The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘recycling

unusually worried

with 5 comments

It’s National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is how it all works, this municipal recycling business.

Pictured is the Sims Metal facility in Sunset Park Brooklyn. Department of Sanitation performs its collection task using packer trucks – which work curbside pickup routes, essentially – and then they head over to a transfer station of either terrestrial or marine nature. On their way in to the transfer station, they drive over a scale and are weighed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once the trucks get past the scale, they wait their turn to “tip” or deposit the cargo they’ve collected.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is done in a fairly orderly fashion, with a Sims Metal employee directing the DSNY operator to a certain spot where the driver activates the mechanisms within the truck which push the garbage out. My understanding is that the hidden internal machinery is driven by steel cables which tension pulls a plate forward from the back of the hopper, and that’s (plus the angled hopper for a gravity assist) what pushes the load out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

If the material was collected from Boroughs other than Brooklyn, it’s brought in by tug and barge from one of the other Sims facilities like the one found at Newtown Creek in Long Island City. According to one of the Sims people I met, they said a barge carries the equivalent of a hundred garbage trucks worth of recyclables all at once.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once DSNY has handed off the recyclable waste, a bull dozer like unit moves it into a drop shaft which in turn feeds it into the highly automated processing room.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s optical equipment that sorts plastics and glass by type, as well as fairly esoteric bits of kit which feature magnetic or electrical flux fields which capture the metals like steel cans and aluminum foil.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The shapes and sizes of these moving conveyor belts also figure into the sorting and handling typology of waste.

I was told that a lot of this technology has been adapted from the agricultural industry – Big Agra, as it’s known – and that the biggest “players” in this sector are German and Dutch manufacturers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once this mingled pile of waste products has been separated out into distinct types (including separating the different forms of plastic) they’ll be bundled up and be prepared for shipment.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Plastics and glass are fairly worthless, it should be noted. Low oil prices over the last decade or so has caused the price of chemical feedstock for plastic manufacturers to plummet, as said material is a byproduct of petroleum refining and manufacture. That makes it cheaper to make new plastic than it would be to recycle old plastic. Glass recycling carries a pretty high energy cost, in terms of making it molten, so it’s mainly used a crushed up fill material in concrete and asphalt. That’s why some roads and sidewalks appear to shimmer in the sun.

Paper pulp is quite valuable, and VERY recyclable. So is metal, especially aluminum and copper. That’s based on the expense of producing new pulp, or refining mined ore. Sims Metal Management is a global corporation, and participates in a commodities market for these recyclable materials, which it sells (hopefully) at a profit internationally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The DSNY trucks, meanwhile, having emptied their cargo into the Sunset Park facility, follow a certain path back out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It carries them onto a second scale, just like the one they encountered when entering Sims. The differential tonnage between the weighings is what Sims bills New York City for their services.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Presumptively, this truck will head back to wherever it’s stationed to take on fuel and new crew, and head back out to perform more collection duties. Additional presumption would offer that it would likely end its next shift right back here at Sims Metal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Well… as I said at the top of the post – this is the way it all works. Also, let’s all try to use less stuff that we can only use one time before throwing it away. Can you just imagine what all of this costs?


Upcoming Tours and events

The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance – Saturday August 5th, 11 a.m. – 1;30 p.m.

Century old movable bridges, the remains of a 19th century highway between Brooklyn and Queens, and explore two of the lesser known tributaries of the troubled Newtown Creek watershed. For the vulgarly curious, Conrad Wissell’s Dead Animal and Night Soil wharf will be seen and described, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Brooklyn Waterfront Boat Tour, with Working Harbor Committee – Saturday August 12th, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Explore the coastline of Brooklyn from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman, Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours, and Gordon Cooper of Working Harbor Committee on the narrating about Brooklyn’s industrial past and rapidly changing present. details here.

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance – Sunday August 13th, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Explore the hellish waste transfer and petroleum districts of North Brooklyn on this daring walk towards the doomed Kosciuszko Bridge, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Two Newtown Creek Boat Tours, with Newtown Creek Alliance and Open House NY – Wednesday August 16th, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are home to the densest collection of these garbage facilities anywhere in the city and collectively, the waste transfer stations around and along Newtown Creek handle almost 40% of the waste that moves through New York. Join Newtown Creek Alliance’s Mitch Waxman and Willis Elkins  to learn about the ongoing efforts to address the environmental burden that this “clustering” has caused. details here.

DUPBO Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with NYCH20 – Thursday August 24th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Explore Greenpoint and Hunters Point, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Advertisements

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

noxious mysteries

with one comment

It’s National Cotton Candy Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, before all of that bridge business last week, I was telling y’all about heading over to Sunset Park to see something extraordinary. It was a strange and intricate journey getting from “Point A” in Astoria, Queens to “Point R” in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A medium sized walk then carried me under and through the “House of Moses,” on my way south to Sunset Park.

What caused one such as myself to cross the western tip of a Long Island? Garbage, of course. In this specific case, however, it was recycling and I was going to the Sims Metal Management facility found on Gowanus Bay.

from nycedc.com

Sims Metal Management is the processor of all plastic, metal, and glass collected by the Department of Sanitation and the City selected Sims to be the operator of the new city-owned recycling facility. With a $48-million investment from the City and a $46-million investment from Sims, the new facility, designed by Selldorf Architects, created approximately 80 to 85 permanent jobs. The facility was built embracing sustainable design elements, including green roofs, renewable energy generation, and on-site storm water treatment among others. In July 2010, the recycling facility won an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission. Construction commenced in October 2010 and will be completed by December 2012. Operations commenced in 2013.

The Sims Municipal Recycling Facility is a joint project of the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Small Business Services, NYCEDC, and Sims Metal Management.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As always, when a conflict of interest occurs for a humble narrator he puts it right out there front and center – the fellow who manages this recycling operation at Sims Metal is named Tom Outerbridge. Tom is one of my board members at Newtown Creek Alliance, and a friend, so there you go. Tom had allowed me to visit and photograph the company’s operations at Newtown Creek back in 2013, as you may recall – as detailed in the posts “carefully sheltered,” “stealthy attendants,” “temperamentally unfitted,” and “untold number.” Also, before you ask, yes – Tom is the grandson of Eugenius Outerbridge, first chair of the Port Authority for whom the Outerbridge Crossing bridge is named.

Breaking things down to operational basics, the Newtown Creek operation (Sims also has facilities in the Bronx and New Jersey) is about collection and transport, whereas the Sunset Park facility handles both collection and processing.

from simsmunicipal.com

Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) is a division of the North America Metals business unit of Sims Metal Management Limited (Sims). SMR is dedicated to meeting the recycling needs of the municipal sector. SMR has a 20 year contract (with two 10-year extensions) with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to provide processing and marketing services for 100% of the metal, glass and plastic and approximately 50% of the paper collected in the largest curbside program in North America. SMR also services a portion of the Chicago curbside program. SMR leverages its experience and resources and the resources of its parent company, Sims, to make curbside recycling efficient and effective.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What you’re looking at are DSNY (Department of Sanitation) recyclable collection trucks unloading at the Sunset Park facility. This is the clear and blue bag stuff – the metal, glass, plastic, and paper we all seperate out from the black bag or putrescent garbage. If it’s coming in by truck, the group I was touring the Sunset Park facility with were told by the Sims personnel, it’s likely coming directly from the collection route in Brooklyn. A few photos down, you’ll see a barge being unloaded, and that’s how they ship the stuff in from the other boroughs.

from ibio.nyc.ny.us

New York City recycles a wide variety of waste, but some materials are more likely to be recycled than others. The city has three solid waste streams: refuse, paper recycling, and metal/glass/plastic recycling. Overall, about 44 percent of recyclable material is “captured” by city recycling programs with the remainder sent to landfills, according to data from the Department of Sanitation’s 2013 Residential Waste Characterization Study. But a lot of recyclables are thrown in the wrong bins—aluminum cans, for example, tossed in with regular trash. As a result, the capture rate for each of the recyclable materials varies widely, from as low as 5 percent to as high as 75 percent. Material that ends up in the refuse stream or the wrong recycling stream is not recycled. In fact, such “contamination” makes recycling more expensive.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While I was watching from a catwalk set up above the shop floor, DSNY trucks kept on turning up. These are called “packer trucks” incidentally. There’s an orange “bulldozer” sort of machine that will come through after the DSNY trucks disgorge which sweeps all this material into the processing side of the operation (seen in tomorrow’s post).

from wikipedia

The New York City Department of Sanitation is the largest sanitation department in the world, with 7,201 uniformed sanitation workers and supervisors, 2,041 civilian workers, 2,230 general collection trucks, 275 specialized collection trucks, 450 street sweepers, 365 salt and sand spreaders, 298 front end loaders, and 2,360 support vehicles. It handles over 12,000 tons of residential and institutional refuse and recyclables a day. It has a uniformed force of unionized sanitation workers (Local 831 USA of the Teamsters). Its regulations are compiled in Title 16 of the New York City Rules.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Everybody back in Astoria had one question, when I told them about my visit to this spot, and it involved odor. It certainly didn’t smell like a freshly mowed lawn, but given the tonnage of garbage present, it was actually surprising how well the odor had been managed. I asked one of the hard hats about odor control, and she indicated that whereas there were indeed mechanical “scrubbers” simple ventilation and convection was doing most of the work.

The facility is at the water’s edge of Gowanus Bay, which provides for significant air flow and mixing. On the landward side, it’s an industrial park, so there aren’t too many residences to affect.

from wikipedia

Sims Metal Management also recycles post-consumer materials through a 20-year recycling contract with the New York City Department of Sanitation, which became effective in January 2009. Under this contract, the company is responsible for all curb-side recycling material, including all plastic, glass and metal on behalf of the City of New York. Packer trucks owned and operated by New York City deliver recyclables as a 26 commingled product to the company’s facilities. The commingled product then is processed using a series of screens, magnets, eddy currents, optical sorters and conveyors. The recyclables are separated and sorted into ferrous and non-ferrous metals, different plastic resins, glass and residue. Then the recycled materials are shipped to US and non-US markets.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That claw thingamabob is a “materials handler” and its operator was busy unloading a barge. Given the particular calendrical date my visit occurred upon, that’s actually Queensican recyclables being unloaded, which means that my own contribution to our municipal mess was somewhere in that 3-4 story high pile.

from wikipedia

A landfill site (also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump or dumping ground and historically as a midden) is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and the oldest form of waste treatment (although the burial part is modern; historically, refuse was just left in piles or thrown into pits). Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.

Some landfills are also used for waste management purposes, such as the temporary storage, consolidation and transfer, or processing of waste material (sorting, treatment, or recycling). Unless they are stabilized, these areas may experience severe shaking or soil liquefaction of the ground during a large earthquake.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The materials handler operator displayed a bit of finesse in the building of this mountain of refuse, using a bit of what a pool player would call “english” to deposit the thousands of plastic bags of garbage onto the mound.

from wikipedia

The municipal solid waste industry has four components: recycling, composting, disposal, and waste-to-energy via incineration. There is no single approach that can be applied to the management of all waste streams, therefore the Environmental Protection Agency, federal agency of the United States of America, developed a hierarchy ranking strategy for municipal solid waste. The Waste Management Hierarchy is made up of four levels ordered from most preferred to least preferred methods based on their environmental soundness: Source reduction and reuse; recycling or composting; energy recovery; treatment and disposal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The amazing part of the operation was actually in the highly automated sorting process which happens in another section of the building, and which will be described in tomorrow’s post. My pals in the carting business always tell me that it’s about tonnages, btw. How much in, how much out. They also remind me that it “has to go somewhere.”

The point of what DSNY and Sims Metal are doing is keeping that “somewhere” from being a landfill.

On a side note, it seems that “Dumpster” and “Packer” aren’t descriptive terms for the garbage trucks and waste receptacles we’ve inherited from the past, rather they’re brand names.

from wikipedia

In 1937, George Dempster invented the Dempster-Dumpster system in which wheeled waste containers were mechanically tipped into the truck. His containers were known as Dumpsters, which led to the word dumpster entering the language.

In 1938, the Garwood Load Packer revolutionized the industry when the notion of including a compactor in the truck was implemented. The first primitive compactor could double a truck’s capacity. This was made possible by use of a hydraulic press which compacted the contents of the truck periodically.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s what the Sims Metal facility in Sunset Park looks like from the water. The operational section is under that tilted roof, with the rectangular section on the far left used as offices and visitor center.

On the right is the berth which the barges are moved into, and on the left is the transfer floor shown in today’s post.

As mentioned, tomorrow, you’ll see the separation and processing room at this – your Newtown Pentacle.


Upcoming Tours and events

The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance – Saturday August 5th, 11 a.m. – 1;30 p.m.

Century old movable bridges, the remains of a 19th century highway between Brooklyn and Queens, and explore two of the lesser known tributaries of the troubled Newtown Creek watershed. For the vulgarly curious, Conrad Wissell’s Dead Animal and Night Soil wharf will be seen and described, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Brooklyn Waterfront Boat Tour, with Working Harbor Committee – Saturday August 12th, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Explore the coastline of Brooklyn from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman, Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours, and Gordon Cooper of Working Harbor Committee on the narrating about Brooklyn’s industrial past and rapidly changing present. details here.

The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance – Sunday August 13th, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Explore the hellish waste transfer and petroleum districts of North Brooklyn on this daring walk towards the doomed Kosciuszko Bridge, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Two Newtown Creek Boat Tours, with Newtown Creek Alliance and Open House NY – Wednesday August 16th, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The neighborhoods surrounding Newtown Creek are home to the densest collection of these garbage facilities anywhere in the city and collectively, the waste transfer stations around and along Newtown Creek handle almost 40% of the waste that moves through New York. Join Newtown Creek Alliance’s Mitch Waxman and Willis Elkins  to learn about the ongoing efforts to address the environmental burden that this “clustering” has caused. details here.

DUPBO Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with NYCH20 – Thursday August 24th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Explore Greenpoint and Hunters Point, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 31, 2017 at 11:00 am

unavoidable oversight

leave a comment »

What the end of the world will look like, as observed in Greenpoint USA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan’s recyclable paper and plastic went up in flames in Greenpoint the other night, when a blaze began at the Rapid Processing Center on Humboldt St. and Greenpoint Ave. at around 7 p.m. on March 18th. The operation was in the Waste Transfer Station Recycling business, acting as a depot for the unloading of the DSNY’s white packer trucks which perform curbside pickup of paper and plastic materials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the end, it took 200 firefighters and all of their arts to fight this four alarm fire.

Almost as soon as it started, social media sites like Facebook began to light up as well with comments and queries offered by community members about the fire and the possible hazards of being exposed to its smoke and effluents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the torrents of water used to combat the blaze also flooded the streets, and news reports described a lake of water on Greenpoint Avenue, which carried garbage off the site and allowed it to move around with the wind as flotsam. As you can see in the shot above, puddles of unusual size persist, and carry a sheen of something on their surface.

These shots were captured yesterday, March 23rd, and the mound of material was still smoldering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The structure is a total loss, obviously, and I did observe air quality monitoring equipment at work. Directly following the fire, FDNY announced that there was nothing, air quality wise, for the community to fret about.

Of course, there was reportedly NO air quality monitoring going on during the fire when a plume of (probably) dioxin laced smoke was infiltrating into the neighborhood.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was talk following the flooding of Hurricane Sandy about prepositioning environmental sampling kits around Greenpoint, so that actual “time of event” samples could be captured, but that seems to have been forgotten.

Green Infrastructure, instead, is the buzzword of the present day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During the fire your humble narrator was safe and sound and upwind in Astoria, but a point was made of interjecting myself into their lively debate to adjure the Greenpointers to call 311 and complain of the smoke, as this would have compelled DEP to set up air monitors DURING the event. No one listened, and no monitors were set up, so everything is fine and nobody was exposed to anything bad.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

New York City would not acknowledge the presence of an elephant in the City Council chamber room unless a statistically relevant number of 311 calls were received about it.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

massing around

leave a comment »

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An arrangement was made to meet up with some of my North Brooklyn chums to hash around a few ideas and discuss the news of the day at the thankfully reopened Ashbox restaurant in Greenpoint. A bit early for the assignation, your humble narrator drifted down to the street end, and former bulkhead of the Vernon Avenue Bridge, whereupon the Iron Wolf motored by.

from seawolfmarine.net

TUG: IRON WOLF (SINGLE SCREW) 450 HP, COASTWISE, MODEL BOW, HAWSWER TUG

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long have I wished that my parents had been avid motorcyclists and named me Iron Wolf, but alas. In fact, anything even remotely canid would satisfy this urge, but this could have resulted in my name being “Laddie”, “Butch”, or “Spot.” Iron Wolf sounds like a metal band from the early 1980’s, the sort that would have headlined at L’Amour’s over in Bay Ridge.

from tugboatenthusiastsociety.org

Name: IRON WOLF,

  • O/N: 0653661
  • Tug, Length: 50
  • Width: 16.7
  • HP: 400
  • Built Year: 1983
  • Built At: New Bedford, Ma.
  • Builder: Bear Marine Service
  • Home Port: New York, NY

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All I could find online about Iron Wolf was terse, straight to the point, and in “all caps.” I suppose that’s appropriate. IF YOU NAME SOMETHING IRON WOLF, YOU SHOULD USE ALL CAPS TO DESCRIBE IT. TERSE GREETINGS AND A MARITIME SUNDAY SHOUT OUT TO THE IRON WOLF. WELCOME TO NEWTOWN CREEK.

from wikipedia

A tugboat (tug) is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal, or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, log rafts, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for their size and strongly built, and some are ocean-going.

Also:

Remember that event in the fall which got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy?

The “Up the Creek” Magic Lantern Show presented by the Obscura Society NYC is back on at Observatory.

Click here or the image below for more information and tickets.

lantern_bucket

rough handling

with one comment

“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rejoice, for this is the day when men and women return to their ancestral villages and seaside hamlets, gathering beneath cobbled roofs and behind garret windows to celebrate “America Recycles Day”. Children shall be offered solemn pledges and vast ritual amalgamations of litter will be assembled for display and dissemination. Many and varied will be the manifestations of this occasion, which is ultimately rooted in the solemn traditions set down by a group known as “Keep America Beautiful”.

from wikipedia

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. ARD is celebrated annually on November 15. The World Recycling Day celebrated in most countries, though falls on July 8. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage Americans to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze in astonished wonder at the industry of man, and the tyranny of wealth. Imagine, if you would, the raw tonnages of refined metals displayed in these shots. Surely, just in today’s posting, we are seeing a greater amount of waste metals than an entire nation might be capable of producing just a scant 200 years ago. We waste so much, and our culture- if nothing else- will prove itself a boon to future archaeologists.

The multitudinous middens of the megalopolis, well moistened with motor oil, will stand as our monument.

from wikipedia

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by consortium of American businesses (including founding member Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola) nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and concerned individuals in reaction to the growing problem of highway litter that followed the construction of the Interstate Highway System, and an increasingly mobile and convenience-oriented American consumer. The original goal of the organization was to reduce litter through public service advertising (PSA) campaigns.

Keep America Beautiful conducted many local PSA campaigns early in its history. One of these early campaigns in Pennsylvania (PENNDOT), some attribute to having coined the term “litterbug”, as opposed to the New York Transit Authority. There is some confusion over the origin of the actual word “litterbug” due to several early uses of it in widespread public service advertisements. It was, in fact, coined by Paul B. Gioni, a copywriter in New York City who originated it for The American Ad Council in 1947. Keep America Beautiful joined with the Ad Council in 1961 to dramatize the idea that every individual must help protect against the terrible effects litter has on the environment.

A popular television campaign theme in 1963, with copy written by Paul B. Gioni who also coined the word “litterbug” in 1947, was “Every Litter Bit Hurts”. Another appeared in 1964 featuring character Susan Spotless. In 1970 KAB began distributing a free brochure; more than 100,000 copies were requested within 4 months.

On Earth Day 1971, a new campaign was launched with the theme “People Start Pollution. People can stop it” featuring the now iconic “Crying Indian” played by Iron Eyes Cody.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Amongst those who tolerate my presence, some work in the recycling industry. A missive they ask a humble narrator to transmit reads as: “Recycle. Please. Don’t do it for us and our business, do it for your kids”. They continue that it’s probably already too late, and that the future is trashed. Perhaps, just perhaps, they are wrong. Until the ultimate answer is found to this disposables issue, they are likely being far more pragmatic than the rest of us. It is they, after all, who see the trucks tipping and collecting, and spend more time than they would like handling putrescent garbage as a loss leader.

from americarecyclesday.org

Figuring out when, where and how to recycle in your community couldn’t be easier. Log on to www.americarecyclesday.org and select the “Find Recycling” tab and click on the Earth911.com logo. This will direct you their recycling resource page, where you can enter the item type and your zip code to find the nearest recycling facility.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By no means should this humble narrator be considered a creature of primal intelligence, good hygiene, or high moral turpitude. Neither should it be inferred that the role of exemplar is claimed, as far as the contributions of my own household to the problem. A lone and singular advantage is that I am instead smart enough to realize how smart I’m not, and realize the shallow depths of my grasp on the situation. Around here, we just try not to be too loose with using things that can’t be washed, or reused, or cross purposed. How about you?

from wikipedia

Recycling statistics:

  • 251 million – tons of trash in the United States
  • 53.4 – percentage of all paper products recycled in the United States
  • 32.5 – percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States
  • 100 – approximate percentage of increase in total recycling in the United States during the past decade
  • 8,660 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2006
  • 8,875 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2003
  • 95 – percentage of energy saved by recycling an aluminum can, compared with manufacturing a new one
  • 4.6 – pounds of trash per person per day in the United States (most in the world)
  • 1.5 – pounds of recycled materials per person per day in the United States

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2012 at 12:15 am

vast reaches

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured today are the operations of A.R.C. scrap metal division of a corporation called Alloco found at 540 Kingsland avenue in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, pictured from a vantage point on the loquacious Newtown Creek.

Another former Standard Oil property converted over to modern usage, A.R.C. scrap metal is involved in the recycling trade.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the folks who work here, and you couldn’t ask to encounter a nicer bunch of guys. Their yard always displays a frenzy of activity, with heavy equipment sorting through the flow of waste materials and what seems like dozens of safety vested and hard hatted workers laboring away.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You may have seen one of these shots before, and apologies are offered for repetition. One is still sorting out problems and playing catch up after the interruption to work flow offered by the lightning strike which disabled much of my equipment.

It has been a very, very busy period of time with many unexpected and unscheduled obstacles.

_______________________________________________________________

August 5th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman will be leading a walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City, exploring the insalubrious valley of the Newtown Creek.

The currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, provides a dramatic and picturesque setting for this exploration. We’ll be visiting two movable bridges, the still standing remains of an early 19th century highway, and a forgotten tributary of the larger waterway. As we walk along the Newtown Creek and explore the “wrong side of the tracks” – you’ll hear tales of the early chemical industry, “Dead Animal and Night Soil Wharfs”, colonial era heretics and witches and the coming of the railroad. The tour concludes at the famed Clinton Diner in Maspeth- where scenes from the Martin Scorcese movie “Goodfellas” were shot.

Lunch at Clinton Diner is included with the ticket.

Details/special instructions.

Meetup at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. on August 5, 2012. The L train serves a station at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well. Check MTA.info as ongoing weekend construction often causes delays and interruptions. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your vehicle in the vicinity of the Clinton Diner in Maspeth, Queens or near the start of the walk at Grand St. and Morgan Avenue (you can pick up the bus to Brooklyn nearby the Clinton Diner).

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic as we move through a virtual urban desert. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.

Clinton Diner Menu:

  • Cheese burger deluxe
  • Grilled chicken over garden salad
  • Turkey BLT triple decker sandwich with fries
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce or butter
  • Greek salad medium
  • Greek Salad wrap with French fries
  • Can of soda or 16oz bottle of Poland Spring

for August 5th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

frightful parts

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In ancient Greenpoint, down on Manhattan Avenue, a scrap metal processing yard has opened.

This is a somewhat puzzling development, as the modern streets around these parts host a large number of residential buildings- both old and new- and the locale is clearly trending toward the residential rather than industrial in the future. Regardless, this business brings badly needed jobs to recession plagued Brooklyn, and all I can say to these new stakeholders along the water is this- “Welcome to Newtown Creek”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The good news is that this particular metals business- which is TnT Scrap Metal, by the way- is using barges in the pursuit of their trade.

A single barge carries the equivalent load of better than 150 trucks, and one of the tried and true complaints offered incessantly at this – your Newtown Pentacle- is how few of the businesses based along the Newtown Creek utilize their bulkheads. The metals trade, at least the big players like SimsMetal, utilize maritime methodologies routinely.

This Newtown Creek of ours was once one of the finest industrial waterways on earth, and could be again someday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Once upon a time, the sight of a barge tied up here would have been nothing special. The Newtown Creek Towing Company was nearby, as was the New York State Barge canal. The enormous brick structure framing the shot above, known to modernity as the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) was once home of the Chelsea Fiber Mill, an 1868 era factory building which was employed in the manufacture of maritime textiles and rope.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Manhattan Avenue Street end, where once the Vernon Avenue Bridge connected the Brooklyn municipality of Greenpoint to Long Island City’s Hunters Point, is a park and sports a kayak launch. It’s actually a pretty popular place for the locals- for dog walking, coffee drinking… and god help us all… people actually fish and crab here as well.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

TNT is making an effort at being a good neighbor, and has recently announced a contest for local artists to compete for a monetary prize and the chance to paint a mural on their largish metal gates on Manhattan Avenue. When word of this reached me a few weeks back, and TNT’s “rfp” crossed my desk, the first person I thought of to disseminate the news to the arts community of Greenpoint was none other than Ms. Heather over at newyorkshitty.com.

Ever gracious and instinctually curatorial, she ran the news in this post- where you can get all the details on the competition.

____________________________________________________________________________

Click for details on Mitch Waxman’s
Upcoming walking and boat tours of Newtown Creek, and Staten Island’s Kill Van Kull

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

July 8th, 2012- Atlas Obscura Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

for July 8th tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

July 22nd, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Newtown Creek Boat Tour

%d bloggers like this: