The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Pulaski Bridge

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Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

DUPBO, or Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, is a section of the fabulous Newtown Creek which I haven’t been paying too much attention to during the pandemic months. It’s a bit more “populated” than I’ve been comfortable being around, what with the homeless colony that’s popped up on the LIC side. There’s several RV’s you’ll notice down there, which a few humans and several rather bark prone doggies are living in, and that violates my goal of going to places where nobody else is. What this city needs is a good…

As you can see, there was a full moon on the night these shots were gathered, with the one above looking due East towards Calvary Cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Pulaski Bridge pictured above, a double bascule drawbridge owned and operated by the NYC DOT. Fundamentally speaking, this section of Newtown Creek isn’t the environmental horror show you encounter further east, rather it’s more akin to the environmental horror show that is the East River. A recent assertion by one of the Superfund Investigatory teams was that there were more “chemicals of concern” entering the Creek in this zone via the East River than from the upland post industrial properties. This, of course, causes me to wonder and ponder whether or not the East River itself should be considered a Superfund site.

When you start peeling a banana, you’re sort of committed to eating the thing, huh?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the Hunters Point Yard of the Long Island Railroad, which adjoins the Pulaski, I noticed these work trains sitting and idling. Can’t tell you what they were up to, but it’s likely that track and right of way maintenance was on the dance card.

Back tomorrow with something different at this – your Newtown Pentacle.

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, August 10th. 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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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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DUPBO.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Avoiding population centers as I’ve been, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the DUPBO (Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp) area in Long Island City’s Hunters Point section, preferring the more industrial quarters further east… Blissville, Industrial Maspeth… all of my happy places. Yes, the illegally docked boats are now observed three and sometimes four deep here in DUPBO, bobbing around in Newtown Creek and tied off to trees and fence posts. This activity has largely undone the positive influence of the HarborLab operation on the shoreline, but the only laws which matter are those which are enforced and the powers that be have incongruously looked the other way at this behavior, so…

Live and let live, right? Nothing really matters, ultimately. It’s all just a fiction.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the things which drew me down here was a rumor of a tent colony having been set up under the Pulaski Bridge, which turned out to be spurious. There are a couple of people living in RV’s down here, one of whom has a particularly enthusiastic dog, but nothing that could qualify as a tent city. Last guy I met living in a tent down here was a veteran, and I helped hook him up with shelter via my pals in the liberal/progressive/socialist conspiratorial gobernemental cabal. They’re so evil, I tell ya.

I often consider starting a blog aimed at the Fox News crowd. Headlines like “Amphibian Genderfluid found in vaccines” or “Evidence of Devil worship in China revealed” are probably too high brow, though. Is “Trans Toad VAX horror” more like it?

Hey, check me out! Hangs out under bridges, starts to troll. Hah!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Long Island Railroad usually has an engine sitting nearby and ready to roll with its works active for some reason, and a particularly long in the tooth one greeted me the other night. A maintenance of way tool, EMD MP15AC is what it’s manufacturer (General Motors) would have described it as during the production years of 1974 and 1985. I’m told it’s a “diesel switcher/road-switcher locomotive” which delivers 1,502 HP.

I took a picture of it. There you go.

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, May 25th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.


“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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Up on the Pulaski Bridge, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One was desirous of capturing the current Empire State Building lighting display, meant to honor the efforts of First Responders and Medical Staff during the CoronAmerica crisis, so a longish walk was embarked upon. Well, longish by the current standard… I ain’t exactly walking to Red Hook right now, if you know what I’m saying. One kept to the shadows, walking in a westerly direction from Astoria along streets and byways which are unpopulated during normal times, and soon found myself shlepping and scuttling up the Pulaski’s pedestrian path, connecting Jackson Avenue and 11th street in Long Island City with McGuinness Blvd. and Freeman Street in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Annoyingly, new construction in LIC has obscured the view of the Empire State from one of the normal “stations of the cross” which I’ve been visiting for better than a decade, but I managed to get my shot nevertheless.

I wouldn’t mind all of this new construction so much if it was at all visually interesting, or didn’t embrace the banal at every opportunity. Seriously, you invest tens of millions in waterfront development and what you build is another soulless glass box? How’s about a rhombus, maybe? A cone, or cylinder, perhaps?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My beloved Newtown Creek hasn’t dried up or been filled in during the quarantine, which is good news for me. The shot above looks north, towards LIC, along the pathway of the double bascule Pulaski Bridge and its bridge house. When all of this is over, I have got to find a way to get inside of that bridge house and take some photos. I’m fairly curious about the “works” within. I know who to call.

Despite the aforementioned quarantine, there were a substantial number of automobiles crossing the Pulaski, although bicycle and pedestrian traffic was virtually non existent. It was difficult to find a thirty second interval during which to actuate the camera without a passing truck or suv rattling the bridge’s structure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Having to alter the exposure triangle for these shots from my normal tripod/night “go to” actually allowed me to capture the weird luminance of the Kosciuszcko Bridge, for once. The Kosciuszcko is about two miles away, and this shot looks down Paidge Avenue in Greenpoint past the sewer plant towards the thing. My lens was comically zoomed out.

My walk on this particular excursion found me entering Brooklyn for the first time in at least a month, whereupon a circuitous path was followed. Avoiding population centers is a big part of the game plan for my constitutional walks.

Cooties.

Note: I’m writing this and several of the posts you’re going to see for the next week at the end of the week of Monday, April 6th. 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 as we move into April and beyond, 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.


“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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DUPBO, in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp, or DUPBO in Long Island City, is pictured above. Recent endeavor found one wandering around this area just after sunset about a week ago, and one decided to get busy with the camera.

The Pulaski Bridge was built by the NYC DOT as a replacement to the older Vernon Avenue Bridge which was found about a block or so to the west. The old bridge connected LIC’s Vernon Blvd. with Greenpoint’s Manhattan Avenue, and there was a streetcar or trolley service which connected the two shorelines of Newtown Creek. The former Orchard Street (bet Greenpoint Avenue and the Creek) in Brooklyn was renamed “Manhattan Avenue” about 1915 (I believe, and that’s from memory so don’t trust me on that), as the LIC side offered proximity to the brand new IRT Flushing line (the 7) subway. The trolley stop in LIC, where the trolley came to rest, is the NYC Parks Dept.’s “Vernon Mall” today. Back then, you named streets for where they were going, today you give parks meaningless names which obfuscate the past, but that’s why Greenpoint’s Orchard Street is Manhattan Avenue today.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The derelict shoreline of LIC in DUPBO between the bridge and the Vernon street end is occupied and exploited by a colony of squatter boats these days. A hundred years ago, you would have been looking at a fleet of small tugs owned by the Newtown Creek Towing Company, whose HQ was found next door to an Ulmer Brewery Tap room on Vernon beneath the old bridge. Back then, modern day 54th and 53rd avenues were part of the LIRR Pigeon Street rail yard, which adjoined the Hunters Point Yard on the north and had tracks feeding into the Jack Frost sugar factory on the East River. The squatter boats are all blurry looking because they were rolling around on the wake of a tugboat and barge combo which had just navigated past.

The large structure on the Greenpoint side is the former Chelsea Fiber and Jute Mill at the end of Manhattan Avenue, which is known to modernity as the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center – or GMDC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As part of the post WW2 citywide expansion of arterial roadways, drawn up by and overseen by Robert Moses, the Pulaski Bridge was designed as a high draught drawbridge which would span the Newtown Creek and magnify the amount of traffic flow between the two boroughs. Both 11th street in LIC and what would come to be called McGuinness Blvd. in Greenpoint were widened to accommodate this extra traffic. From DUPBO, you may notice that the Pulaski sports what appears to be an unfinished traffic ramp which arcs off of the eastern or Queens bound side. I’ve never been able to confirm it definitively, but the general presumption I hold is that Moses and his crew once intended to connect the Pulaski’s “flow” with the Long Island Expressway.

A bascule drawbridge of paralell counterweight design and driven by electrical motors, construction of the Pulaski Bridge was overseen by the New York City Commissioner of Public Works – Frederick Zurmuhlen – and the general contractor employed in building it was the Horn Construction Company, with steel and expertise supplied by Bethlehem Steel. It opened in September of 1954 at a cost of $9,664,446.25 – and a reconstruction of the bridge in 1994 cost $40 million. It carries five lanes of vehicular traffic, as well as dedicated (and now separated) bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and it’s a primary crossing between north Brooklyn and western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking eastwards along Newtown Creek, a tug and barge passed through this thirty second exposure, causing a colorful light show to appear on my camera’s sensor. I’m fascinated by this sort of time capture, incidentally. The normal procedure for photographically capturing the passage of time is to record video, of course, or even to fire off a burst of shots. One of the things that’s emerged during all of this night photo long exposure work I’ve been doing for awhile now is that I can reveal traffic patterns, the passage of normally invisible critters in the water, even the invisible currents of air if I set the camera up correctly. You can see the pathways of fish in the water, rendered out by the reflective streaks coming off of their scales, for instance.

If I was sure that I wouldn’t blow up Brooklyn or Queens (or the Buckeye Pipeline), I’d love to throw a block of magnesium into the water and photograph it as it sank and burned – illuminating the bed of the creek. Who can guess, all there is, that might be swimming around down there? Subaqueous features, sunken boats, Jimmy Hoffa?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the staircase leading up to the LIC side of the pedestrian walkway atop the Pulaski Bridge. One advises all not to hold onto the side rails unless they have to, as the Pulaski’s rafters are full of pigeons and the entire bridge is covered in layers of guano.

The lady on the bicycle annoyed me, incidentally. Seeing me standing there with a camera and tripod setup, she first stopped her bike literally two feet away and in front of me for an interval of playing with her phone. I gently asked “excuse me, miss, can I ask you to just move forward two feet so as you’re not in my shot?” to which she silently shot me back a look of annoyance and then rolled further into the shot and right in front of the stairs. So enthralled with her glowing piece of telecommunicative glass that bodily movements all but ceased, she appears in the shot above as a semi transparent statue. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but I wouldn’t want to trigger the “waiting to be offended” or “overly sensitive” millennial crowd.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Looking upwards at the control tower of the Pulaski Bridge from the waters edge, which is what you’re seeing. That’s where the various knobs, dials, buttons, and levers that open and close the thing are found.

These shots were gathered using my “minimal” carry setup (2 light lenses, cable release, air blower, couple of lens cloths, and that Ultrapod camera support gizmo), and I used the cheapo Canon “pancake” 24mm lens which I’ve mentioned in the past for all of them. For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t always work for me to grab the whole kit and kaboodle on my way out of HQ, and I’m also trying to carry a bit less around with me than I usually do at the moment in general. Also, not having zoom lenses and being “mission specific” forces me to think more about the “where” of my shots and there’s also the whole “be intentional” thing.

Also, lest I forget, “Pulaski Bridge” – Casimir Pulaski was a Polish military officer who joined General Washington’s Continental Army of the 13 colonies in order to assist in their war of rebellion against the Hanoverian Throne of England during the Revolutionary War. Google him, interesting person, and a Polish National Hero.

I have to don my monkey suit tonight and head off to the City for a party with the fancy folks on the Hudson side of things. I’ll be carrying the minimum kit again, so let’s see what I can get.


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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

October 7, 2019 at 11:00 am

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DUPBO, Down Under the Pulaski Bridge Onramp.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To begin with, when I was on site in Long Island City’s DUPBO section shooting these photos the other night, something so unique and novel occurred that I’m doubting the experience, so I’m going to be heading back sometime over the next few days when it’s light out to “get scientific” about the matter, and I’ll report it to you after a second observation and proper photo cataloguing but for now let’s just leave it hanging.

Mundane and material, that’s a late model Long Island Railroad engine sitting on a siding of the Lower Montauk tracks, awaiting orders.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the spot I was in when the weird thing happened, a location I found myself in due to the attentions of an over zealous and probably bored security guard who decided that my activities were impeding on the grounds she protects. I wish she’d spend some time on the illegal dumping, homeless camps, or the flotilla of RV’s serving as domiciles here in DUPBO, but focusing in on middle aged men with cameras and tripods standing in a parking lot is clearly at the top of her threat chart.

This shot is looking northwards, towards the LIE and Queens Midtown Tunnel.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Shlepping towards HQ, and exiting the industrial area in pursuit of getting to the train station, the 19th avenue footbridge carried me over the LIRR tracks leading from Hunters Point into the Sunnyside Yards and then under the Long Island Expressway. This is quite a well used footpath, as a note, which connects Borden Avenue with 49th or Hunters Point Avenue where a stop on the #7 train can be accessed.


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Upcoming Tours and Events


Thursday, July 11, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

“Infrastructure Creek” Walking Tour w Newtown Creek Alliance

If you want infrastructure, then meet NCA historian Mitch Waxman at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn, and in just one a half miles he’ll show you the largest and newest of NYC’s 14 sewer plants, six bridges, a Superfund site, three rail yards with trains moving at street grade (which we will probably encounter at a crossing), a highway that carries 32 million vehicle trips a year 106 feet over water. The highway feeds into the Queens Midtown Tunnel, and we’ll end it all at the LIC ferry landing where folks are welcome to grab a drink and enjoy watching the sunset at the East River, as it lowers behind the midtown Manhattan skyline.

Click here for ticketing and more information.


Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“Exploring the East River, From General Slocum Disaster
to Abandoned Islands” Boat Tour w NY Adventure Club

Onboard a Soundview route NYC Ferry – Join New York Adventure Club for a two-part aquatic adventure as we explore the General Slocum disaster, and historic sights and stories along the East River, all by NYC Ferry.

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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.

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