The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Hunters Point Avenue Bridge Centennial, Dec. 11

with 6 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze upon it, lords and ladies, a risible talisman of permanence amidst an ever changing industrial landscape… The Hunters Point Avenue Bridge.

A recent post was offered for consideration at this, your Newtown Pentacle, which hinted at certain remarkable events about to occur in its environs and discussed a small part of the rather expansive history of this largish bit of motile steel which spans Dutch Kills.

Glory then, in the announcement of a free walking tour celebrating its centennial.



The New York City Bridge Centennial Commission (NYC BCC) and Newtown Creek Alliance announced today that they will sponsor a free walking tour of the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge in Long Island City on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 11 a.m. to celebrate its 100th birthday.
“It’s important to celebrate these milestones as a way to show how much we rely on all these crossings in our day-to-day lives,” said NYC BCC President Sam Schwartz.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Your tour guides for this centennial event will be Newtown Creek Alliance and Working Harbor Committee’s Bernard Ente, and a certain humble narrator will be assisting him in meager ways.

This location is awfully close to both legendary Greenpoint and to the heart of Long Island City, and quite close to Manhattan via subway. Here’s a google map with the location of the Bridge, and the meet-up point at 21st street and Hunters Point Avenue is called out.


The original Hunters Point Avenue Bridge dates back to 1874 when the bridge was a wooden structure. From 1874 to 1907 an iron bridge was in place before being replaced in 1910 by a double-leaf bascule bridge. It was again rebuilt in the early 1980s as a single-leaf bascule bridge. Bascule bridges are designed with a counterweight that balances the span as it swings upward (a single leaf lifts up from one end while a double leaf lifts up from both sides in the middle of the span).

The bridge is located between 27th and 30th streets in Long Island City and is situated four blocks east of the Borden Avenue Bridge. The span is 21.8 meters long and has two lanes, one in each direction. It has experienced higher traffic volumes over the last year and a half while the Borden Avenue Bridge has been closed for construction in this heavily industrialized area.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spectacular views of Dutch Kills, as well as knowledgeable and unbiased narration, can be had for the price of attendance alone. Attendees are advised to bring cameras, as this is a particularly photogenic section of the Newtown Creek watershed.


The meeting point for the tour will be at Hunters Point Avenue at 21st Street outside the 7 train station. If you would like to participate, please email tour guide Bernie Ente at

About the NYC Bridge Centennial Commission

The NYC Bridge Centennial Commission is a 501 c 3 non-profit comprised of public and privateorganizations to commemorate the centennials of several NYC bridges and raise infrastructure awareness.

About the Newtown Creek Alliance

The Newtown Creek Alliance represents interests of community residents and local businesses who arededicated to restoring community health and vibrant water dependent commerce along Newtown Creek.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dutch Kills is a familiar sight to regular readers of this, your Newtown Pentacle, but must be experienced first hand by all interested in the story of the Newtown Creek. This will not be a rigorous walking experience- sneakers or other comfortable shoes should be sufficient as we won’t be leaving the sidewalk- but if icy conditions occur- use good judgement.

Undoubtedly, it will be cold, and the event will be happening rain, shine, or snow- so gauge your outerwear according to forecasted weather conditions.

For those interested in further discussion with other antiquarians and enthusiasts, we are planning an after event visit to a local diner for coffee, luncheon, and conversation.


Hunters Point Avenue is a two-lane local City street in Queens. Hunters Point Avenue is oriented east-west and extends from 21st Street to the Long Island Expressway/Brooklyn Queens Expressway interchange in Queens. The avenue is parallel to and approximately one block south of the Long Island Expressway. The Hunters Point Bridge over Dutch Kills is situated between 27th Street and 30th Street in the Long Island City section of Queens, and is four blocks upstream of the Borden Avenue Bridge. It is a bascule bridge with a span of 21.8m. The general appearance of the bridge has been significantly changed since it was first opened in 1910. The bridge provides a channel with a horizontal clearance of 18.3m and a vertical clearance, in the closed position, of 2.4m at MHW and 4.0m at MLW. The bridge structure carries a two-lane, two-way vehicular roadway with sidewalks on either side. The roadway width is 11.0m, while the sidewalks are 1.8m wide. The width of the approach roadways vary from the width of the bridge roadway. The west approach and east approach roadways are 13.4m and 9.1m, respectively.

The first bridge at this site, a wooden structure, was replaced by an iron bridge in 1874. That bridge was permanently closed in 1907 due to movement of the west abutment, which prevented the draw from closing. It was replaced in 1910 by a double-leaf bascule bridge, designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. The bridge was rebuilt in the early 1980′s as a single-leaf bascule, incorporating the foundations of the previous bridge.


a photo in the same series as the one below was recently exhibited here- in the “from some point in space” posting about Dutch Kills and the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

While doing supplemental research about the place, I came across the following shot embedded in a scanned “google book”, and the two images form an interesting parallel. The BW shot, you see, is from 1921.

Coincidence abounds, but I believe my forebear was shooting from a similar if not same vantage as I would be at some four score and nine years or 24,855 days later.

– Photo from “The Newtown Creek industrial district of New York City By Merchants’ Association of New York. Industrial Bureau”

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 3, 2010 at 3:26 am

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] some unknown photographer did in 1921. This posting was built around the announcement of the “Hunters Point Avenue Bridge Centennial” […]

  2. […] interesting parallell to this shot is the one presented at the end of the “Hunters Point Avenue Bridge Centennial, Dec. 11” posting from December 3rd in 2009, which presents the inverse viewpoint of […]

  3. […] might recall, Lords and Ladies of Newtown, that back on December 11th of 2010 the 100th anniversary of the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge was commemorated by the New York City […]

  4. […] our way out, we passed under the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge. All of the NYC DOT administered bridges on the Newtown Creek and its tributaries are maintained in […]

  5. […] Bridge and Madison Avenue Bridge centennials, was a parade marshall for the Manhattan and Hunters Point Avenue Bridge events, and as mentioned – helped organize the Access Queens IRT Flushing Line Corona […]

  6. […] on the City’s centennial celebrations for the Queensboro, Manhattan, Madison Avenue, and Hunters Point Avenue Bridges. Bernie almost missed the latter one, and he ended up checking himself into a hospital just a few […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: