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Archive for November 20th, 2009

Flushing Creek 3

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Despite the inclement weather we encountered, and my inherent vulnerability to temperature extremes, the upper deck of the watercraft was the ideal spot for me as its experienced Captain negotiated a course along Flushing Creek. Weather- especially the drenching rain and gray sky variety- had dogged my ambitions throughout summer and fall, and seemed to pop up whenever I found myself on or near a boat. Frustrating occlusions of mist obscure and darken the landscape, challenging exposure and focus.


FLUSHING, L.I., Feb. 12 — While the Highly Commissioners of Newtown and Flushing were holding a joint meeting yesterday afternoon to investigate the condition of Strong’s Bridge, which spans Flushing Creek, and which connects the southerly portion of this village with the town of Newtown, the bridge suddenly collapsed, making further inquiry unnecessary.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All along Flushing Creek, at what seemed to be every turn and twist, heavy industries were at work. This barge and crane, I believe, are part of an asphalt operation. Other large industrial mills observed along the shoreline were clearly concrete and cement factories, but like the auto shops at Willets Point, their days are numbered down here.


With work begun on thirty dwellings, to cost from $5,000 to $8,000 each, with the starting of a factory for the manufacture of concrete building material, with the sale of twenty-nine acres of high-class land for development, and with work started upon the reclaiming between 500 and 600 acres of meadow land — all in the vicinity of Flushing — one of the most important seasons in the history of that locality has opened.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Every history blog alludes to Gatsby when mentioning Corona or Flushing- here’s the much discussed couplet:

from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby

About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight. But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their irises are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.

The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by a small foul river, and, when the drawbridge is up to let barges through, the passengers on waiting trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as half an hour. There is always a halt there of at least a minute, and it was because of this that I first met Tom Buchanan’s mistress.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Odd stories about Flushing Creek are bandied about in the neighborhood, and in olden times, it was absolutely magnetic for suicides.


More recently, a number of reports came in about white and green lights in a triangular formation seen moving back and forth over Flushing Meadows Park during July 2-5, 2008. Some of the witnesses said that the lights suddenly appeared, disappeared and reappeared again between 10pm and 3am on those dates. However, strange lights are not the only bizarre phenomena associated with UFOs that has occurred in the park.

In 1968, the Flushing Meadows Zoo opened in Flushing Meadows Park on the grounds of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Although small in scale, the zoo had a number of exhibits and plenty of animals including sea lions, black bears, sheep, bison, mountain lions, coyotes, bald eagles, birds and wolves. Since its opening, the Zoo has been associated with several disturbing UFO events. The first may have occurred in 1977.

After several nights of UFO sightings above the park, wolves managed to escape from the zoo on November 30, 1977. Official reports said that twelve wolves clawed their way through a chain link fence surrounding their pen and killed several other animals until they were recaptured by parks department personnel and police. However, a caretaker working there at the time said that while making his rounds he found several animals missing, not just the wolves, and others dead. The dead animals did not look like they had been killed by predators. He also said that none of the animal pens or enclosures had been unlocked, damaged or tampered with.

– photo by Mitch Waxman


In 1907, Michael Degnon, builder of the Williamsburgh Bridge, the Cape Cod Canal, part of the IRT subway and the Steinway Tunnels, and owner of the Degnon Terminal in Sunnyside, began buying up every tract of salt meadow along Flushing Creek. He thought that he would be able to build a port facing Flushing Bay, and that the federal government would pay for his plan to dig out the Creek from the Bay down to its headwaters at Kew Gardens to make it passable for large ships. He began buying ashes and refuse and dumping these onto the salt meadows to lay a foundation. Unfortunately all this did for Corona was to make the town stink like garbage. When residents looked east, all they saw were ugly gray mounds on the horizon.

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm

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