The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for the ‘Long Island City’ Category

afar off

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The sky is stolen, so repent… or just rent…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The cabal of entrepreneurs and bankers whom one has long referred to as the “real estate industrial complex” has been quite busy in the eastern side of Long Island City for the last few years. The sky has almost been entirely blotted out, and thousands of new apartment units constructed, usually atop brown fields and former industrial sites. This shot is from the Thompson Avenue Viaduct adjoining Court Square, and as you can see – this section of Queens has been recast in Manhattan’s image.

Unlike Manhattan, of course, there are no new hospital beds or any of the other things which you’d normally expect to find in an area being built up for a large residential population. Lately, the word “Brasilia” comes to mind when I’m walking around the modern corridor of LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned last week, rumors abound in LIC that the Real Estate Industrial complex is pushing for a rezoning of the industrial corridor that runs from the Pulaski Bridge to Greenpoint Avenue, between Newtown Creek and the Sunnyside Yards/Long Island Expressway. Spotted recently on the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and the Long Island Expressway was the sign above. This signage indicates many things to me about the sort of people who are actually driving this train, who they are, and where the money behind it all is likely coming from.

Formerly, signage observed nailed to this utility pole has included the ubiquitous “Cash for Cars” and “Stop Bedbugs” illegal postings which plague western Queens.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in Astoria, we still haven’t been lucky enough to receive much attention from these folks, which is good news. We can still see the sky, and when a rainbow appears over Jackson Heights to the east – it’s still a source of wonder for all the neighbors to marvel over.

Incidentally, conversation over the weekend with one of my cousins indicated that you can still find housing that is quite affordable in the Mill Basin/Canarsie area, and that the sky and sun haven’t been co-opted by co-ops.

Upcoming Events and Tours

Tuesday, July 12, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. –
LICHenge, with Atlas Obscura and the
Hunters Point Park Conservancy. Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 16, 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. –
FREE Newtown Creek Boat Tour,
with Waterfront Alliance (note- WA usually releases tix in batches).
Click here for more details.

Saturday, July 23, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. –
Calvary Cemetery Walking tour,
with Brooklyn Brainery. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. –
DUPBO Walking tour,
with NYC H2O. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, July 27, 1st trip – 4:50 p.m. 2nd trip – 6:50 p.m. –
2 Newtown Creek Boat Tours,
with Open House NY. Click here for more details.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

hath forgotten

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It’s 99 for the 7’s original 11.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On April 21st, 1917 – the original 11 stops of the IRT Subway line in Queens opened for business. We call the IRT Flushing line the 7, of course. The first stops on the line in Queens – Vernon/Jackson, Hunters Point Avenue, Court Square, and Queensboro were completed a couple of years earlier – but the stretch along Queens Blvd. and Roosevelt Avenue from 33rd Rawson to 103rd Corona Plaza is 99 years old today.

The NY Times was along for that first ride – leaving Grand Central at 3 p.m. and visiting the first 11 stations of the so called Corona Extension. Check out their reportage here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The original names for these IRT Flushing line stops were Rawson street (33rd), Lowery street (40th), Bliss street (46th), Lincoln street (52nd), Flake street (61st), Fiske Avenue (69th), Broadway (74th), 25th avenue (82nd), Elmhurst avenue, Junction Blvd., and Alburtis avenue (103 Corona Plaza). Willets Point came online in May of 1917, and Main Street in Flushing would open in February of 1928.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I actually spent my afternoon yesterday visiting and photographing all of these locations, but was unable to deliver the finished product in time for the anniversary this year, so archive shots of the 7 – some of which have been presented before – are here in their stead.

The historical development of western Queens from a community of farmers and dairymen to the bustling and crowded community of modernity is tied back to several watershed moments in the early 20th century. The opening of Queensboro in 1909, Sunnyside Yards in 1910, and the Steinway subway tunnels opening for business in 1907.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Walking Tour – Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

First Calvary Cemetery Walk.
Join Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman at First Calvary Cemetery, found in LIC’s Blissville neighborhood along Newtown Creek. Attendance limited to 15 people.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm

well realized

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The native art form of Queens, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Venturi. That’s technically the name of the flame structure which a stove top burner is meant to form when gas is pumped through it and ignited by a pilot light. This burner was noticed on the corner of Queens Blvd. at 39th street, and won’t be heating up a can of Campbell’s Tomato soup anytime soon.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This shattered sink basin was found way over on the northern side of Astoria, and artfully arranged in a tree pit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Astoria Blvd. offered one this lovely bit of craft, and don’t think I didn’t notice the amount of effort which went into creating the floral motif. Illegal dumping, as I’ve often asserted, is the native art form of Western Queens. It’s done with a panache and attention to both detail and installed composition that you just don’t find elsewhere.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On Skillman Avenue, alongside the Sunnyside Yards, a bit of furniture was posed provocatively for the pleasure of perambulating pedestrians to both peruse and ponder.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on Skillman Avenue, a somewhat abstract expressionist amalgam of broken furniture boards was offset by a carefully placed mirror box by some unknown auteur.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Northern Blvd. displayed this graphic composition to me one morning, and I wondered if it was the same artisan responsible for the Astoria Blvd. radial flower that created this piece.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Purely modern – an installation, if you will – this composition was observed along Jackson Avenue in the Court Square area, across the street from the Citigroup Megalith.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Upcoming Tours –

September 3rd, 2015
Newtown Creek Boat Tour
with Open House NY, click here for details and tickets.

September 20th, 2015
Glittering Realms Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

strange oceans

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Over on Davis Street in LIC.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Early for an appointment, one recently had some time to kill around the Court Square section of LIC, and I decided to visit “used to be 5Ptz” to see what was doing there. Funnily enough, the site is now referred to as the Brownfield Cleanup Program’s “Former Neptune Meter (NYS DEC # C25=41138)” site now, which hearkens one back to the industrial days of yesteryear.

“Transform the Past… Build for the Future.” It says that on the sign.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As you’ll recall, for many years this site was the home of 5ptz, NYC’s premier gallery for street art. The owners of the structure decided not too long ago that it was time to evict the institution and replace it with luxury apartments. Not to worry though, there will be an “affordable” component to the builds, so if you want to live alongside the 7 train’s elevated track and the Sunnyside Yard – it’ll be in reach starting at $2,200 – 2,500 a month for a one bedroom before too long.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As I’ve stated in the past, one does not condemn the owners of the land for seeking the greatest value out of it. It’s their property, and in many ways they should be lauded for maintaining the Neptune Meter building for as long as they did and allowing 5Ptz its long residency. The thing that just smacks one in the face, however, is the fact that their residential development is going to be called 5Pointz Towers.

That just stinks, its bad branding, and rubs the community’s face in the mud for no reason.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Not sure what’s going on in this shot. My first instinct is that there is some sort of prehistoric beast that has been trapped beneath the Neptune Building all of these years, and that a substantial weight must be used in the name of keeping it imprisoned until the new towers rise and permanently cage it once again. I am, of course, an idiot.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, my upstairs neighbor who works in the construction field and would be able to instantly recognize this technique and tell me all about it isn’t at home as this post is being prepared. He’s taking his niece to see Cinderella, I’m told.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

Project Firebox 54

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Cruelly grafiti’d, the sentinel stands on the corner of Van Dam and Hunters Point in Queens. It witnesses thousands passing by daily in motor vehicular transit. How many in turn acknowledge it?

Written by Mitch Waxman

January 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

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