The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Greater Astoria Historical Society

reflective power

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The places I go, the things I see… often strain credulity. This is not the world you know, this 3.8 mile long waterway located directly across the East River from Manhattan’s Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital which provides the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. If it can happen, it has happened here, and if it happened here it happened worse and grander than anywhere else it ever happened. Come visit the night soil and offal dock, hear the stories of the great men- Bliss and Kingsland and Flowers and Degnon and Cooper. This is the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, where the death of nature itself was accomplished, and our modern world was born.

Welcome to the Newtown Creek, poison heart of the Newtown Pentacle…

from a Newtown Pentacle post of April 13th, 2011

Just under an hour long, this Magic Lantern Show about Newtown Creek is personally narrated, and transports the viewer to every corner of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and street end, on the water and above it, and is presented in the idiosyncratic and off beat manner which has become familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle. It attempts to explain certain core questions in under an hour which have been repeatedly presented to me over the last couple of years, and the entire talk is illustrated with both my own photography and the product of my historical research:

  • What exactly do you mean by the “Newtown Pentacle”?
  • When did the Newtown Creek begin to matter?
  • Why should I care, how does the Newtown Creek affect me, as I live in Manhattan?
  • Where exactly is this place?
  • Who is responsible for this mess, and exactly who is it that’s going to clean it up?
  • How can I get involved and help my community revitalize and or restore the Newtown Creek?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It would probably be “politique” to mention that this is not a Newtown Creek Alliance event, which is one of the many organizations which I’ve become affiliated and identified with. Instead this is purely a Newtown Pentacle show, which the studied philosophs who inhabit the upper echelons of the Greater Astoria Historical Society are allowing me to present in their convenient location on Astoria’s Broadway- stumbling distance from the R,M, and N trains. The efficacy of gambling their precious time and effort upon such a poor specimen as myself would be proven by the event being well attended, and the negligible $5 fee at the door should prove an easy burden for most to bear. Therefore, a narrator humbly invites and requests your support and attendance.

from astorialic.org

Mon Jun 6, 7:00 pm

Travel the length and breadth of Americas most polluted waterway, the Newtown Creek, with newtownpentacle.com‘s Mitch Waxman.

Breathtaking photography illustrates the journey, exploring the various tributaries and discussing the industrial history of New York City‘s least known waterway.

Witty and irreverent, the narration describes Waxman‘s own discovery of this place and the fantastic journey it has taken him on.

Question and Answer period follows.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual presentation is just over a hour long, and during it, you’ll travel the length and breadth of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and bridge, each keystone of historical import will be illustrated with both personal experience and historical meaning. For those of you new to the story of the Newtown Creek (or the neighborhood) this will make a fine primer. Attempts will be made by your humble narrator to reveal this willfully hidden place, and introduce the uninitiated to the hellish flames of revelation which only the Newtown Creek can offer.

June 6th, Magic Lantern Show at Greater Astoria Historical Society

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Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, English Kills – photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve neglected to inform you all of the Magic Lantern Show which this, your Newtown Pentacle, is staging at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on Monday, June 6th at 7pm. There won’t be any archaic museum pieces in use, of course- my magic lantern is all digital and uses a standard and quite modern projector- but the concept is much the same. A photographer captures some hellish reality from the wild and shadowed corners of the world, and presents them with the intention of revealing hidden truths to a comfortable and otherwise wholesome audience who would never encounter this reality otherwise.

from a Newtown Pentacle post of April 13th, 2011

Just under an hour long, this Magic Lantern Show about Newtown Creek is personally narrated, and transports the viewer to every corner of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and street end, on the water and above it, and is presented in the idiosyncratic and off beat manner which has become familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle. It attempts to explain certain core questions in under an hour which have been repeatedly presented to me over the last couple of years, and the entire talk is illustrated with both my own photography and the product of my historical research:

  • What exactly do you mean by the “Newtown Pentacle”?
  • When did the Newtown Creek begin to matter?
  • Why should I care, how does the Newtown Creek affect me, as I live in Manhattan?
  • Where exactly is this place?
  • Who is responsible for this mess, and exactly who is it that’s going to clean it up?
  • How can I get involved and help my community revitalize and or restore the Newtown Creek?

Empire State Building rising over industrial Brooklyn and Newtown Creek – photo by Mitch Waxman

It would probably be “politique” to mention that this is not a Newtown Creek Alliance event, which is one of the many organizations which I’ve become affiliated and identified with. Instead this is purely a Newtown Pentacle show, which the studied philosophs who inhabit the upper echelons of the Greater Astoria Historical Society are allowing me to present in their convenient location on Astoria’s Broadway- stumbling distance from the R,M, and N trains. The efficacy of gambling their precious time and effort upon such a poor specimen as myself would be proven by the event being well attended, and the negligible $5 fee at the door should prove an easy burden for most to bear. Therefore, a narrator humbly invites and requests your support and attendance.

from astorialic.org

Mon Jun 6, 7:00 pm

Travel the length and breadth of Americas most polluted waterway, the Newtown Creek, with newtownpentacle.com‘s Mitch Waxman.

Breathtaking photography illustrates the journey, exploring the various tributaries and discussing the industrial history of New York City‘s least known waterway.

Witty and irreverent, the narration describes Waxman‘s own discovery of this place and the fantastic journey it has taken him on.

Question and Answer period follows.

DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp – photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual presentation is just over a hour long, and during it, you’ll travel the length and breadth of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and bridge, each keystone of historical import will be illustrated with both personal experience and historical meaning. For those of you new to the story of the Newtown Creek (or the neighborhood) this will make a fine primer. Attempts will be made by your humble narrator to reveal this willfully hidden place, and introduce the uninitiated to the hellish flames of revelation which only the Newtown Creek can offer.

Greenpoint Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek – photo by Mitch Waxman

The places I go, the things I see… often strain credulity. This is not the world you know, this 3.8 mile long waterway located directly across the East River from Manhattan’s Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital which provides the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens. If it can happen, it has happened here, and if it happened here it happened worse and grander than anywhere else it ever happened. Come visit the night soil and offal dock, hear the stories of the great men- Bliss and Kingsland and Flowers and Degnon and Cooper. This is the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, where the death of nature itself was accomplished, and our modern world was born.

Welcome to the Newtown Creek, poison heart of the Newtown Pentacle…

Magic Lantern Show

with 5 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is needless to say, of course, is that my magic lantern is digital. In the dawn of the age of photography, journeyman shooters would travel all around the world, or to corners of the City which the genteel upper crust would eschew- and capture images of titillating subjects for the entertainment and evangelization of the moneyed classes who would otherwise never encounter such things. Jacob Riis and Matthew Brady come to mind, and whereas your humble narrator would never allow himself to invoke those names for fear of the vast hubris it would call crashing down about my ears, a belief nevertheless persists around Newtown Pentacle HQ that such an exhibition can still find a modern audience.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just under an hour long, this Magic Lantern Show about Newtown Creek is personally narrated, and transports the viewer to every corner of the Newtown Creek- every tributary and street end, on the water and above it, and is presented in the idiosyncratic and off beat manner which has become familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle. It attempts to explain certain core questions in under an hour which have been repeatedly presented to me over the last couple of years, and the entire talk is illustrated with both my photography and historical researches and documents:

  • What exactly do you mean by the “Newtown Pentacle”?
  • When did the Newtown Creek begin to matter?
  • Why should I care, how does the Newtown Creek affect me, as I live in Manhattan?
  • Where exactly is this place?
  • Who is responsible for this mess, and exactly who is it that’s going to clean it up?
  • How can I get involved and help my community revitalize and or restore the Newtown Creek?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The entire evening will cost you a mere sawbuck, or $5 as it’s referred to in modernity (and I’m not altogether certain what the deal is if you’re already a GAHS member, you’d be best served by checking in with them), and will be presented at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on June 6th, 2011 at 7p.m. I’d love to see you there, and there will be a question and answer period after the show, in which I’ll endeavor to respond to any random question from the audience. Luckily, GAHS will be there, should my knowledge fall short. Come one, come all.

Believe it or not, this still isn’t the BIG announcement. Await with baited breath the next thrilling installment of this- your Newtown Pentacle.

Back on the job…

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A reminder is offered today to those interested in spending this Saturday in the company of Mr. Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY.com to follow this link. A photographers dream, this journey will begin at an ancient train station…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

…move past a gargantuan railhead with sky flung monuments to a prior age of industrial dominance providing a backdrop…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

…and conclude in a pastoral setting on the sunny side of a vast hill. All of this in quite a short distance, with expert narration guaranteed and wry and often pithy observations promised. Your humble narrator will be coming along as well…

For more on the trip, visit this Newtown Pentacle link from a couple of days ago- “Things to do“.

Sorry for the short post, tremendously swamped with detail at the moment, but a major announcement is coming tomorrow.

Things To Do!!!

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mr. Kevin Walsh, supreme and unyielding webmaster of the intrepid Forgotten-NY.com will be teaming up with Richard Melnick of the Greater Astoria Historical Society for a walking tour of Skillman Avenue, a street which begins in Long Island City at 49th avenue and ends in Woodside at Roosevelt Avenue. Your humble narrator will be along for the trip, and has been busy producing the snazzy collateral booklet for the trip, and folks- this one is a visual feast.

Photography enthusiasts will find themselves especially pleased, as will the general antiquarian community, as we move through a fast moving and epic landscape crowded with the sky flung monumental relics of an industrial revolution.

Trace the history of Queens from a civil war era rail road station, stagger through the mighty Degnon Terminal, marvel at the titan Sunnyside Yards, and experience the pastoral glories of entering the Sunnyside- all in under 3 miles on Saturday, April 16th at 11:30AM.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The price of this tour, and one just might think of it as tuition, for time spent with Mr. Walsh and Mr. Melnick often leaves one with the sense of having attended a scholarly dissertation- will be $25. This relative pittance, however, includes the price of an informative and handsome BW booklet written by Mr. Walsh and illustrated with photography whose odd style would be familiar to regular readers of this- your Newtown Pentacle.

The intended route is detailed here, or visit Forgotten-NY’s tour page here.

As mentioned, Mr. Melnick of the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be assisting Mr. Walsh, and has vouchsafed a discount of some 20% for the existing members of his esteemed group, bringing the price to a mere $20.

Linkage, and it’s Exploding Whale day

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Some really great stuff has come through the inbox this week, here’s some to check out

Ms. Heather, over at NYShitty

posted an amazing video of 2 Greenpointers attempting to report an oil slick floating down the Newtown Creek to the DEP and receiving brusque treatment in return for their efforts. Funny thing for the DEP operator, who forgot the call center maxim of “you don’t know who you’re talking to, so be polite”, is that the 2 Greenpointers were Laura Hoffman and Christine Holowicz.

This is the public part of who Christine is:

Christine Holowacz immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1972. She became involved in environmental issues in the Greenpoint community during the 1980s. President of the Greenpoint Property Owners since 1989, Christine devotes much of her time to issues concerning senior citizen homeowners. She is also the Church of St. Cecilia political and housing coordinator. Christine served on the Greenpoint Community Board #1’s 197a Committee as well as its Rezoning and Kosciusko Bridge upgrade Task Forces. She initiated the first meeting in the successful fight against the proposed Key Span/Con Edison power plant in Greenpoint, leading to the founding of GWAPP, which she co-chairs. She is currently part of the Greenpoint Coalition, St Nicholas Preservation and the Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, and is the Community Liaison at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment plant for the Newntown Creek Monitor Committee (NCMC). Christine received the Woman of the Millennium and the Carmine “Dusty” De Chair Community awards from the Seneca Club, (2001 & 2002) for her work with GWAPP and a Citation in 2002 from the Borough President for her work in the Polish Community. She holds a BA in Economics and Accounting from Brooklyn College.

Laura is a member of the Newtown Creek Alliance, Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Planning and Parks, and gowanuslounge.com did a great profile on her in 2007- which can be accessed here.

I know these two ladies from Newtown Creek Alliance meetings and they are formidable women. I actually feel bad for the DEP operator.

The EPA page

to watch for news and community coordinator for the Superfund Newtown Creek drama can be found here. Its the beginning of something very large, which will take decades, and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. A river of federal money will wash out the creek, and all the poisons in the mud will be hatched out, or so say the G-Men. Every community along the Creek will be irrevocably altered by this process. The dragon of “Progress” is awakening again.

Forgotten-NY

just posted a cool “slice” of Little Neck, click here

Just over the weekend, I mentioned the Moore Jackson Cemetery, in the “More on the White Lady of Astoria” post. I was sent a link to scoutingny.com, which did a great workup on the place just yesterday- the 11th of November. Check it out here.

03a

Queenscrap posted a great article…

on the efforts our friends at the Greater Astoria Historical Society are undertaking to preserve a piece of Queens history

from Queenscrap

Meeting to preserve the millstones

[amd_millstone.jpg]

The Greater Astoria Historical Society and the community of Long Island City/Astoria, are concerned about the safety of the historic millstones located at Queens Plaza.

Hidden in plain site, the two millstones, some say, date from the 1600’s and are the oldest European artifacts in Queens. The city’s recent stewardship has not been very good. Photos over time show significant wear and tear to their fabric. Recently, a multimillion-dollar renovation at the Plaza has dropped them from view and construction debris litters the site.

The New York Daily News covered the issue:

Ancient millstones grist for historians

$43M Queens Plaza face-lift hits the fast lane

Colonial-era millstones in danger at Queens Plaza construction site, preservationists peeved

We ask the city to support the community’s heritage by:

  • Making the millstones available to the community by moving them from the hazards of a construction site to an exhibit space at the Greater Astoria Historical Society (or another location within the local neighborhood) where they will be not only safe, and on display, but accessible to the public along with an exhibit outlining their history.
  • Making the millstones available to historians and scholars to conduct research (during the period while they are out of the ground), and to support efforts to make them official New York City Designated Landmarks.
  • Open the millstones’ permanent installation process by selecting a location that will not only ensure their preservation within the community with an installation that will be marked with appropriate signage.

The Greater Astoria Historical Society, which not only has assumed the mantel as a watchdog over the LIC–Astoria community’s heritage, but has taken a very active role in their preservation, is calling for all interested parties, from the city planning, civics, preservation experts, and, most importantly, the general public, to come to a meeting at the Greater Astoria Historical Society, 4th Floor, 35–20 Broadway, LIC, at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, November 18, 2009.

All opinions and suggestions are welcome. Go to www.astorialic.org for additional information and pictures. Questions? Call 718–278–0700 or email astorialic@gmail.com.

Now for the Exploding Whale.

Click here for the youtube link to the video, you’ve seen it before, but today’s the anniversary.

from wikipedia

On November 12, 1970, a 14 m (45 ft 11 in), eight-ton sperm whale died as a result of beaching itself near Florence, Oregon. All Oregon beaches are under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but responsibility for disposing of the carcass fell upon a sister agency, the Oregon Highway Division (now known as the Oregon Department of Transportation, or ODOT). After consulting with officials from the United States Navy, they decided that it would be best to remove the whale as they would remove a boulder. They thought burying the whale would be ineffective, as it would soon be uncovered, and believed the dynamite would disintegrate the whale into pieces small enough for scavengers to clear up.

Thus, half a ton of dynamite was applied to the carcass. The engineer in charge of the operation, George Thornton, stated his fear that one set of charges might not be enough, and more might be needed. (Thornton later explained that he was chosen to remove the whale because the district engineer, Dale Allen, had gone hunting).

The resulting explosion was caught on film by cameraman Doug Brazil for a story reported by news reporter Paul Linnman of KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon. In his voiceover, Linnman alliteratively joked that “land-lubber newsmen” became “land-blubber newsmen … for the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.” The explosion caused large pieces of blubber to land near buildings and in parking lots some distance away from the beach, one of which caused severe damage to a parked car. Only some of the whale was disintegrated; most of it remained on the beach for the Oregon Highway Division workers to clear away.

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