The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Sunset

doubly potent

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They’re not exactly hurting for scenery up there in Vermont, I tell’s ya.

At the end of College Street, right on the waterfront, is a boathouse which tenants a bar/restaurant sort of situation. They do cocktails and lobster rolls, burgers and beers, that sort of place. Most importantly, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself were able to grab a table and a couple of chairs and just reflect on what was a very fun day wherein we had experienced 3-4 different weather forecasts within 12 hours.

We were tired from what ended up being about 15 miles of walking.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Doesn’t sound like a lot of walking, 15 miles. Saying that, I spend all of my time on the mostly flat tidal plain that NYC is embedded onto. I grew up in a gray area of Canarsie and Flatlands, which was right next door to Flatbush. Notice how the word “flat” keeps coming up? In Burlington, getting to the next corner could involve walking up an inclined street to get to an intersection that is fifty or sixty feet higher in elevation than the one you started on.

It would have been nice to have some sort of personal transportation, but when we needed to get someplace distant, ride share LYFT cars were never too far away and even our longest ride fare never broke past $20 before tip.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Burlington is immaculate. That’s something I kept on noticing. Street litter is largely nonexistent. There’s also a paucity of, but still some, graffiti. Most of the graffiti observed adjured the reader to love themselves, and others. Real hippy dippy messaging, if you know what I mean. People I talked to were aware of combined sewers and that street garbage would inevitably end up in Lake Champlain so they made an effort to keep that from happening. There were litter bins – garbage AND recycling – on every corner. The air was clean and fresh, you didn’t smell rotting garbage or standing water. There was no sound of fart cars, or police helicopters, or anything like the constant standing wall of buzzing noise offered by NYC.

Could you live here?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The biggest local employers are a company that has taken over functions at an old IBM factory in Essex Junction, which is where we debarked from the Amtrak “Vermonter” line train. That’s where the money is, I’m told. The other big employers are the colleges – University of Vermont and Champlain College. Burlington is surrounded by farm country, as in a little more than half hour drive from the city center and you’re looking at cows and horses. An hour out and you’re deep in “the country.” A significant number of Vermont natives live in deep poverty. There’s no more than 643,503 people in the entire state, according to the 2020 census, and the average median income for a hypothetical family of four would be about $53,000. Remember, that’s median, so 53k is the 50% mark with half of those six hundred forty three thousand souls earning far less.

Population wise, Vermont is the second least populous state after Wyoming. That means that your vote for National Office holders like Congressman or Senator really counts. As far as income rank, that 53k median mentioned above makes it the 28th most wealthy state – per capita.

By the way, if the fact that 53k for a family of four puts you in the middle of the income chart for the USA doesn’t scare the hell out of you and make you rethink what you think you know about economics, I think you should talk to your doctor about getting on some kind of pill.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Burlington enjoys a hot summer version of a continental climate, with average temperature ranging between 20 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 72 degrees in July. They get outlier days, of course, but those are the averages as offered by the government meteorological types. Despite the northern latitude, they don’t seem to get as much snow as you’d imagine. An average of 37.5 inches of precipitation falls annually on Burlington. That’s around ten inches less than New York City gets these days, actually.

Politically speaking, Burlington is far to the left of New York City – it’s Bernie Sanders’ home base, after all. The City operates on 100% renewable power, solar panels are installed everywhere, there are generating windmills, the place is squeaky clean and mostly litter free.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The answer is that yes, you could live here and have a pretty ok life, and obviously so if you’re in the upper income percentile over 53k per year. The median cost for a house in the City of Burlington is about 131k. The price of housing drops off the further away you go, of course. There are real steals available in farm country, and living fifty miles outside of the center doesn’t mean the same thing in Vermont that it does in NYC. In NYC and its exurbs, it can take you two hours to go 5 miles, even on the highways. An hour drive in Vermont can find you living in a vernal paradise of barely populated and quite aboriginal woodlands. The trick is finding a way to move there with the salary you’re earning in NYC.

Woof. Back next week with more pics and stories from Vermont. Vermont was, of course, just one of the places I’ve been to in September. It’s been a wild ride, lords and ladies.


“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 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

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supercilious and sneering

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Sunset at my beloved Creek, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Around a week ago, my pal Gil Lopez was conducting a meeting of Newtown Creek Alliance’s Green Infrastructure Work Group over at the HarborLab location at the Vernon street end in LIC. Green Infrastructure, for those of you not in the loop, is a concept which seeks to use natural processes rather than mechanical ones (known as gray infrastructure) to handle issues such as flooding around waterways. Sometimes this “G.I.” manifests as bioswales, which are elaborately constructed tree pits that function as storm water retention tanks, in other cases it might mean using petroleum eating fungus organisms to clean up a brown field.

Pretty exciting stuff, actually, and the government types REALLY like it as it’s much cheaper to implement than gray infrastructure – which usually takes the form of sewer plants and expensive cut and cover projects like bending weirs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The event was well attended, I saw Jan Mun and Jason Sinopoli, whose NCA project involving fungal or mycoremediation at the ExxonMobil 400 Kingsland Avenue site in Greenpoint I had photographed a while back. Dorothy Morehead from CB2 was there as well, and Gil Lopez is one of the founders of the Smiling Hogshead Ranch – a community garden recently opened on MTA property over on Skillman Avenue. Lynne Serpe from the Green Party, and Erik Baard from HarborLab, as well as a bunch of people I had never met before.

We discussed a few things, and since I had brought my tripod – decided to squeeze out a few sunset exposures.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One is really going to miss the view from Newtown Creek, when the real estate industrial complex achieves their goal of stealing the sky and a shield wall of luxury condos is completed. The Green Infrastructure stuff is going to be increasingly important in coming decades, as we stack as many people as possible into LIC and North Brooklyn. Imagine what’s going to my beloved Creek every morning when all of these multitudes flush their toilets and bathe. Hopefully, we can imagine a solution, using nature to combat our ill conceived nurture.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

June 7th, 2015
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets.

June 11th, 2015
MADE IN BROOKLYN Hidden Harbor Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee, click here for details and tickets.

June 13th, 2015
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets.

June 20th, 2015
Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets.

problematical attempt

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Alright already, jeez.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As previously mentioned, Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself enjoyed a short vacation at the end of the last month, and for part of that duration we were at sea. Hence, your humble narrator is a bit short on content as I’ve been off my beaten path. Therefore, a couple of shots of the oceanic sky greet you today. This was about 15 minutes or so after the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself opened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sunset, on the same day as the one above. We hit weather for most of the “away game,” it was 42 degrees in Florida for instance, so seeing the ole burning thermonuclear eye of god itself open and close at all was a treat.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

headlong down

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Nowhere to go, no one to talk to, like a falling autumn leaf – me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One actually did have someplace to go last week – as a rare social occasion wherein a group of us who work for the Brownstoner Queens site commiserated over dinner and drinks in the Dutch Kills neighborhood last week. This drew me out just as the rain clouds were blowing out last Thursday night, and the sunset lighting one encountered was absolutely stellar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This rainbow appeared over what is today the Center Building on Northern Blvd., but what was once a Ford Service Center and later offices for a large pharmaceutical company. The song “Somewhere over the rainbow” apparently refers to Sunnyside, it would seem.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This week I also have someplace to go to – I’ll be attending a meeting of the Newtown Creek CAG (Community Advisory Group), on October 1st. It’s going to be held over in Brooklyn, at the McCarren Play Center Community Room, 776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. I’m told that the EPA will be present. Come with?

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

shadowed lips

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The fairly excellent Watercourses blog presents this post on Sunswick Creek, a waterbody which once existed here in Astoria, and still runs to the East River through manmade corridors deep below the modern streets. No, really. Watercourses has been down there and has photos! More importantly, the post also carries two maps from the 1870’s which show the early street plan of Astoria.

You’ll notice, on the 2nd one, a “Ridge St.” and a “Camelia St.”. The road running between them is Broadway, and at its intersection with Vernon Ave. the latter takes a wicked hook and becomes Sunswick Creek XXX (at this moment, it remains obfuscated to me whether this is a street or avenue or road, I think I can hear somebody at Greater Astoria Historic Society sighing right now).

This bit of geographic reckoning, of course, is simplified by saying- “Stevens Est.” = Costco, and that weird mouth of the creek is Socrates Sculpture Garden, and these photos were shot just beyond where that little dock shape is, between the “n” and second “s” in Sunswick. (I also wanted to send a shout out to Watercourses. Well Done!)

Whew!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

According to certain sources, two aboriginals named Shawestcont and Erramorhar (as witnessed by their cohorts Warchan and Kethcanaparan) sold much of what we know as Astoria (but which they called Sintsinck) to William Hallett (who was similarly accompanied by a company of witnesses and countrymen) on August 1, 1664- which is how the place got its name.

For a more complete view of highlights from Hallets Cove, and Sunswick Creek- check out this Newtown Pentacle post from February of 2010, and the “The Horrors of Hallet’s Cove“ from June of 2009.

The very fact that temperatures have risen once again to the point at which the atmosphere can sustain water in a liquid state, by the way, is a font of joy for your humble narrator- as walking the East River shoreline is once more possible for both man and duck. Which means that a winter’s worth of book research can finally be explored materially.

Whew!

I’ll be that weirdo in the dirty black raincoat you might spy scuttling along the waterfront…

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 25, 2011 at 3:32 am

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