The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Pulaski Bridge

formal blessing

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time,” I keep saying. On the 27th of September, one was traveling during the late morning to Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. Specifically, I was heading for the Manhattan Avenue street end. An appointment was involved, and to ensure my timeliness the Subway was invoked.

Moving through the transit portals I do, one inevitably found himself over at the MTA’s Court Square facility, and the G line subway.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief ride, and then one found himself in Greenpoint itself. The MTA has recently installed an elevator system in this station.

Its signage caught my eye.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That must be some elevator, thought I.

Since I like using things I’ve helped pay for, I hit the button and had a funny exchange about the improvement with another commuter, whose personal invective was framed by English spoken with a syrupy Polish accent. Ahh, Greenpoint, how I’ll miss the default state of sarcasm that you inspire, and that I always enjoy interacting with, in your residents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled down hill along Manhattan Avenue, towards the fabulous Newtown Creek.

“Every time might be the last time,” and this time around, I was meeting up with a friend that owns a boat. He offered to take me out for one last “from the water” photo session on my beloved Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was waiting for him to arrive, the tug Miss Madeline reappeared in front of the camera.

Just a few days ago, shots of the selfsame vessel attempting to conquer the laws of physics and mechanical engineering were offered here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Tomorrow – I’ll show you what I captured on this particular day.

Miss Madeline navigated under the Pulaski Bridge, as we soon would.

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 26, 2022 at 11:00 am

insistent pleas

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First off – Newtown Creek Alliance will be honoring John Lipscomb of Riverkeeper, Christine Holowacz, and… your humble narrator… this coming Thursday night (the 20th) at the annual “Tidal Toast” fundraising event. Ticketing information can be found here, and the tax deductible donation of your ticket money will help to fund NCA’s ongoing mission to Reveal, Restore, and Revitalize Newtown Creek. NCA has been at the center of my public life over the last 15 years, and I hope you can make it. This is officially my finale, in terms of public facing events, and the end of this chapter of my life.

On the 17th of September, a humble narrator conducted a Newtown Creek walking tour for a group of students from New York University. Our path involved a meetup in Sunnyside along Queens Boulevard, then a walk over the Kosciuszcko Bridge and then through “oil country” in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section. We then visited the Nature Walk at the sewer plant, and I released the students back into the wild at Manhattan Avenue.

Me? I wandered over the Pulaski Bridge and back to Queens afterwards.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“Every time might be the last time” is my mantra at the moment, so even if I’ve got a hundred shots of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, I’m going to get in one last exposure of it.

I was heading to LIC for the subway, which is oddly enough one of the things I’m really going to miss. The MTA is shit, but it’s mostly reliable.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most photogenic of all of NYC’s subway lines is the 7, and that’s a statement I’ll swear to in court. The shot above is from the first of its stations in Queens, the Vernon Jackson stop.

20 years ago, I’d occasionally use Vernon Jackson as an alias when somebody asked me to sign in on something but wasn’t checking ID, but these days LIC has become so populous that the nomen has lost its anonymity. Other names I’ve offered to strangers include Lex Triomani, Septa Katz, and my all time favorite – John Johnson. I used the last one once when talking to a group of Republicans, as they generally like people whose first and last name are the same – Rob Roberts, Tommy Thomson, Mike Michaels – that sort of thing.

The greatest of all Republican names remains that of the former Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee – Dick Armey. The best way to disperse a group of Republicans – as a note – is to say “Hey, I think I just saw Karl Rove across the street.” They’ll panic, as he’s their bogeyman.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The 18th of September was a Sunday, and I decided to quaff an afternoon pint of Guinness at my local on Astoria’s Broadway in celebration. The fellow pictured above reminded me of a character from a French or Belgian comic and I couldn’t resist cracking out a shot of him passing by on that sweet bike he was riding.

Me? I was getting ready to and girding up to commit professional suicide in the next week.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been a member of, and Transportation Committee chair, Community Board 1 here in Queens for a while. While walking over to the first in person meeting since Covid, I noticed yet another century old utility pole ready to break in half under the weight of the cables which keep the neighborhood connected and electrified. I attended the meeting, and formally offered my resignation during the thing.

Seriously, some of you people are going to have to start reporting things like the utility pole pictured above to 311 or NYC is going to come to a screeching halt when I’m gone.

Anyway, I resigned, people applauded my service, and were secretly or not so secretly happy to see me go.

The next night, I resigned from Access Queens, a transit group I’ve been a member of the executive committee of which advocates for riders of the 7 train. The night after that, I resigned from the Steering Committee of the Newtown Creek CAG, and the night after that I resigned from the board of the Working Harbor Committee.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve been unsubscribing from the various NYC email lists and newsletters which have kept me informed over the last decade. Also, several calls have gone out to colleagues and friends. The last thing that I’m still a part of is Newtown Creek Alliance, and I’m going to be resigning there fairly soon as well.

It’s wild to again be free of having to worry about things that I have no control over, and since all of these resignations have been received, I’ve had not one single person offer a reprimand to me that stated “you can’t say that.”

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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 19, 2022 at 11:00 am

dropped despairingly

with 4 comments

Thursday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator seems to have spent most of the Obama administration walking back and forth over the Pulaski Bridge. For the last five years or so, it’s been Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Causation? Correlation? I don’t know, I just walk where I’m going and “then” is different than “now.”

At any rate, I was walking over the Pulaski Bridge, between Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section and Queens’ Long Island City, at dusk.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All the familiar places… every time I go somewhere or do something these days, it’s potentially the last time. I’ll be gone at the end of this year, living in a different place. When and if I come back to NYC for visits or work, I’ll be driving a car.

Everybody asks, so I’ll just state it plain and simple…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

First, I can’t afford to live here anymore. Taxes are a big part of it, as are the ambitions of the political class to offer ever more tax incentives to the real estate people to dig that tax hole a bit deeper. I don’t mind the idea of incentivizing an industry which needs a little push, but do the real estate people really need your money more than you do? What about schools, or hospitals? Do they need the experience of the Governor’s embrace more than the Related Company’s do?

Second… Our Lady of the Pentacle and I want something different for Act 3.

I was an infant here, a public school student here, I went to college in Manhattan. I have lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens for nearly six decades. I have gotten to do things in NYC, and see things here, which most New Yorkers don’t even suspect exist.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I start talking about those things, people always think I’m bragging. It’s not bragging if you did these things, I always say, and then ask them if they’ve ever been a NYC Parade Marshal who had to separate two warring Chinese marching bands from fighting with each other, without a working knowledge of any dialect of Chinese. I’ve narrated on the CircleLine, gotten to know people in high elected office, and once found a missing lamp post of the Queensboro Bridge.

It goes on. Suffice it to say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere – right?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I mean by Act 3, of course, is the dramatic end of my story. There’ll be comeuppance, and victories, but we all know how our individual dramaturges are ultimately going to end. Saying that, I’d love not to have my body found floating in New York Harbor after I collapsed on some bulkhead on Newtown Creek. I want it to be quiet, and dark at night, when I go to sleep.

Also, I can have a crap government anywhere I go in this country, so I’m not sure why I’m “paying in” to this particular one. Look at the clown shoes manner in which they’ve handled the three existential crises of the last 20 years – 911, Sandy, Covid.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You’re not going to see one of those “I’m leaving New York” essays, the ones that shit all over the City, from me. This is the place that made me, and every single molecule of me is NYC. I’m loud and brassy, grossly over the top in all senses of the word, get a surprising amount of things done every day, and am impressive from a distance.

Just like NYC, up close inspection reveals cracked foundations, a fragile ego, and an inescapable sense of impending doom which is acknowledged but not meaningfully addressed. If I stay here, I’ll always be the same and will die in the same manner that I lived. The longer I’m here, the shorter my life will be.

In short, something different is needed. NYC won’t miss me.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

ever been

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

April 24th saw a humble narrator more or less walk the entire Brooklyn side of Newtown Creek, and by the time I reached the Pulaski Bridge all of my aches and pains were absolutely singing an opera.

That’s when you really just have to lean into it, I always say, and keep on scuttling. You want to know something, though? What I’ve really been missing the last month or so, and especially during low energy moments like the one I was experiencing while getting ready to surmount the Pulaski, has been having my headphones plugged into my ears while they’re blaring early Black Sabbath.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Personal security, however, demands that all of my senses remain unoccluded. I need to be able to hear “it” if and when it’s coming. It’s funny, actually, that this section of Newtown Creek is one of the areas which I’ve assiduously avoided throughout the pandemic months. The population has become particularly dense here, due to what a friend of mine refers to as “the real estate frenzy.” That isn’t why I’ve been avoiding it, though.

Anywhere that lots of people are, that ain’t where I been.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pulaski Bridge has a dedicated pedestrian and a seperated bike lane, in addition to its lanes of vehicular traffic. It’s a double bascule drawbridge, and electrically powered. It connects McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint with 11th street at Jackson Avenue in Queens’ Long Island City. Along the way, on the Queens side, it also overflies the Long Island Railroad’s Lower Montauk tracks and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

It’s extremely well traveled, and each one of its several traffic lanes is quite busy. It’s also fairly easy to get into trouble up there, precisely because of its populous nature. I used to know a guy who got jumped midspan, and who laid there bleeding from a head wound while the Brooklyn and Queens cops were arguing about which precinct the mugging occurred in – 94th or 108th. Neither one “wanted it” as it would cause their “house’s” crime stats to go up.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There used to be an amazing series of NYC views up on the Pulaski, with the Empire State Building at the center of your frame and reflected in Newtown Creek. The sky has been stolen by big real estate, however. It’s been privatized. If you’re looking for “inspirado” you better have some cash to pay for it.

The good news is that our elected officials continue to subsidize the real estate people, by bending the rules for them and handing out multiple decade long tax breaks in the name of “affordable housing.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The dodge accomplished by the Real Estate people is to establish a development corporation as an ‘’LLC” or “Limited Liability Corporation” for the duration of planning and construction. The day after they cut the ribbon on a new building, the original development LLC, which made all the deals with the city and state, is dissolved and the property is transferred to a management LLC that can pick and choose which tenets of the original LLC’s political contracts they want to oblige.

Either way, they’re not paying any taxes for a long time. Not paying into the cops, or the schools, or the hospitals which their tenants in their thousands consume the services of. Remember when the Governor set up the Javitz center as a mass casualty hospital at the start of COVID? That’s because NYC doesn’t have enough hospital beds anymore.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some enterprising soul poked a hole in the chain link fences of the Pulaski’s pedestrian walkway a few years back, one that allows a view down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel’s entrance.

August of 1940 is when the tunnel opened, along with the section of the Long Island Expressway which feeds about 32 million vehicle trips a year into the thing. At least you can still see the Empire State Building from here since the Real Estate people haven’t convinced the politicians that it would solve the homeless problem if we decked over the tunnel’s toll plaza over and built luxury condos on top.

Give it time. Swagger.


“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.

think slowly

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Monday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator found himself wandering across the loquacious Newtown Creek, as is often the case, on the Pulaski Bridge. Count Casimir Pulaski, whom the bridge is named for, was a Polish noble and accomplished military man who – after meeting Ben Franklin and Lafayette while exiled in France – joined the Continental Army as a Cavalry General during the American Revolution. Part of Washington’s executive staff, Pulaski died of wounds he received at the Battle of Savannah in 1779.

The 1954 vintage bridge over Newtown Creek, connecting what’s now called McGuinness Blvd. in Brooklyn with LIC’s 11th street, was a product of Robert Moses’ long tenure as the high lord of transportation spending and construction in NYC. Actual construction of the double bascule draw bridge was accomplished by the Horn Construction Company, with the assistance of Bethlehem Steel and the American Bridge Company. An earlier bridge, connecting Brooklyn’s Manhattan Avenue with LIC’s Vernon Avenue (as it was known back then), was also removed as part of the project.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprisingly well used stair cases rise up on either side of the bridge, allowing pedestrian egress. The pedestrian lanes do indeed flow from on ramp to off ramp, but the stairs are located a lot closer to the center beam of the span. The LIC side stairs are found just south of the Midtown Tunnel and Long Island Rail Road Hunter’s Point yard.

One hasn’t used the Pulaski all that much during Covid times. One of the guiding principals for me during this interval has been the avoidance of other people. Given the increased population density of Hunters Point and Brooklyn’s Greenpoint section that has come with the real estate build out of the last twenty years…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the Greenpoint side, where McGuinness Blvd. slouches roughly downwards towards the waterfront. When the bridge was built, McGuinness Blvd. was created as a double wide “arterial” street designed to carry Brooklyn Queens Expressway bound traffic to Meeker Avenue, where the high speed road has travelled on an overpass since 1939. That overpass leads to another Robert Moses project – the Koscisuzcko Bridge – which leads to his 1940 vintage Long Island Expressway and his 1936 Grand Central Parkway.

It is no accident that the Pulaski and Kosciuszko bridges are named for Polish generals. Instead, it’s good politics, given the enormous community of Polish folks who live or lived in Greenpoint, Maspeth, and LIC’s Blissville.


“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.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

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