The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Hunters Point

wide notice

with one comment

It’s National Prime Rib Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent afternoon found one wandering about the waterfront in LIC whereupon FDNY’s Tiller Ladder 175 truck was encountered. For those of you not in the know, Tiller Ladders are those “old school” fire trucks with a driver at both ends. This one was Ladder 175, which normally spends its time over in East New York, but based on the patches worn by the FDNY guys driving it, I’d say that Ladder 175 was in the possession of the Fleet Services unit that day.

Fleet Services have several properties in Maspeth and in Greenpoint, all within spitting distance of the fabulous Newtown Creek, and you can often spot interesting equipment awaiting mechanical or esthetic attention.

from wikipedia

In the United States, a tiller truck, also known as a tractor-drawn aerial, tiller ladder, or hook-and-ladder truck, is a specialized turntable ladder mounted on a semi-trailer truck. Unlike a commercial semi, the trailer and tractor are permanently combined and special tools are required to separate them. It has two drivers, with separate steering wheels for front and rear wheels.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As opined many times in the past, a historically minded fellow is a fool if he tries to fill in the blanks when the subject is the FDNY. Every firehouse has an active duty resident historian who can tell you EVERYTHING about the units therein and the pre consolidation history of the individual firehouse, and there are legions of retired firefighters who know literally EVERYTHING about the department in excruciating detail. When the City created itself in 1898, all fire units in Brooklyn and Queens saw their unit numbers raised by “100,” so… if there was a Brooklyn Fire Department ladder unit back then it would have been “Ladder 75.”

Saying that, I don’t know if East New York was part of the BFD, or if it was an independent operation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The design and purpose of the tiller models is built around turning the ladder unit around narrow street corners, which is accomplished through the use of the double steering mechanisms. The trucks are also quite a bit longer than the tower ladder units, which extend and telescope their ladders from a turntable. This means that the tiller trucks can carry more equipment and muster more firefighters than more traditional units.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the rear operators cabin, with steering wheel and other controls.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As they drove away, I yelled out “are ya lost?” and “east New York is that way” while gesturing to the southeast.

You literally never know what you’re going to encounter in LIC, so it’s best to carry a camera, just in case.


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

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

shivered that

leave a comment »

Cool cars, Hunters Point edition.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While marching up LIC’s 54th avenue recently, one encountered a fairly atypical vehicle parked in front of the WNBC building. A humble narrator knows little about the world of car racing – never been a NASCAR or stock racing guy – but this Ford Mustang was highly modified and covered in sponsor logos. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The hood scoop, in particular, had logos from several major car brands adorning it. The good news is that there were also chromium skulls on the dashboard, as you can sort of make out in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You absolutely never know what you’re going to encounter when walking the streets surrounding the fabulous Newtown Creek, which is the central artery of the Newtown Pentacle.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Sunday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour,
with Atlas Obscura. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

magnified by

leave a comment »

Scenage from Tower Town, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, a humble narrator found himself invited to a party/fundraiser for the Friends of Hunters Point South Park group, and a generalized scuttle was enacted to the East River in LIC’s Hunters Point section. For those of you not in the know, Gantry Plaza State Park (which has been open for several years) is the recreational waterfront amenity found just to the north (ca. Center Blvd. to Anable Basin), and Hunters Point South Park (which includes the so called LIC Landing of the East River Ferry, and which will eventually wrap the ER shoreline all the way to and around the Newtown Creek) is a more recent phenomena.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I hate to admit it, but the whole Tower Town thing seems to be congealing together as intended by the “powers that once were and will be again.” These two parks are VERY well used and the human infestation hereabouts really seem to have taken to them in a big way. Most members of the local infestation with whom one confers attest that they all love living here, with the only two complaints commonly offered by these residents involving transit and a complete lack of any nearby supermarkets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer was at the party as well. For some reason, the shot above makes it seem as if he was singing a song to the crowd, but in fact he was merely greeting the assembled group. There were a few other dignitaries about, but this wasn’t a press event or anything, it was an “LIC Henge” party.

On a personal note: Mr. Van Bramer has recently announced that he will be running for reelection, and I for one will whole heartedly cast a ballot for him. One dwells within the political district he oversees and JVB is bloody fantastic. Watch this guy, that’s a future Mayor crooning on the mike in the shot above.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One brought his trusty tripod along, since the scenery to the west is entirely filled by the phosphorescent towers of the Shining City itself. One such as myself finds his eyes drawn to the vast public housing complexes which line the East River in all their Title 1 glory, but manifest hubris naturally pulls my attention.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The famous “Manhattanhenge” wasn’t meant to happen until the following evening, which was a washout anyway due to storms blowing in from the continent found due west of our archipelago, but sunset is always a sure thing when you’re in this spot. It was a fun gathering, and I got to spend some time with a bunch of my Queensicans. If you haven’t been, get on the 7 or East River Ferry and check this space out.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

June 20th, 2015
Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

supercilious and sneering

leave a comment »

Sunset at my beloved Creek, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around a week ago, my pal Gil Lopez was conducting a meeting of Newtown Creek Alliance’s Green Infrastructure Work Group over at the HarborLab location at the Vernon street end in LIC. Green Infrastructure, for those of you not in the loop, is a concept which seeks to use natural processes rather than mechanical ones (known as gray infrastructure) to handle issues such as flooding around waterways. Sometimes this “G.I.” manifests as bioswales, which are elaborately constructed tree pits that function as storm water retention tanks, in other cases it might mean using petroleum eating fungus organisms to clean up a brown field.

Pretty exciting stuff, actually, and the government types REALLY like it as it’s much cheaper to implement than gray infrastructure – which usually takes the form of sewer plants and expensive cut and cover projects like bending weirs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The event was well attended, I saw Jan Mun and Jason Sinopoli, whose NCA project involving fungal or mycoremediation at the ExxonMobil 400 Kingsland Avenue site in Greenpoint I had photographed a while back. Dorothy Morehead from CB2 was there as well, and Gil Lopez is one of the founders of the Smiling Hogshead Ranch – a community garden recently opened on MTA property over on Skillman Avenue. Lynne Serpe from the Green Party, and Erik Baard from HarborLab, as well as a bunch of people I had never met before.

We discussed a few things, and since I had brought my tripod – decided to squeeze out a few sunset exposures.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is really going to miss the view from Newtown Creek, when the real estate industrial complex achieves their goal of stealing the sky and a shield wall of luxury condos is completed. The Green Infrastructure stuff is going to be increasingly important in coming decades, as we stack as many people as possible into LIC and North Brooklyn. Imagine what’s going to my beloved Creek every morning when all of these multitudes flush their toilets and bathe. Hopefully, we can imagine a solution, using nature to combat our ill conceived nurture.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

June 7th, 2015
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets.

June 11th, 2015
MADE IN BROOKLYN Hidden Harbor Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee, click here for details and tickets.

June 13th, 2015
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets.

June 20th, 2015
Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets.

furious delirium

with one comment

Your music sucks, why do you play it so loud?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the midst of everything else, a humble narrator has to worry about getting the laundry done, which is not always as easy a proposition as it sounds like. More often than not, indecision about the logical process by which one arrives at some sort of conclusion about whether a soiled garment should be considered for the “colors” or “darks” bags reduces one to gibbering madness. Crouched in the corner of the room, wild eyed and slaked with cold perspiration, I often find myself impaled on the horns of dilemma. That navy blue shirt… where does it belong? Does it belong? Where do any of us belong? This is why I largely dress in black.

All ‘effed up, me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dire portent abounds. A general tension is palpable, and even the normally laconic army of bicycle delivery guys seem tense, here amongst the raven tressed hillocks of Western Queens. As one sorts his socks and towels, preparing them for drop off at the local laundry shepherd, a distinct sensation of dread permeates the atmosphere hereabouts. Even my little dog Zuzu seems to sense approaching calamity, as she drums her claws across the worn floorboards. At least the humidity seems to have broken.

I fear the polar vortex itself might return, carrying with it certain things which Esquimaux legend only hints at, and am quite unsure if I should send certain articles of Our Lady of the Pentacle’s wardrobe to the laundromat or segregate them out for dry cleaning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Were this the 21st century that a humble narrator was promised, when still an innocent moppet – the one which had jet packs and moving sidewalks and flying cars – we’d all be dressed in self cleaning space age fabrics which would obviate little need for the services of the laundry shepherds. These were supposed to be “onesies,” or speed suits as Dr. Venture would refer to them, whose coloration would be indicative of social rank. Unfortunately, the world we’ve got is neither “Brave” nor “New.”

Oh no… what do you do with a sock that has red, white, and black stripes? Oh dear lord… the horror of it all…

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

obsequious jackanape

leave a comment »

A quick one today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted the other day on Vernon Blvd. in Hunters Point’s tower town. I’m a bit ragged from this weekend’s back to back tours with Atlas Obscura and Brooklyn Brainery, so forgive a humble narrator’s inability to supply a meaningful post today. Back tomorrow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

refractive power

with one comment

Adrift on seasonal ennui, that’s me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

T’is not a kind month, December.

Memories of childhood disappointment and debasements, diminished expectations, and dire existential crises are those anniversaries celebrated concurrently with December by one such as myself. Nevertheless, despite the short intervals of daylight, and lowered frequencies of natural ambience, your humble narrator stumbles forth to record the audient void of Queens.

Mainly, I’m looking for rusty stuff like the sign above, which is increasingly hard to find in Long Island City.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Occasion carried me to Hunters Point recently, and specifically that section of the ancient Dutch village which I refer to as Tower Town. Observed, extant, was an installation of some of that “green infrastructure” that area wags and the municipal princeps have been discussing and presenting to the general public as a prophylactic measure against the return of Hurricane Sandy to the Metropolitan area.

It was a tree pit, stoutly fortified against canine degradations, which hosted a plethora of ornamental cabbages.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I noticed cabbage in a Manhattan tree pit recently, and when I saw this installation of leafy plants one began to wonder if ornamental cabbage was “a thing.” My pal Gil over at the Smiling Hogshead Ranch, and the folks at Brooklyn Grange, tell me that we should be growing food everywhere we possibly can, literally every nook and cranny that light and water can reach. But ornamental cabbages? Why not try growing some kale or carrots, here in Tower Town?

I jest, of course, as in city wide aggregate the thousands of tree pits will add up to a significant acreage and offer a not insignificant amount of storm water someplace to go other than into the combined sewer system.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

%d bloggers like this: