The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Industry City

waking reality

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

After debarking a NYC Ferry at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, with my destination at the Gowanus Canal beckoning, one picked his way northwards along the mean streets of industrial Sunset Park. I’m not going to pretend to be super knowledgable about the area, which was once known as the Bush Terminal but is now called “Industry City” by the fancy pants types in City Hall. I encountered rough streets, some of which were paved in belgian block or “cobblestone” and hosted seemingly defunct rail spurs.

When you’re into NYC History, people ask you the time machine question a lot. The answer for this area’s “if you had a time machine and could travel backwards in time to see it at its height” question would be the years of the Second World War and the decade or so afterwards. Presuming this time machine kept me safe in a bubble which the temporal locals would not be able to see or interact with me, I’d also like to pay a visit to the Bush Terminal sometime in the early 1980’s. This was very much one of the sections of Brooklyn which you’d ensure that the car doors were locked when you were driving through it during the crack years.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After walking past a series of Industry City buildings which the NYC EDC is in charge of, and a large Federal Prison, one found his way to 3rd Avenue and the elevated Gowanus Expressway. One of Robert Moses’ less popular projects, the Gowanus Expressway is responsible for blighting this area in the 1930’s and reducing it down to a corridor between the Battery Tunnel and BQE on one side and the Belt Parkway and the Verazzano Bridge on the other.

The steel of the Gowanus Expressway is known to be a daytime nest for Vampires. A crew of laborers were getting busy up in the shadowed recesses of the high volume road, which suggests their profession is a risky one. Perhaps the laborers wear necklaces of garlic as a part of their workplace PPE.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

After a brisk walk on a particularly cold morning, one finally arrived at the “Gowanus Zone” where the hazy border of Sunset Park and Red Hook transitions from one neighborhood into another.

This is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly areas in the entire City of Greater New York. Heavy trucks whizzing by on local streets at highway speeds, people driving automobiles in an angry and frustrated fashion, and crossing the street involves making a mad dash across three or four lanes of traffic. It’s also very, very loud.

Given that personal security has become something to be concerned about again, the luxury I’ve enjoyed for years of having an audiobook or music playing through headphones has been largely abandoned in favor of listening for approaching wackadoodles or the slapping sound of sneakers on pavement of those who are running towards me with malign intent. This has added a new perceptual dimension to my walks through the City – unfiltered sound. More tomorrow.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the beginning of the week of Monday, January 4th. My plan is to continue doing my solo photo walks around LIC and the Newtown Creek in the dead of night as long as that’s feasible. If you continue to see regular updates here, that means everything is kosher as far as health and well being. If the blog stops updating, it means that things have gone badly for a humble narrator.

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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 for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 5, 2021 at 1:15 pm

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