The Newtown Pentacle

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Spectacle on the Boulevard of Death, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I had a bit of Newtown Creek related business to take care of, and found myself visiting the offices of a certain City Councilman last week to discuss the matter. As always, the exchange was amiable and after accomplishing the delivery of my missive to the office, I found myself wandering down Queens Boulevard in pursuit of a return to Newtown Pentacle HQ. My phone rang, and I wandered onto the median of the so called “Boulevard of Death” to discuss a friend’s upcoming Birthday celebration when a caterwaul sounded from the east bound lanes at the corner of Locust – or 44th street if you must.

An “accidental” had occurred. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed that some unlucky fellow, who was riding a bicycle and got struck by an automobile, was laid out on the Boulevard. Luckily, passerby were already calling 911 and guiding the always heavy traffic around the scene. There was also a USPS employee on scene, who was talking to the 911 operator, and since the NYS DMV has always told me – emphatically – that postal traffic has the right of way in all things traffic related, I felt like it was being sorted and did not require my intervention as the Feds were on it.

So, I stood there taking pictures. We all have a role to play.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bicyclist, who seemed stunned when I came upon the scene, suddenly began to writhe about. The car’s driver and passenger managed the victim’s bicycle while the aforementioned postal employee and a member of the gathering crowd of gawkers chided the poor fellow to “not move” and “stay down.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Regardless, he sat up, but seemed thunderstruck (or at least Mazda struck). Off to the north, in the direction of Skillman Avenue, sirens began to ring out – no doubt in response to the multiple 911 calls coming in from the gathering crowd of “lookie loo’s.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Woodside Warriors, Engine 325, arrived. As mentioned in the past, my reaction to the arrival of FDNY units is “everything is going to be all right now.” Accordingly, I put the lens cap on my camera and started back on my path towards Astoria. Such is life in Western Queens, and the traffic corridor of Long Island.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle, when I was relating the tale above to her, asked me if I did anything to help. She immediately regretted asking, as I went through a whole set of “photographer” morality plays with her. It’s an odd thing, actually. My moral dilemmas about recording an event versus participating in it are rather tame.

Look at the war photographers for the true soul searching about whether or not you should stand there taking pictures or intervene while someone is bleeding out.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. William F. Buckley, Jr, when he was running for NYC Mayor in 1965 (!), proposed elevated “bikeways” to protect the cyclists from dangerous traffic. (They would also be charged an entrance fee. Back then Buckley proposed 10 cents.) Also, think of the Air Train trestle along the Van Wyck but not so gargantuan. We do have on-street bike “lane’s on both sides of the Boulevard of Death but only between Roosevelt and down into the beginning of Elmhurst. I believe outside of these areas the on-street situation would make it difficult to have any more street-level bike lanes, but why not elevate a bicyclist’s thoroughfare up in the air as Buckley envisioned?

    georgetheatheist . . . Look both ways.

    January 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm

  2. Central we have a pick-up 10-53 motor vehicle/bicyclist with injuries at four four street and Queens Blvd. Request a bus at this location for injured bicyclist, unconscious at this time. Request patrol supervisor to respond and 10-85 non-emergency, administrative, an additional until to help secure the scene. Will advise further if AIS is needed to respond.

    Eight sergeant read direct, central. Show me responding.


    January 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm

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