The Newtown Pentacle

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Terrific, it’s Tuesday.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recent endeavor found one scuttling along the sidewalk on the Harold Avenue Truss Bridge, or 39th street if you must, over the Sunnyside Yards. For a glaring visual example of why I’m so opposed to decking over the railyard, the Standard Motor Products building at top right would be about a story or two shorter than the “ground level” of the platform, and large scale apartment houses would have their lobby entrances at that altitude. “Large scale” you ask? The EDC and their planners have said that “height isn’t their goal” you offer? Well…

If you’re interested in buying some real estate, there’s a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan I’d like to show you, found just a few miles south of here. I know the owner, and can handle the whole transaction, as long as it’s in cash. Give me the money, you wait here, and I’ll bring you back the deed, OK? Sound good? Will you Queens people never learn? The City people lie, like rugs.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There is an absolutely impressive amount of traffic observable on the Harold Truss – or 39th street – and pictured above is about thirty or so seconds of its intersection with Northern Boulevard. On the north side of the intersection, 39th becomes Steinway Street, and continues all the way to 19th Avenue in Astoria. The terminus of 39th street, to the south, is found at the start of Hunters Point Avenue nearby the masonry shield wall which the Long Island Expressway rides on. It’s got nearly arterial road levels of traffic, which would all be running through a post deck tunnel, I suppose.

This truss bridge is also – oddly enough – a spot where water bubbles up and out of the sewer grates continually. This is despite being the grates about four stories up over the actual ground at the rail yard, and it’s puzzling. Queens is like that, though.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’d love to tell you that the electrical transmission utility pole in the shot above was purpose built as a cruciform to help control the vampire problem here in Western Queens, but that would likely be over the top. This shot is from just about the middle of the Harold Avenue Truss, or 39th street, so it’s mainly there to give you some idea of how high over the actual rail yard this point of view actually is. In this area, the planners at EDC have indicated that the deck would only have to be a story or two higher than that pole and sickly little tree.

That wibbly series of horizontal silhouettes you might notice on the fence are water hoses, recently installed as part of the East Side Access project. The hoses are part of the last phase of that particular MTA boondoggle. The hard hats have been building a separate trackway for Amtrak to use, here at the Harold Interlocking – which is the busiest rail junction in the United States.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 11, 2020 at 11:00 am

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