The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas D. Witte

habitual vacancy

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Maritime Monday? What’s with me these days?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at my Brownstoner column today, an article detailing a boat trip up Newtown Creek (called “my beloved Creek“) which brought members of the Newtown Creek CAG to the waterway on the 11th of July is described.

It’s a pretty long read, and describes a site visit and boat excursion which was initiated by the “Newtown Creek Group” who are the “Potentially Responsible Parties” named by the Federal EPA in the Superfund listing of Newtown Creek. While we were out on the boat, the Thomas D. Witte tug from Donjon towing happened along.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Likely coming from SimsMetal, the tug was engaged in guiding two barges out of Newtown Creek towards the East River. Maritime industrial usage of the Creek wasn’t really a part of the discussion while we were onboard our boat. The PRP and EPA’s contractor, Anchor QEA, had sent out representatives and scientific staff to inform and instruct about their efforts, and the extensive schedule of scientific analyses which they’ve been engaged in for the last few years.

They also wanted to discuss the future.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Quoting from the Brownstoner piece

“Once upon a time, the industrial Newtown Creek represented nearly two million jobs spread across its vast watershed, and it carried a greater tonnage of cargo than the entire Mississippi River. It’s 3.8 miles long, providing the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and sits at the dead bang center of New York City.

What do you want to see happen here on Newtown Creek? The Federal EPA, the City of New York, even the so called “Potentially Responsible Parties” or Newtown Creek Group are requesting your input.  What do you say, Maspeth – and Blissville – and Ridgewood – and Sunnyside – and LIC?”

The Newtown Creek CAG summer meeting will be coming up soon.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, July 26th, The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
With Atlas Obscura, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, July 27th, Glittering Realms
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

shared obeisances

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On this Maritime Sunday, witness the struggles of the Thomas D. Witte tug as it manages a barge into place on the lamentable Newtown Creek. That’s the City’s “Newtown Creek Dock”, tenanted by the mill of the titanic SimsMetal operation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In a distant era, this locale was the home of the LIRR’s infamous Manure Dock, where a 30 foot high pile of the stuff would have awaited disposition to agricultural clients further east. Recycling, it seems, has a centuried history along the Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The narrowness of the great canal creates a series of issues for tug and barge combinations along the Newtown Creek and always has. There used to be a specialist company, Newtown Creek Towing, which was located nearby the Vernon Avenue Bridge.

A hearty Maritime Sunday shout out to DonJon towing and the crew of the Thomas D. Witte is offered.


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.


the dark moor

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lucid and unwholesome, witness this sky flung perspective of the backbone of New York City- vantaged from several hundred feet above the Newtown Creek and it’s little known tributary- Whale Creek, and high atop the digester eggs of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Gaze in wonder at the majesty of western Queens.

Additionally, click here to see this view reversed, and witness the parallel horizon of infinite Brooklyn.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Thomas D. Witte tugboat maneuvering a barge into position at the SimsMetal dock, and the rusty crossing in the background is the non functioning swing bridge which spans the larger Queens side tributary of Newtown Creek called Dutch Kills.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the LIRR moving along the ancient rail tracks which have blessed the industries and cursed the residents of this area since the early 19th century. The general area that the locomotive track is passing through, employed to this very day by petrochemical interests, is the former Queens location of Standard Oil at Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the distance, from left is Lindenthal’s magnificent Queensboro, the Big Allis power plant, the omnipresent Sapphire megalith, the high flying Long Island Expressway, and a substantial portion of the vast industrial quarters of Long Island City which I call “The Empty Corridor“.

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