The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Astoria Queens is totally metal.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the corner of 29th street and 31st avenue is the definitive expression of my ennui when folks argue with me about whether or not “Long Island City” includes Astoria. Most people you speak to, including – disturbingly – people from the NYC EDC, don’t recognize the various sections of Western Queens by their proper names unless you include the abbreviation of “LIC.” A lot of native Astorians will swear up and down that when you say “LIC” it doesn’t include Astoria. Long Island City, as a point of fact, included everything between the East River and Blissville, and everything between Newtown Creek and Bowery Bay. There’s a few exemptions, with borders that followed Woodside Avenue and so on, but it was – and is – bigger than you think.

Inaccuracy and historical ignorance plague discussion of Western Queens. It makes me point my face downwards, and stare at the concrete as I scuttle about.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s actually a lot you can notice while staring at the ground, in search of some sort of solace. Most of it will be broken glass, hereabouts. The neighbors like to smash things that are smashable for some reason.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the corner of Steinway and 31st, I noticed this display in front of a juice bar. Despite my somewhat epic hatred of people who patronize juice bars (Juiceries? Juiceromats?), this accumulated mat of alfalfa grass rectangles is actually kind of a great idea.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the sort of illegal dumping that I can get behind. Now sod off.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. Take it from an alte kakker who grew up in Astoria who used to play stickball on the 33rd street side of the Brick Cafe which was Kasewicz’s grocery store way back when and an entire wall of brick rather than the cut-out windows there now: “Long Island City” was over where LIC HS (now Newcomers) was. The realm of Queens Plaza. LIC and Astoria were and are 2 distinct realms, physically and mentally. For an Astorian, LIC always had a “noir” connotation which I think still exists!. But, your carpeted tree pit and manhole cover areas are definitely located in Astoria. Speaking of manholes: next time you’re by the northeast corner of 31st Avenue and 33rd street, realize that I witnessed a guy once fish out of that sewer 15 lost Spaldeens with a wire and a circular hook on it.

    georgetheatheist . . . Holy Cow

    March 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm

  2. One more thing for whatever it’s worth: my first real girlfriend lived in Flushing in a Jewish area that was just turning Asian. I was 19 she was 18. She told me that she had mentioned to her folks that I lived in LIC – actually Astoria is in LIC’s postal zone. The parents one day got in their car and drove by to check my address in the neighborhood because they were wary of having their daughter date someone who lived in “Long Island City.”

    georgetheatheist . . . Holy Cow

    March 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    • Anybody who lives in a “111” zip code lives in the former municipality of LIC. Colloquial, and real estate, usage defines things differently. LIC city limits along the Creek was Laurel Hill Blvd. and more or less followed Woodside Avenue to the forbidden north coast of Queens.

      Mitch Waxman

      March 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm


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