The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Statue of Liberty

surgical instrumentation

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It’s National Rum Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When a young but already humble narrator was but a boy, he lived in an apartment in southeast Brooklyn with a pair of parents who liked to fight and argue about every little thing. There was always a lot of yelling and screaming, as Mom and Pop would square off about the various issues and challenges facing them. Mom was always the superior tactician in these regular verbal battles. The old man was all about volume and anger, often demonstrating his frustration by putting his fist through a wall, whereas the old lady would go for the emotional jugular and work the guilt angle whenever she could. One of her techniques to wind the old man up would be flipping the subject mid fight, which forced him to suddenly wheel around and defend a previously unexposed flank. She would do this several times in rapid fire, which confused the hell out of Dad or whomever she was arguing with as she didn’t reserve her combative psyche for the household, but instead spread the enmity around to whoever was available in the neighborhood or reachable by telephone. 

Mom was kind of a jerk, and often initiated her wars due to personal insecurity and perceived slights which had little basis in reality. In many ways, she ruined her own life with this sort of behavior, alienating everyone around her – including myself, her sibling, and just about everybody she was related to didn’t want to be anywhere near her at the end. Even after she died, all that my family members could talk about was her constant bickering and invective reasoning, which means that she ultimately won her battle to dominate any and all conversation. We were continuing to argue about and with a dead woman. 

Mom was actually a genius on the arguing front, and she would skillfully obfuscate and steer the conversation and arguments she was engaged in away from whatever the original subject was. Her diversions would drive her opponents into blind fury and annoyed frustration. At the end of her tirades, she’d proclaim herself the victimized party, and then begin a multi day process of shaming and guilt towards her “victimizers.” 

Sound familiar? It’s exactly the sort of technique which the current President of the United States uses. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My Mom and Dad are no longer with us (except as regular voices in my inner dialogue) and the wasted family time, which was squandered in this ridiculous melodrama, weighs heavily upon me. So too does the time we are all wasting as a community discussing and arguing about “he who must not be named, for saying his name gives him power.” What would be expected of an American President after a race riot is a repudiation of the KKK and the white power crowd, but by prevaricating about the subject, the President has made his views and feelings a point of debate amongst both the press and people and is diverting attention away from actual events over to himself. His goal, which is to stand at center stage and have the only conversation be about him, has been achieved. He’s keeping our heads spinning with the bi weekly outrages, and in doing so, he dominates all discourse. Can you actually remember the outrages of February or March, or is your head spinning? Have you punched a wall yet? 

Even I’m talking about him right now, and this is hardly the only thing you’re going to read about him today. His strategy, like my Mom’s, is to keep himself as the central character of a shaped narrative and dramaturge. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – none of the words we use for political subjects have any meaning. In the last election, Hillary Clinton was the actual conservative and “he who must not be named” was not a “reformer.” Bill de Blasio is not a “Progressive,” as he has never once used the mid 20th century political term “Progress” in its proper context. None of these political brand marks mean anything anymore, and they were coined more than a century ago by people who meant something entirely different by them than modern usage. We don’t use Whig or Torie anymore, do we? 

You do have to hand it to the Nazi’s and Race Supremacists however, for evolving and adopting the techniques of “Identity Politics” as pioneered in the 1960’s to rebrand themselves and portray their “movement” as being something other than hooliganism and the “mob mentality” which Alexander Hamilton was so concerned about during his Federalist papers period. That’s pretty clever, and my Mom would likely have been impressed by the sheer ballsiness of it, but she was a cruel person who enjoyed other people’s misfortunes and enjoyed winding them up. 


Upcoming Tours and events

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.

America’s Workshop Newtown Creek Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Saturday August 26th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Explore the Dutch Kills tributary of Newtown Creek in Long Island City, with NCA Historian Mitch Waxman details here.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

un cheval de Troie

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You can’t trust anyone, even France.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A statue of a one hundred eleven and a half foot tall French chick, with a four and half foot long nose and a thirty five foot waistband, has been greeting all who enter New York Harbor since October of 1886. The thing was shipped here in 350 sections which were contained in 214 crates, which were almost lost in a storm at sea while in transport from France, onboard a French Frigate called “Isère” in 1885. Isère is a river in France, btw, which runs through an area formerly called Dauphiné Viennois, which was the feudal territory controlled by the heirs apparent to the French throne.

The monument was publicly touted as a gift from the nation of France, specifically the Third Republic France, to its fellow Democracy.

As it turns out, the Statue of Liberty was actually a trojan horse.

WWskeletons

– photo via anonymous

News of what’s been happening on Liberty Island has been reaching me since Hurricane Sandy, through confidential informants and whistle blowers in the maritime industrial complex. As you might recall, both the Island and Statue received quite a wallop during the storm. The U.S. Parks Dept. kept the island closed for a longer than expected interval, and growing curiosity found me asking friends and acquaintances what was happening. Many grew pale and said “nothing” while others related a sordid tale.

It seems that Sandy had uncovered human remains which had lain hidden since the 19th century, a fact which the Federal Government wished to keep hidden from the American people for prosaic reasons.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

According to my sources, these human remains were found between the inner and outer layers of copper in Liberté’s skirt. Their condition was skeletal, and all in all 16 individuals were located. By all appearances, with two exceptions, it seemed the men had simply starved to death deep within the Statue of Liberty. The reason that this fantastic sounding story has been officially suppressed involves the uniforms and equipment found with the corpses, which strongly suggests that a small group of French Soldiers had been sent on a commando mission to New York City in 1886 and were hidden away in the Paris manufactured statuary.

The mission? Assassinating President Grover Cleveland on October 28th, 1886.

French_soldiers_in_the_Franco-Prussian_War_1870-71

– photo via Wikipedia

Uniforms and weapons found amongst the human remains are consistent with those used by French Armed Forces during the 1880’s, and include early production models of the Lebel Model 1886 Bolt Action Rifle – a weapon strongly associated with both the Armed Forces of France and the Fusiliers-Marins of the Troupes de marine (that translates into American as Marine Special Forces attached to Naval Special Operations).

So, what did the French have against Grover Cleveland?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Cleveland was the guy who kept the United States out of the Berlin Conference, which caused colonial France to lose out on getting the good parts of Africa (cotton, rivers, lack of malaria) and allowed Britain and Germany to massively expand onto the continent in its stead. This cost the French a LOT of money.

You didn’t screw around with France back then, and the supposition that a squad of soldiers were sent to assassinate Cleveland on a suicide mission is not altogether crazy for the era. Also, there’s an odd anecdote which suggests that some inside members of this Gaulish conspiracy might have interfered with its execution (and with the execution). 

from wikipedia

A nautical parade began at 12:45 p.m., and President Cleveland embarked on a yacht that took him across the harbor to Bedloe’s Island for the dedication. De Lesseps made the first speech, on behalf of the French committee, followed by the chairman of the New York committee, Senator William M. Evarts.

A French flag draped across the statue’s face was to be lowered to unveil the statue at the close of Evarts’s speech, but Bartholdi mistook a pause as the conclusion and let the flag fall prematurely.

The ensuing cheers put an end to Evarts’s address. President Cleveland spoke next, stating that the statue’s “stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world”.

Bartholdi, observed near the dais, was called upon to speak, but he refused.

Statue of Liberty unveiled, by Edward Moran, courtesy wikipedia

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Written by Mitch Waxman

April 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

strenuous activity

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Liberté.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a short one today depicting the giant pile of copper and copper and steel which has been arranged, in NY Harbor, into a 111 feet and six inches tall simulacra of a french woman. Her nose is 4.5 feet long, and she has a 35 foot waistline, just in case you were wondering.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 31, 2014 at 11:27 am

vast and inscrutable

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…stand beside her, and guide her…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A joke those of involved with New York Harbor throw readily around is that there is a coast guard regulation which states that every harbor tour has to stop at the Statue of Liberty. Its become such a ubiquitous part of the “experience” that I barely shoot the thing anymore, which is a huge mistake.

Never, never, ignore an icon. That is, unless you are jaded idiot like me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Many of the tourists on the Staten Island Ferry- did you know that the Staten Island Ferry is NYC’s #1 tourist destination- come out just for their statue shot. At the mid point of the 30 minute trip, port or starboard (depending) gets mobbed with visitors taking “selfies” and family shots. When your humble narrator is onboard the big orange boat, I’m usually looking for unusual harbor traffic and treat the statue as little more than background.

Liberty is not just part of the landscape, nor should it ever be taken for granted.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Given the events of the last decade or so, with the beating of war drums and other dire portents omnipresent, even one such as myself has begun to look toward this ubiquitous icon with new eyes. She was the product of a brutal era, the symbol of a comparatively innocent time, and meant to serve as a beacon. According to Teddy Roosevelt, she was useless as a light house.

Its a complicated concept- this “liberty,” as embodied by a 111 and a half foot tall French chick with a four and half foot long nose and a thirty five foot waistband who is well over a hundred years old.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

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

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

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

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

later developments

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a quick one for Maritime Sunday this week, of the Marjorie B. McAllister tug steaming out of the Kill Van Kull. Iconic backgrounds notwithstanding, this is a pretty cool little boat, and deserving of a hearty “Hi.”

held colloquy

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Liberty persists in darkness, and threatening storms, and even on “Black Friday”. This one off shot, captured while onboard a Working Harbor Committee expedition during the summer of 2012, is one of my annular favorites simply for the presence of “crepuscular rays”. That’s the fancy thirteen dollar word way of describing the rays of light filtering down through the clouds.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 23, 2012 at 12:15 am

quieter bazaars

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Mer de Beaufort, or the Beaufort Sea, is a body of water found north of Alaska and Canada which is frozen over most of the year. Beneath it are significant reserves of natural gas and petroleum, which are exploited by and fought over by both Canadian and United States interests. Due to its severe weather and ice bound condition, little to no commercial fishing happens, and it is home to a large colony of Beluga Whales and other cetacean megafauna. Most of the folks who live there are aboriginal- ethnic Inuvialuit Inuits and Native Americans.

It’s also a tugboat.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1971, by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana (hull #258) as the Corsair for Interstate Oil Transportation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



At the time Interstate Oil Transportation operated two fleets. Their Northeast Fleet or “Green Fleet” operated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And their Southern Fleet or “White fleet” which operated out of Tampa, Florida.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, the Kirby Corporation bought a large outfit operating in NY Harbor called K-Sea. Beaufort Sea was a K-Sea tug, now it’s one of the hundreds owned and operated by the Texas based Kirby. The acquisition, apparently, was driven by a desire to strengthen their coastal towing capabilities in the field of refined petroleum and other barge shipped volatile liquids. An extensive corporate history, which reads like something out of an Ayn Rand book, can be perused here.

from kirbycorp.com

The New York Division operates tank barges ranging in capacity from 1,800 barrels to 81,000 barrels, and tugboats from 400 to 3,400 horsepower. This division services a wide variety of customers in both the refined and residual petroleum trades. Many of the barges in the New York fleet are engaged in the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The NY Division vessels also transport gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, ethanol and other refined products for local and regional customers. In the residual fuel sector, power generating customers rely on New York division vessels for floating storage and transportation of heavy fuel oil to local power plants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The actual Beaufort Sea- as in the section of the Arctic Ocean which is found between Point Barrow, Prince Peters Island, Banks Island, and the northern coast of Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories- seems like a fascinating place whose native peoples live a kind of life one can scarcely imagine as your humble narrator lives in a place called Queens. Hearty, a maritime Sunday shout out goes to both the native people of some far away coast and to the crew of the Beaufort Sea Tug.

from workboat.com

Kirby Corp. is buying K-Sea Transportation Partners in a deal that expands the giant tank-barge operator’s business into the coastwise petroleum transport trade.

The Houston company’s latest and largest acquisition this year is valued at $600 million — $335 million for K-Sea’s equity and $265 million in assumed debt — and is expected to close by July.

The two companies share oil company and refinery customers, so the transaction announced Sunday combines complementary rather than competing businesses. Kirby operates 825 inland tank barges and 222 towboats, as well as four offshore dry-cargo barges and four tugs. K-Sea has 58 coastal tank barges and 63 tugs that operate along the U.S. coasts as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

Also- Upcoming Newtown Creek tours and events:

for more information on the October 27th Newtown Creek Boat Tour, click here

for more information on the November 9th Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show, click here

for an expanded description of the November 11th Newtown Creek tour, please click here

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