The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Newtown Creek Alliance

formed rapidly

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 25th of February found a humble narrator at Newtown Creek Alliance HQ in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. We had guests coming.

Holy smokes, that’s Senator Chuck Schumer and he’s wearing our hat. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as well, but she was wearing her own hat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This was a press event, which the Senator organized, centered around demanding that the EPA quicken the process of the Newtown Creek Superfund. Senator Schumer brought out a gaggle of his political allies to this one. Congresswoman Maloney was there, as were representatives from Nydia Velazquez’s office. Assembly Member Emily Gallagher participated, as did local level “elected’s” like City Council Member Lincoln Restler, pictured above.

Hey – Chuck Schumer wore my hat! Not my own personal hat, but one of the NCA hats which I designed close to ten years ago.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso spoke as well. I first met the “beep” about 15 years ago, when he was working for Diana Reyna as an aide. I don’t always agree with him, but it’s been a real pleasure watching this very talented guy rise through the ranks of Brooklyn politics – first as City Council and now as Borough President. Keep an eye on this guy, he’s the real deal.

As is the case with these sort of events, after the lens caps went onto the end of the cameras, all of the electeds travelled off to their next engagement. A buddy of mine who lives in LIC offered a ride back to Queens, which I happily accepted.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The previous night, a freezing rain storm had blown through the city, and every exposed surface was coated in an eighth of an inch of clear ice. While walking from my drop off in LIC to the train, I couldn’t help but record what I was seeing.

Frosted.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everything was dripping, as the freezing temperatures of the night before had given way to a low 50’s environment.

Beautiful, thought a humble narrator.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Arriving at the Court Square station, one negotiated his way past a madman shouting racist things at passerby on the platform, and an M train arrived which carried my bloated carcass back to Astoria.

Tomorrow – something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


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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 blurb.com for $30.

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in November, two of my pals from Newtown Creek Alliance – Willis and Gil – got it into their heads to organize a street end cleanup at the Borden Avenue street end in Queens’ Long Island City section. This allowed me to bust their balls by calling the duo “Gillis” for the day, so win. Luckily, the NYC DEP wanted to help and they arranged for a series of dumpsters to be trucked in to support the effort. About 50 people showed up to perform the labor, including a decent number of teenagers. One of those teens dug the creepy baby doll pictured above out of the poison loam surrounding this distaff tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek.

For the whole set of shots from the effort, wherein you’ll be able to witness the astounding four dumpsters worth of junk that the community gathered during the day, click here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The group’s labor came to an end when a magnificent band of thunderstorms blew through LIC. The high flying Queens Midtown Expressway, whose steel truss roadway hangs some 106 feet over Dutch Kills, provided us with some shelter, but everyone was huddled up against the sides of trucks and wooden fence panels to avoid the horizontal rain. A massive amount of water poured out of the atmosphere, but as is the case with such weather, it was all over in about a half hour.

That’s when we heard a rushing/roaring sound.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Found alongside the Borden Avenue street end is a storm sewer which empties into Dutch Kills. This particular one drains a couple of large industrial properties as well as a couple of streets and a section of the aforementioned Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway. Thousands of gallons of storm water were ploughing out of the pipe and discharging into the waterway.

What fun.


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Buy a book!

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 blurb.com for $30.

polychromatic rhythm

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Tuesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

520 Kingsland Avenue, found along the fabulous Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, hosts a 26,000 square foot green roof. Green roofs drink storm water and improve an environmental condition called the “Maspeth Urban Heat Island Effect” which can see atmospheric temperatures in unplanted areas rise 10-15 degrees higher than in surrounding neighborhoods. Given that the phenomena was named for another Newtown Creek neighborhood, you see why Newtown Creek Alliance and our allies cared enough to do something about it.

As I often say – I like deeds, not words. Shit gets done on the Creek. Not taking personal credit for that, as a note, we have some pretty dedicated and capable people in our gaggle.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The main section of the roof is dedicated to pollinator plants, whereas other sections have different functions and aren’t designed to be “public facing.” This is what we mean when saying that Newtown Creek must remain industrial, but there’s a simple series of steps that can benefit several factors. 520 Kingsland is a functioning tv studio – which means high paying union wages. It’s an artist studio, and the HQ for non profit entities like Newtown Creek Alliance. It also diverts thousands of gallons of precipitation away from the combined sewer outfalls network of sewer pipes, and lowers the ambient temperatures both inside and outside the building.

It’s this sort of multiphasic approach to urban spaces that can be a game changer for New York City, and provide inspiration for other post industrial American municipalities.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you may have guessed by now, I’m a fan of this project.

Also, as you may have guessed by now, I was really grooving on the solitude I was enjoying up there to ruminate and contemplate. Unfortunately, as it was a cloudless day, the brutal amount of sunlight raining down on me was taking a toll. The Romans fashioned a god out of this sensation, one whose cult was in a serious competition with Christianity as to who would become the official state religion of their Empire. We’ve still got a Roman Catholic Church two thousand years later, and not many people have ever heard of Sol Invictus – the Warrior Sun – so there you are.


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Buy a book!

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 blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

utter extirpation

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I had to make pee pee.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While wandering around Dutch Kills, Long Island City’s (surviving) tributary of the fabulous Newtown Creek, one suddenly felt the call of nature. It was about six a.m. as I recall, when tolled the telltale alarum that it was time for a tinkle. Luckily, one had already secluded himself in a hidey hole along the banks of the waterway, one which offered both privacy and open unpaved soil. Why do I mention this, you ask? Because the City of New York completely and utterly disregards human biology in its various machinations and zoning decisions and has for better than fifty years. Why there isn’t a public pissoir found every mile or so is something that just escapes me. Luckily, as a bloke with an “outie,” the world offers lots of shadowed corners, spaces in between trucks, abandoned industrial canal bulkheads, and so on. I imagine the problems which proper renal function causes are more difficult for those of you with “innies.”

Anyway, as the sign in the shot would adjure – there’s meant to be “No Swimming’ here in Dutch Kills. Probably because of the millions of gallons of untreated sewage which the City dumps into every year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Of all the sections of Newtown Creek which one visits regularly, Dutch Kills is most frequently seen. It’s not too far from Astoria by foot. Most of the time I come here, however, is definitively later in the day than the one these shots were gathered – which was just as the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was rising in the east. I kept on debating whether or not to use a lens filter to “slow down” the rising light levels a bit, but the actual scene was just so beautifully lit that I didn’t want to screw around with it too much. I did have the camera up on the tripod though. The settings for this one were f18, iso 100, and .6 of a second.

Why am I telling you that, just like why talk about having to take a piss? I’ll let you know pretty soon. That’s coy of me, ain’t it?

Also, ever think about that phrase “taking a piss”? If anything, you’re “giving” rather than taking one. British English uses “having” for the act, as a note. Doesn’t make sense to me, just like the flammable/inflammable conundrum.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My eventual destination was going to be over on Skillman Avenue, where I was supposed to meet up with the Newtown Creek Alliance crew at nine. I still had plenty of time before that, so it was decided to shlep over to another hidey hole spot along Dutch Kills, one which is decidedly less private than the one so recently moistened by a humble narrator.

More tomorrow at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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 blurb.com for $30.

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Dutch Kills at sunrise, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Breaking off in a generally northern direction, from the main course of the Newtown Creek, is its Dutch Kills tributary. Just under a mile in length, Dutch Kills is encountered about 3/4 of a mile into Newtown Creek from its junction with the East River, in Long Island City. Dutch Kill is crossed by five bridges – the railroad bridges DB Cabin and Cabin M, Borden Avenue Bridge, the Queens Midtown Expressway truss, and the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge.

Recent obligation found one scheduled to meet up with my chums from Newtown Creek Alliance at 9 am on a Sunday nearby Dutch Kills, in pursuance of us walking it and discussing the near future hereabouts.

Since I set the standard for sanity in this world, much like Caligula once did, I got there four hours early, and some two hours before sunrise. I set up the tripod and started getting busy roughly 5:30 a.m.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Funnily enough, and photographers don’t normally say things like this, I was unhappy with how abundant the ambient light was. I’ve been spending so much time working in near total darkness of late that it’s almost become rote. Having to constantly figure out new exposure triangles every ten minutes got annoying.

Pictured are Cabin M, in the foreground, and DB Cabin. They are two of those five bridges mentioned above, and are both railroad bridges owned by the Long Island Railroad. Cabin M, which these days carries mostly graffiti, is meant to be demolished according to this year’s MTA capital budget plan. It connects the Blissville Rail Yard and the very active Lower Montauk tracks along Newtown Creek to the deactivated Montauk Cutoff tracks leading to the Sunnyside Yards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking north east from another span over Dutch Kills – the Borden Avenue Bridge – towards the 106 foot tall Queens Midtown Expressway truss bridge. In the distance is a Fed Ex ground shipping center and the Degnon Terminal IBZ.

Even though the light was becoming uncomfortably stronger, one hung around and kept on shooting all morning waiting for the Newtown Creek Alliance crew to arrive for our appointed round. More tomorrow.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

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 blurb.com for $30.

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