The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Guess what

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

So, I went out for a walk today. My only intention was to begin carving off some of the lard which has been quickly accumulating about my midsection during the gluttonous holiday season, but found my steps drawn toward the flat marshlands of Hunters Point and Long Island City as I descended from the swollen hills of Astoria. Following my shadow, it wasn’t long before I started seeing… the Cats… again. My odd habit of turning left whenever a feline shape presents itself led me directly to the Borden Avenue Bridge…


– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was still construction activity going on, but a quick check with one of the guys in high visibility colors revealed that the structure’s roadway was available. The sidewalks were still being worked on, and safety barriers were present- but the long running project seems to be nearing an end. I’m not sure if the bridge is “officially open”, but at least today it was.

Thank you, weird Cats of the Creeklands.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I should mention that this structure is one of my favorite locations along the Dutch Kills tributary, from a photographic point of view, and an uncharacteristic giddiness seems to be filling me at the near return of a long cherished vantage point. Check out what I mean here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The official truth, from the NYC DOT site is:

Borden Avenue is a two-lane local City street in Queens. Borden Avenue runs east-west extending from Second Street at the East River to Greenpoint Avenue. The Borden Avenue Bridge over Dutch Kills is located just south of the Long Island Expressway between 27th Street and Review Avenue in the Sunnyside section of Queens. Borden Avenue Bridge is a retractile type moveable bridge. The general appearance of the bridge remains the same as when it was first opened in 1908. The bridge structure carries a two-lane two-way vehicular roadway with sidewalks on either side. The roadway width is 10.5m and the sidewalks are 2.0 m. The west approach and east approach roadways, which are wider than the bridge roadway, are 15.3m and 13.0m respectively. The bridge provides a horizontal clearance of 14.9m and a vertical clearance in the closed position of 1.2m at MHW and 2.7m at MLW.

As part of the construction of Borden Avenue in 1868, a wooden bridge was built over Dutch Kills. This bridge was later replaced by an iron swing bridge, which was removed in 1906. The current bridge was opened on March 25, 1908 at a cost of $157,606. The deck’s original design consisted of creosote-treated wood blocks, with two trolley tracks in the roadway. Character-defining features of this bridge include the stucco-clad operator’s house, four pairs of rails, and a rock-faced stone retaining wall. The gable-on-hip roof of the operator’s house retains the original clay tile at the upper part. Although alterations have been made, the bridge is a rare survivor of its type and retains sufficient period integrity to convey its historic design significance.

The Department of Transportation has identified a pocket of contaminated soil which has been classified as “contaminated non-hazardous”. As such, it poses no significant health risk to workers or the surrounding community. However, precautionary measures will be taken and every effort is being made to remove and dispose of the contamination quickly, yet safely, within all New York City and State guidelines. A Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the removal and disposal of the contamination has been submitted to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for review and approval. Upon receipt of the NYSDEC approval, the contractor will prepare a new construction schedule and commence work under the terms of the permits. At this time, a date for the resumption of work is unknown which precludes an accurate prediction of a new anticipated completion date, although every effort will be made to complete the project in the late Fall of 2010. All posted detours will remain in effect until further notice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Further official truth is found in the DOT’s Weekly Traffic Advisory of Saturday January 1, 2011 to Friday January 7, 2011

Borden Avenue Bridge over Dutch Kills (at 27th Street): This Bridge was closed December 31st 2008 for emergency reconstruction and reopened December 24, 2010 to two-way traffic. This closure was to necessitate NYCDOT Bridge major construction activity. Single lane closures will resume after January 2, 2011 to complete sidewalk and punch list work.

3 Responses

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  1. […] Island City Photos Du Jour: The Borden Avenue Bridge is Back! After reading the Newtown Pentacle’s account (via Queens Crap) that the Borden Avenue Bridge was open I had to see it for myself. And […]

  2. […] my favored vantage on Dutch Kills, the estimable Borden Avenue Bridge, once more accessible- I’ve been making it a point to aim my wanderings toward its general direction whenever I can […]

  3. […] course, this century old structure has recently undergone a radical schedule of repairs when it was discovered that one of its abutments had begun to shift, and no small amount of […]

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