From the Frozone


    I had a meeting to go to last night at LaGuardia Community College, this time it was for the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group. I made sure to give myself a little extra time to wander and wave the camera about. I’m happy to report that Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary is still where it’s supposed to be, although it is quite frozen. Since it was right around sunset, I got busy with the camera. The shot above is looking north from the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge at the former Loose Wiles Thousand Windows Bakery in the Degnon Terminal.

    More after the jump…


    I’ve seen Dutch Kills frozen before, of course, but there’s normally channels of flowing water visible at the edges of the canal. Yesterday, it was pretty much a giant block of ice, with only a tiny bit of liquid apparent. Wind blown garbage and piles of snow were just sitting on the surface. The structure you’re looking at is called a dolphin, btw, and it’s job is to keep ships from striking the bridge.


    Looking south towards the long Island Expressway. Opened for business in 1939, the truss bridge carrying the expressway towers 106 feet above the water. All the other bridges on Dutch Kills are low lying “movable” bridges. It seems that Robert Moses needed to accommodate for ocean going ships with masts and high smoke stacks when the LIE was designed, and didn’t like the idea of automotive traffic flow being held up by maritime traffic.


    On the other side of the LIE, this time shooting from the Borden Avenue Bridge, looking towards Court Square and that giant greenish blue thing that juts out of it. Court Square is a ten minute walk from Dutch Kills, with Skillman Avenue and Yard A of the Sunnyside Yards complex found in between. For some reason, a lot of people in LIC think Newtown Creek and its tributaries are distant, whereas they’re literally around the corner or just down the block.

    Just follow your nose, I tell them.


    Finally, looking towards Dutch Kills junction with the main course of Newtown Creek at sunset. Center in shot are two LIRR rail bridges, and to the left is part of the sewer plant over in Greenpoint. SimsMetal is also found towards the left side of the shot, just out of frame.

    Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman lives in Astoria and blogs at Newtown Pentacle.

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