The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Mitch Waxman

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Does a humble narrator ever leave Queens or Brooklyn? Not if one can help it, but of late, Manhattan’s demands have been omnipresent. Forth and back has one hurtled, to experience the litany of errors which rule the once proud center of the Megalopolis, all the time dreaming of the majesties of that harmonic convergence of ill fortune known as the Newtown Creek. Oh to gambol along the banks of sun drenched Maspeth Creek, or to stagger in awed silence along Dutch Kills, rather than to endure the incompetent malaise of Manhattan.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It used to be fun, like some of my relatives, but the City has become a theme park of sorts. There are popular rides with long lines, but everywhere there is falseness and facade. Here in Queens, along this tributary of forgotten memory, is found a true place. A place of power and ambition, where hyper capitalism ran amok, creating a toxic wasteland amidst the concrete devastations which it called “progress.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Weird chemical and biological processes are always at work in the sediments of Dutch Kills, and often will plumes of some unknowable composition billow about in those waters found beneath the tension of the surface. It is easy to believe the wild accusations of area wags, regarding this place, when they refer to it as cursed and cancerous. What do they know, these sisyphean dwarves, sitting in their ivory towers of thwarted ambition and thinking only of darkness and revenge?

Also: Upcoming Tours!

Glittering Realms Saturday, April 20, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, May 4, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

The 2013 Spring and Summer Tours Schedule

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

Pana_NCA_CreekEDU_Boat_102311_013359_a

– photo by Mai Armstrong

Want to see something cool?

Odds are that a bunch of the folks who will be reading this might have no idea who Mitch Waxman is, why they should come along with him on a tour of some weird neighborhood in Brooklyn or Queens or Staten Island, nor what a Newtown Creek or Kill Van Kull are- let alone where. Who is this weirdo?

Check out the “bio” page here at Newtown Pentacle, or this profile of me from the NY Times published in 2012. My tours of Newtown Creek have garnered no small amount of interest from the fourth estate- whether it be DNAInfountappedcities.com, Queens Chroniclenewyorkview.net, the 22blog, photobycateblog.com, or Queensnyc, and I’ve turned up in a bunch of media reports, documentaries, and been interviewed for multitudinous reports on the lamentable history of the Newtown Creek.

Most recently, it was National Geographic and Curbed. Attendees on my tours come from a variety of backgrounds- photographers, history and rail buffs, maritime enthusiasts, and there always seems to be an odd and welcome concentration of elected officials and journalists about.

What is with this guy?

I’m the Newtown Creek Alliance Historian, Official Photographer and Steering Committee member of the Working Harbor Committee, a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee and the Newtown Creek CAG, and am also a member of the Kosciuszko Bridge Stakeholders Advisory Committee. Newtown Pentacle, this blog, has been steadily published since 2009. I live in Astoria, Queens with my wife and our little dog, Zuzu.

In just the last few years, I have exposed thousands of people to the Newtown Creek, and its incredible history. This is where the industrial revolution actually happened, along this 3.8 mile long waterway that defines the border of Brooklyn and Queens.

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– photo by Mai Armstrong

In 2013, continuing relationships with Atlas Obscura, Newtown Creek Alliance, and the Working Harbor Committee (as well as friends like the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, and others) allow me to offer the following schedule. Live ticketing links will be made available as they come online, and all dates are subject to cancellation or rescheduling due to weather or unforeseen circumstance. There are 6 unique walking tours listed here, and one boat trip in which I will be the principal speaker.

Private tours are possible, schedule permitting, and can be arranged by contacting me here. Last year, for instance, several private University classes engaged me for a day at the Creek, as did a few private groups. As mentioned, contact me and we will figure something out if you’ve got a meetup group, college class, or special request.

Here then, is my official schedule as it stands right now. There will likely be a few additions as time goes on, which I will let you know about as they occur. Best to subscribe to this blog (top right, email subscription)  or “follow” me on Twitter @newtownpentacle for news.

In April, 2013- There will be a brand new tour  of Greenpoint debuted, which I call “Glittering Realms.”

Glittering Realms Saturday, April 20, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

In May, 2013- We start off with 13 Steps around Dutch Kills, go to the Insalubrious Valley, visit DUKBO, and finish off the month with a Working Harbor boat tour.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills Saturday, May 4, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Parks and Petroleum- Sunday, May 12, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, May 25, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Hidden Harbor: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman – Sunday, May 26,2013
Boat tour presented by the Working Harbor Committee,
Limited seating available, order advance tickets now. Group rates available.

NCA Birdwatch Bus tour- June 24, 2012

– photo by Mai Armstrong

In June, 2013- We visit the Poison Cauldron, return to the Insalubrious Valley, and check out the Kill Van Kull.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets on sale soon.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

In July, 2013- We visit Queens’s Hunters Point with a brand new tour. I might have another offering or two for you, but nothing I can speak about quite yet.

Modern Corridor- Saturday, July 13, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

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– photo by Mai Armstrong

In August, 2013- We return to the Poison Cauldron, repeat the 13 steps, and the Kill Van Kull walks.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets on sale soon.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets on sale soon.

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, August 24, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets on sale soon.

There are a few other dates coming in the fall, and a couple of more summer events which are still being discussed, but I’ll let you know more about them in coming posts.

Also, I will definitely be onboard but not on the microphone during the Working Harbor Committee “Beyond Sandy” Hidden Harbor tours on Tuesday nights, all summer. Hope you can come along.

Click here for more on “Beyond Sandy.”

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.

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