The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for April 10th, 2012

repeated lapses

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

A new park is open in Queens Plaza, so your humble narrator decided to take a look. I’m probably going to be pilloried for this posting by members of the antiquarian community here in Queens, and excoriated by members of the Manhattan elites, as controversy has surrounded this construction- some of which I’ve been directly involved with. Saying that, read into this post whatever political prejudice or predilection you might, none is intended.

The “editorial policy” of this blog, a term which is often mocked by those offended by this or that posting, has always been “it’s not good, nor bad, it just is”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To begin with, the Mayor himself recently held a press event here, unveiling the name of the new park as “Dutch Kills Green”. Unfortunately, I was engaged with other things and was unable to cover the event, but luckily personnel from “Gothamist“, amongst others, were able to make it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The park itself is built along modernist principles, and offers certain laudable features. Stormwater remediation is built into the design, as are the use of native species. Queens Plaza has historically not been a friendly place for pedestrians, and the new park offers a chance to sit down, which is a rare thing.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Environmental noise from elevated subway and never ending vehicular traffic is endemic, of course, and the clouds of automotive exhaust can be overwhelming. Saying that, such conditions are endemic in Western Queens and one of the great complaints offered by area wags is the lack of open space available to the public.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The detailing in the park is curious, and designed to appear quite “urban”.

One is reminded of set pieces from the science fiction movie “Planet of the Apes” by the consciously rough hewn patina of the place. There are several little touches to the place that confirm careful thought went into its design and implementation. Observation of the spot over recent weeks has revealed that it has already found devotees in groups of teenage students and local office workers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It is an absolutely brilliant spot for photographing trains and the operations of the MTA at Queens Plaza, which has long fascinated a humble narrator, and offers a nearly 240 degree visual sweep of the enterprise for inspection and contemplation.

Additionally, as the place is a bit above grade, new angles of view are possible.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Were it not for the damned noise, this could be a really interesting place to hang out, and I’ve already decided to use this as a meeting point for some future walking tour. It makes for a ready landmark in a neighborhood unfamiliar to most except as a transit hub.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Long Island City Millstones are back as well, although due to a lack of signage indicating their historical meaning or context, they appear to be just another accoutrement. One would hope that if the municipality is not forthcoming with such signage, local civic groups or historical societies might be able to fill in the gaps. Such signage might be forthcoming, but I haven’t heard anything about it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The mill stones are artifacts of colonial Queens, and were centrally figured in the controversy mentioned at the beginning of this post. Their presence distinguishes Dutch Kills Green, a welcome addition to the concrete devastations of Western Queens.

Also, 

Obscura Day 2012, Thirteen Steps around Dutch Kills

April 28th, 10 a.m.

Your humble narrator will be narrating humbly at this year’s Obscura Day event on April 28th, leading a walking tour of Dutch Kills. The tour is already half booked up, and as I’m just announcing it, grab your tickets while you can.

“Found less than one mile from the East River, Dutch Kills is home to four movable (and one fixed span) bridges, including one of only two retractible bridges remaining in New York City. Dutch Kills is considered to be the central artery of industrial Long Island City and is ringed with enormous factory buildings, titan rail yards — it’s where the industrial revolution actually happened. Bring your camera, as the tour will be revealing an incredible landscape along this section of the troubled Newtown Creek Watershed.”

For tickets and full details, click here :

obscuraday.com/events/thirteen-steps-dutch-kills-newtown-creek-exploration

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