The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

without warning

with 6 comments

A fairly novel spot found in north western Queens, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, one enacted a “bat out of hell” protocol when Our Lady of the Pentacle allowed me a brief furlough from a kitchen renovation project here at HQ. My perambulation was committed in an easterly direction along Northern Blvd., which ceases to be pedestrian friendly at 114th street. A northerly turn found me at the intersection of Astoria Blvd. and Ditmars, and since it was a warm afternoon, tree lined Ditmars was the route I elected to take back towards the rolling hills of almond eyed Astoria.

When you say “North Western Queens,” one thinks of jails and airports and power plants and stadiums, and as pictured above – the barrier parkway known as the Grand Central.

There is, however, something else found hereabouts.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Along Ditmars Blvd., this inviting pedestrian path beckons. Signage found at its intersection informs that this is NYC Parks Department property, and a part of the Flushing Meadows Corona complex.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Worlds Fair Marina is noticed first, a boat basin servicing a fleet of privately owned pleasure craft.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then, looking to the west and LaGuardia Airport, you observe a part of the Flushing Bay Promenade. Asking around at my local bar, none of the native Astorian lifers even knew this park existed.

Perhaps it’s better known in East Elmhurst, which is the community that hosts it, but my Astoria peeps professed complete ignorance on the subject.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To the east, something that every Queensican is intimately aware of will be found, the home of our lamentable Mets baseball team at Citifield. Just beyond the stadium are the main sections of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To the west is LaGuardia Airport, and this spot along Flushing Bay was a great location from which to observe the goings on thereabouts.

The NYC Parks Dept. makes this page available at their website, describing the history and rather recent creation of the Flushing Bay Promenade, which is connected to the presence of a large NYC DEP “Combined Sewer Outfall” gray infrastructure project nearby.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the western edge of the park was a somewhat natural shoreline, and lots of birds were observed flitting about. Luckily it was high tide when I was visiting, as anyone who has driven along the Grand Central Parkway can describe the sickening rotten egg smell which out gasses from the mud flats here at low tide.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A smallish homeless camp was observed right along the walls of LaGuardia Airport, and there were makeshift shanties and fabric tents arrayed amongst the tree line. I didn’t venture into the area any further than as indicated in the shot above, however, as I avoid taking shots of residences no matter what their status is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The high speed road known as the Grand Central Parkway, pictured above as seen from within the Flushing Bay Promenade, was constructed in the 1930’s. Part of the Triborough Bridge build out, the Grand Central was widened in the post WW2 period to its current dimensions. Another project from the House of Moses.

Robert Moses was a very clever man who mastered the bureacracy of State, City, and Federal highway systems – earning himself the appellations of both “Master Builder” and “Power Broker.” Moses held near absolute power over highway and bridge building, as well as public housing and parks, for nearly forty years before Governor Nelson Rockefeller ousted him from government in 1974.

The NYC we all know is the City that Moses built.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As with all things government, specificity is key to understanding a thing. The reason that it’s the Grand Central “Parkway,” instead of highway or expressway, are the grassy and wooded medians that run alongside it. Since these medians are titular “parklands,” Moses had broader powers of eminent domain when claiming and remodeling the area to drive a high speed road through it.

Moses also built LaGuardia Airport, incidentally.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

August 2nd, 2015
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek – Bushwick & Mapeth Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets.

August 8th, 2015
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills – LIC Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets

 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

July 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Nice seeing you explore new territory.

    georgetheatheist . . . Daniel Boone

    July 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm

  2. Almost correct Mitch but not quite:
    The Parkway had a lower speed limit for leisurely ‘country style’ driving and was engineered accordingly for a commercially traffic free outing as compared to expressways or highways.

    Louis K

    July 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm

  3. An interesting bit of history/mystery at the Marina/end of the Promenade are the ‘Candela Structures’ left over from the World’s Fair – http://candelastructures.org/ (click through the pictures) has more details.

    lucienve

    July 28, 2015 at 2:04 pm

  4. The Worlds Fair Marina is located in Corona and Lucienve mentioned the candela structures. No mystery really. During the 1964-65 Worlds Fair one of the candelas had a temporary glass with aluminium frame walls and door installed and it was the Coast Guard pavilion. The other wasn’t rented and never had walls on it. More information can be found can be found here:

    And again Mitch’s very own Mr. Snuffleupagus, that peculiar creature alleged to reside here and denoted by that deplorable neologism (which I shall not use) is welcomed to keep the Mutts The Mets. They seem to belong together.

    Cav

    July 28, 2015 at 2:47 pm

  5. From Google Earth it looks like there’s an old footpath running from the end of the Flushing Bay Promenade at 27th Ave., through the homeless camp and into LaGuardia Airport. It looks well trodden, so maybe airport workers who live in Corona use it.

    Patricio

    July 29, 2015 at 4:10 am

  6. There’s been a fair bit forgotten/misremembered over the years – I would encourage interested folks to read that site directly; it’s kind of fun. (Your link seems to be broken Cav). FWIW – as for there only being two, and only one having glass/framing – a photograph from the fair is at http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3317/3484240280_7a14a1995d_b.jpg

    lucienve

    July 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm


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