The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for March 2nd, 2012

rhetorical effect

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

There is a curious stretch of 50th avenue, a truncated street that starts at 27th street and terminates at 23rd street in the dusty streets of Long Island City, which is orphaned and decapitated. It is dominated by the high flying steel of the Queens Midtown Expressway section of the Long Island Expressway, and the tortured asphalt of the street it shadows often exhibits bursting ruptures revealing century old cobble stones.

Long have I exerted to refer to this area as the “Empty Corridor“.

Pictured above are the relict remains of Irving Subway Grate, which suffered a catastrophic fire a few years back.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Even during the work week, there are few places in New York City that allow one to feel so isolated and alone as this street. Once it connected with Hunters Point, but that was long before the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the astounding steel viaduct of the Long Island Expressway which sprouts from it were installed and opened to traffic on November 15, 1940.

It was before the Long Island Railroad established its operations that it met with East River, in fact.

Borden and Hunters Point Avenues are the main through way for traffic heading east and west, and this street is little more than relict of earlier times.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The overhead tracks of the Long Island Railroad are observed at the intersection of 25th street, which govern the passage of large trucks on 50th avenue. Never have these tracks been observed as active by a humble narrator, but those in the know about such matters assure me that they are in fact transited.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Alongside these tracks, on the loamy midden which surrounds them, one might observe the colonies of feral cats which hunt and frolic around these parts. The kind hearts of area workers insure that these cats are afforded shelter and food, which unfortunately allows them to breed and multiply.

It is not an easy life, to be a feral cat.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned in the past, when these nocturnes are observed as my perambulations carry the camera about the concrete devastations of western Queens, a sure notion that the right place and time have been arrived at sets into my mind.

Always, they signal that the path which stretches before me is an appropriate and often revelatory one.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Beyond the tracks and their feline neighbors, the gargantuan structure with its attendant loading docks on the right are the former Bloomingdales warehouse, and is currently used by the New York City Housing Authority. They refer to it as the “Long Island City Complex” which sounds menacing somehow.

The left (or south) side of the street hosts several garage based businesses, and mainly acts as a parking lot for fleet trucks.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As the LIE slouches rudely toward the Queens Midtown Tunnel it descends from its 106 foot apex over Dutch Kills, just a few blocks away, and the street noticeably darkens. A guarded parking lot and entrance to the LIRR station lies to the right or north side, which is intended for employee access. To the south, one might follow 23rd street southward, toward Borden Avenue.

An audible hum, the sound of automotive tire spinning upon the elevated roadway above, colors the air.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The street ends in the driveway of a steel equipment company, which a humble narrator did not feel obliged to explore. What atavist wonders might lurk down there are surely beyond legal access, and are quite visible from the fence which adjoins the LIRR station on Hunters Point Avenue, near the Paragon Oil building. Surely some revelation hides back there, denied to me.

Illegal trespass, however, is not the Newtown Pentacle way.

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