The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Laurel Hill Blvd.

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Back in the dark, in Blissville.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Last week, Newtown Creek Alliance organized an event in Ridgewood at a local pub which was both a “meet and greet” and an informational event. After it ended, my pal Hank the Elevator Guy offered me a ride towards Astoria in his automobile, but I asked for and instead received a quick lift over to DUKBO.

Hank the Elevator Guy was concerned for my safety, and asked if I was armed. I was, with a camera and tripod. What are you kidding, it’s Newtown Creek – that’s my house. The Kosciuszcko Bridge beckoned, so I headed over to Laurel Hill Blvd. alongside First Calvary Cemetery and got busy with the clicking and the whirring.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NYS DOT and their contractors are using a pretty good chunk of Laurel Hill Blvd. to store or park construction equipment, and the spot you’re looking at above used to be pretty much where the 1939 K-Bridge stood until it was demolished last year. One attended a meeting with officials from the agency not too long ago, and they indicated that the second phase of the project was on schedule and we’d be seeing both steel and concrete starting to rise out of the site this summer.

They say that everything should be wrapping up in the next 24 months or so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One sort of lingered about in the area, as I wasn’t being molested or eyeballed by private security. My plan, as you’ll discern from the shots in today’s post, was to accomplish the latest in a series of long exposure shots I’ve been creating all winter. Also, the climate was comfortable, atmospherically speaking.

Also, in that meeting with the NYS DOT, the head of the project indicated that the footbridge connecting 43rd street on Sunnyside’s southern extant with Blissville’s Laurel Hill Blvd. was not only completely rebuilt but was open for business. Additionally, a style of fencing inspired by the wrought iron of the cemetery fence had been installed on the structure, ideal for sticking a camera lens through, unlike the original model which was clad in chain link.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The things I was told turned out to be true, and one enjoyed not just the opportunity to gain a bit of elevation over the deck but to also see the new bridge from a different set of angles than have been available for the last couple of years. This shot looks south over the redesigned approach ramp – connecting the Long Island Expressway off ramp to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway onramp, the latter being the road that the K-Bridge carries across Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of the LIE, that’s what it looks like from the pedestrian ramp/overpass that they’ve just built. The old structure was clad in chain link fencing, and despite there being a couple of “Bernie Holes,” here and there – POV options were always limited up here.

For those not in the know, a “Bernie Hole” is a gap in chain link fencing which was opened sometime in the 1980’s or 90’s by my departed pal Bernie Ente. There’s still a few of them around the Creek, and I’m pretty much the only one he ever entrusted the location of most of them to. “Gotta get your shot,” he would opine.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Crossing under the LIE overpass from Blissville into Sunnyside, a humble narrator did one last setup with the tripod and associated gear. I call areas like this “The House of Moses” after Robert Moses, who slammed his roads through neighborhoods and cemeteries all over New York City and in particular Western Queens.


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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The other day, your humble narrator was seeking adventure and illumination amongst the mouldering tombstones and oil soaked sands of Blissville. This is an industrial stretch, closer to DUGABO than it is to DUKBO, with the cyclopean walls of Calvary Cemetery defining the northern side of the street and an unbroken facade of industrial buildings and warehouses on the the south, which is also the direction in which the fabled Newtown Creek might be found by those that seek it out.

This is formerly one of the most loathsome stretches of the Creeklands- home to oil works, distilleries, and fat rendering plants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the gates of what was once the vast rendering plant of Van Iderstines, a noxious industrial combine which was reviled by its neighbors during the century it squatted squamously upon this spot, this artwork was observed. This was no mere graffiti scrawl, instead this was an affixed installation, one which was obviously prepared elsewhere.

Content and subject matter are curious… and more than curious…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your humble narrator grew interested upon noticing the presence of the double helix in the design, and the labeling which is meant to indicate the various amino acids which DNA is composed of. The “genetic code” as it is called, is actually represented by just four letters representing the chemical nucleotides which form the “double helix”- G,A,T, and C.

The four bases found in DNA are adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A secondary piece was hung nearby, this one showed greater restraint than the first, but absent the chaotic charisma of the first.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the fences and gated properties of the Newtown Creek waterfront became a sort of guerrilla gallery for local artists. Imagine mile after mile of bizarre conceptions and twee fever dreams installed in the dead of night by a virtual and quite fey army of artists. Not “tagging”, of course, just tacking up something on paper whose impermanence was part of its very composition. Do the art on rice paper or something that will just turn to pulp when it rains.

A friend of mine once did an ad agency mailing for some “green” client, and her gimmick was to use paper into which flower seeds were embedded at the paper mill (and it was printed using soy inks, of course), and you were meant to just plant the advertisement in a pot after reading it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Being the sort of damaged individual that you’ve come to expect me to be, Lords and Ladies, an attempt was made to decode this particular painting. It soon became apparent that expertise in organic chemistry would be required to profoundly critique it, something which it would be foolhardy to attempt. A cursory scan of the various formulae revealed that some of these are indeed actual chemical descriptors for amongst other things- restriction enzymes.

The usage of the infinity symbol and the other text is a mystery to me, but overall I liked the art.

ALSO, this Friday:

My own attempt at presenting a cogent narrative and historical journey “up the creek” is up coming as well-

Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly on Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M. for the“Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385 as the “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” is presented to their esteemed group. The club hosts a public meeting, with guests and neighbors welcome, and say that refreshments will be served.

The “Magic Lantern Show” is actually a slideshow, packed with informative text and graphics, wherein we approach and explore the entire Newtown Creek. Every tributary, bridge, and significant spot are examined and illustrated with photography. This virtual tour will be augmented by personal observation and recollection by yours truly, with a question and answer period following.

For those of you who might have seen it last year, the presentation has been streamlined, augmented with new views, and updated with some of the emerging stories about Newtown Creek which have been exclusively reported on at this- your Newtown Pentacle.

For more information, please contact me here.

What: Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show

When: Friday, February 24th at 7:30 P.M.

Where: Ridgewood Democratic Club, 60-70 Putnam Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385

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