridge is named for was, of course, a Pole and he’s a national hero to that proud nation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed like every news crew in NYC was there, and there were camera drones zipping around as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Governor Cuomo seemed… rather… Presidential to me, if you know what I mean.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The plaques that adorned the old bridge for 78 years had been cleaned and polished up prior to the event, but this was the moment they were unveiled. The plaques are going to be installed on the new spans when all is said and done in 2020.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

2020, of course, is when the second half of the new Koscisuzcko Bridge is scheduled to be finished.

One was invited to attend the second ceremony of the day in Maspeth, wherein the Governor would unveil the new lighting project he’s enacting for all the bridges of New York Harbor. It was a dark and foggy night, but there was a variety of truly excellent food and drink that Mr. Cuomo had arranged for on hand. A party atmosphere penetrated the shroud of darkness cloaking the incredible Newtown Creek.

Note: For anyone from the Governors office or the Taste of NY people who might be reading this – that was probably the best brisket sandwich which I’ve ever quaffed. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Synchronized to music played on a couple of radio stations and over loud speakers at the event, the bridge was suddenly dancing with bright light.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reaction of the crowd to this display seemed to please the Governor. My reaction, which was to try and get some decent shots of the thing, was badly reacted to by his security detail. “Get behind the white line” and “Now” was I told, and so did I comply. This encounter scared me, and fearing that one of my panics might be oncoming, one “retreat scuttled” back and away from the event and into the shadows of industrial Maspeth.

I really shouldn’t be amongst people. It always ends badly, with darkness, and law enforcement, and flashing lights.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One began to “quick scuttle” through the oily miasma and patchy fog of Blissville, keeping the tomb legions of Calvary Cemetery on my right, and all the while feeling the staring presence of those unknown eyes which watch from shuttered warehouse windows to the left. Off in the distance, the thing in the Sapphire Megalith of LIC watched through the mist.

It was nice to feel a slight return to normalcy, after such a long day in the presence of others.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the next day the Governor and the rest would all be back doing their own things in the places where they usually do them, but to a humble narrator on the 27th of April in 2017, the soliloquy of the Newtown Creek itself had just entered into a new chapter.

As a note, the next morning I was asked by NY Times reporter Emma G. Fitzsimmons to ride over the new bridge with her in a green Taxi, and she posted this article about our trip.


Upcoming Tours and events

First Calvary Cemetery walking tour, May 6th.

With Atlas Obscura’s Obscura Day 2017, Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour – details and tix here.

MAS Janeswalk free walking tour, May 7th.

Visit the new Newtown Creek Alliance/Broadway Stages green roof, and the NCA North Henry Street Project – details and tix here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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