Walking Tour: The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
Taught by Mitch Waxman
Mitch Waxman was raised in Brooklyn, attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and worked for many years as a comic book writer and artist. He also worked in advertising production and as a photo retouching specialist for several advertising agencies. He has always had a certain fascination with historical material.
After a health scare several years ago, medical personnel advised him that he should start running to improve his health. Having grown up, as aforementioned, in Brooklyn – Mitch cannot run unless something is chasing him so he began to walk the earth and brought the camera along to keep things interesting. Soon, he found the occluded reality of the Newtown Creek and hasn’t left the place since.
Mitch started the Newtown Pentacle website in 2009 to document his adventures along the Newtown Creek(and in the greater harbor and city beyond). He has served the City of New York as a Parade Marshall three times, has been named the Newtown Creek Alliance’s group historian, is a Steering Committee member of the Working Harbor Committee, and offers regular walking, bus and boat tours of the Newtown Creek Watershed. He resides in Astoria, Queens, with his wife Catherine and their little dog.
His photography and unique point of view have attracted no small amount of attention, and Mitch has appeared in several documentaries about the Creek and is often quoted in news articles about the subject. A book collecting his photos and discoveries- Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curious, is available for order at lulu.com, and a second book will be published soon.
Photo credit: Steve McCann
Join Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman for walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City and along the Newtown Creek. Following the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, we will be exploring the colonial, industrial, and environmental history of the borderland communities. We will encounter century old movable bridges, visit the remains of a 19th century highway, 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 described.
Meet up at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn. https://goo.gl/maps/t5cZkZhJ48R2. The L train stops nearby at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well. Check MTA.info the morning of for last minute transit changes.
Be prepared for rough terrain and possible heavy truck traffic. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking and hot weather. Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start and end of the walk.