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unavoidable oversight

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What the end of the world will look like, as observed in Greenpoint USA.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Manhattan’s recyclable paper and plastic went up in flames in Greenpoint the other night, when a blaze began at the Rapid Processing Center on Humboldt St. and Greenpoint Ave. at around 7 p.m. on March 18th. The operation was in the Waste Transfer Station Recycling business, acting as a depot for the unloading of the DSNY’s white packer trucks which perform curbside pickup of paper and plastic materials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the end, it took 200 firefighters and all of their arts to fight this four alarm fire.

Almost as soon as it started, social media sites like Facebook began to light up as well with comments and queries offered by community members about the fire and the possible hazards of being exposed to its smoke and effluents.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that the torrents of water used to combat the blaze also flooded the streets, and news reports described a lake of water on Greenpoint Avenue, which carried garbage off the site and allowed it to move around with the wind as flotsam. As you can see in the shot above, puddles of unusual size persist, and carry a sheen of something on their surface.

These shots were captured yesterday, March 23rd, and the mound of material was still smoldering.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The structure is a total loss, obviously, and I did observe air quality monitoring equipment at work. Directly following the fire, FDNY announced that there was nothing, air quality wise, for the community to fret about.

Of course, there was reportedly NO air quality monitoring going on during the fire when a plume of (probably) dioxin laced smoke was infiltrating into the neighborhood.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There was talk following the flooding of Hurricane Sandy about prepositioning environmental sampling kits around Greenpoint, so that actual “time of event” samples could be captured, but that seems to have been forgotten.

Green Infrastructure, instead, is the buzzword of the present day.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

During the fire your humble narrator was safe and sound and upwind in Astoria, but a point was made of interjecting myself into their lively debate to adjure the Greenpointers to call 311 and complain of the smoke, as this would have compelled DEP to set up air monitors DURING the event. No one listened, and no monitors were set up, so everything is fine and nobody was exposed to anything bad.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

New York City would not acknowledge the presence of an elephant in the City Council chamber room unless a statistically relevant number of 311 calls were received about it.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

breathing body

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Before leaving Manhattan to transit back to the blessed soils of ancient Astoria, while walking down West 59th street (or Central Park South, as the well off would prefer) the other night, one was was suddenly confronted with a corruption of the ordinary scene when the FDNY showed up in no small numbers.

From what I could surmise, one of the many hotels along the edge of Central Park was in the midst of an emergency which demanded their presence.

from wikipedia

Central Park South is the portion of 59th Street that forms the southern border of Central Park in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It runs from Columbus Circle at Eighth Avenue on the west to Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue on the east. Entry into Central Park is provided at Scholars Gate at Fifth Avenue, Artists Gate at Sixth, Artisans Gate at Seventh, and Merchants Gate at Eighth Avenue.

Central Park South contains four famous upscale hotels: the Plaza Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton (Central Park), which is the flagship of the Ritz-Carlton chain, the Park Lane, and JW Marriott Essex House. Central Park South is one of the most cosmopolitan streets in the world, and is located steps away from Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue shopping, the Time Warner Center, and Carnegie Hall. Some of the most expensive apartments in the United States are found here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

No concern whatsoever possessed me for the actual emergency, of course. Normal human empathy is an under developed organ in my emotional quiver, and the fate of Manhattan’s upper class visitors is well beyond any threshold at which my meager talents and abilities would be measurably effective. Like one of the anonymous ghouls that populate popular cinematic fiction, flesh eating and mindless, I was attracted by the tumult of flashing lights and sirens and stumbled forward.

from wikipedia

The flesh-hungry undead have been a fixture of world mythology dating at least since The Epic of Gilgamesh, in which the goddess Ishtar promises:

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole event was very exciting, with strangely attired people carrying esoteric equipment about. A great sense of urgency, along with an omnipresent flow of vehicular traffic which snaked along the street negotiating the narrows formed by the gargantuan service trucks employed by fire fighting personnel. Multiple vehicles all were flashing their lights, and I counted at least one ladder and two other units as well as a couple of Ambulances. That’s a lot of light on a fairly dark street.

The German tourists were positively agog.

from wikipedia

Most of the engines in FDNY’s fleet are Seagrave Commander II’s and Seagrave Marauder II’s and include 500 gallon water tanks and either 1000 or 2000 gallon per minute pumps. The 2000gpm pumps are primarily located in the high-rise districts and are considered high pressure pumpers. With the loss of apparatus which occurred as a result of the September 11 attacks, FDNY began to use engines made by other companies including Ferrara and E-One. The FDNY is making the move from a fixed cab to a “Split-Tilt” cab, so the Seagrave Marauder II Pumper will fill the FDNY’s new order for 69 new pumpers.

Truck companies are generally equipped with Seagrave aerials. Ladder length varies and often depends on the geographic area to which the unit is assigned. Those in the older sections of the city often use tiller trucks to allow for greater maneuverability. Before Seagrave was the predominant builder, Mack CF’s built with Baker tower ladders were popular. Most FDNY aerials are built with 75’, 95′ or 100′ ladders. Tiller ladders, rear mount ladders and mid-mount tower ladders are the types of trucks used. In 2010, a new contract was issued for 10–100′ rear-mount ladder trucks to Ferrara Fire Apparatus, using a chassis and stainless steel cab custom-designed to FDNY specifications. Delivery of the first of these new trucks is anticipated in the 1st quarter of 2011.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Then the cops showed up.

I’ve always obeyed a singular rule in the Shining City of Manhattan, which is to depart and quit any location currently occupied once the cops show up. Following this dictum has kept your humble narrator from experiencing several unpleasant moments over the years, and kept my relations with the Police at an absolute minimum.

Accordingly, one spun upon his well worn heels and headed east toward the subway, which would carry me away from the Shining City towards the rolling hills of raven haired Astoria via its deeply buried tunnels.

from wikipedia

The FDNY, the largest municipal fire department in the United States, and the second largest in the world after the Tokyo Fire Department, has approximately 11,080 uniformed officers and firefighters and over 3,300 uniformed EMTs and paramedics. It faces extraordinarily varied firefighting challenges in many ways unique to New York. In addition to responding to building types that range from wood-frame single family homes to high-rise structures, there are many secluded bridges and tunnels, as well as large parks and wooded areas that can give rise to major brush fires. New York is also home to one of the largest subway systems in the world, consisting of hundreds of miles of tunnel with electrified track. The multifaceted challenges they face add yet another level of firefighting complexity and have led to the FDNY’s motto, New York’s Bravest.

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 3, 2013 at 12:15 am

sinister exultation

with 5 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It was a mid summer day in the city, July 24th to be exact, and the kind of weather which feels like one has been wrapped in hot barber shop towels was upon us. Occluded by a humid and occasionally precipitating mist, the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself was absent from the scene, but its influence was seen and felt by everyone here in this old section of Long Island City once known as the Degnon Terminal.

While marching down Skillman Avenue, your humble narrator could not help but notice a not so minor conflagration at the nearby Hunters Point rail station.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seems that an Amtrak engine, part of a problematic series of units employed by the rail conglomerate which are known as being given to sudden and unexpected events of immolation (or so my rail fan contacts tell me) had caught fire.

It was no surprise that the only camera on the scene was my own, as there are few in the Greater City who care for Queens and it’s burdens. FDNY (which does care about Queens) was on scene in great numbers, including members of several units which the Manhattan Political Elites had recently attempted to close due to budget issues.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The engine seemed to be suffering from an electrical issue, which was anecdotally confirmed by one of the fire department commanders who was gracious enough to discuss the issue with me. Frustration was evinced by this veteran of New York’s never ending war on combustion that the spot which the engine had halted at was beyond the reach of his hose lines, and that they could only put band aids on the fire using hand held extinguishers.

There were literally dozens of fire team specialists in full tactical gear and several mobile command posts arrayed at strategic spots around the rail yard, but their ambitions were stymied by security fence and distance from hydrants.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The commander, a lanky Irishman of solid build whose height easily passed the six foot mark, next informed me that their plan was to bring a second engine in from the nearby Sunnyside Yard complex and hitch it to the back of the train.

This second unit would then tow the burning engine and it’s passenger cars back to the titan Sunnyside Yard where both equipment and resources to combat the blaze would be available and abundant.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over the last few years, of course, your humble narrator has discovered or happened across every possible vantage point large enough to stick a camera lens through around the fenced off and often carefully obscured rail infrastructure which weaves through Western Queens and knowing FDNY’s plan, moved into a more propitious spot to record the event.

One must be careful when photographing trains and trackways, lest one accidentally step onto federal or state property and violate not just homeland security regulations but archaic laws which have persisted since the early days of the iron road, many of which carry mandatory sentences.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The irony of these so called regulations, of course, is that whether it is because of expedience or carelessness, many of the employee entrances to the rail yard are often left ajar and unguarded. Was this to occur in Manhattan, there would undoubtedly be a series of broadcast and print media articles and investigations, followed by political posturing and a spate of sham regulations.

Since this is Queens, where the Borough motto should be “welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself”, nothing will happen and the issue will never be discussed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The smell of burning insulation and plastics mixed freely with the humid air, and a monstrous storm was building in the milky sky. Far off thunder to the south indicated that a storm was coming. Your humble narrator, not too far from home however, persevered and dared the weather to do it’s worst.

Besides, the reason I was on Skillman Avenue in the first place was that I had to meet some guy to talk about a thing down here, and I caught this whole event simply because Queens wanted me to witness her burdens again.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps it’s the impending anniversary of the September 11 attacks, or merely the normal late summer ennui which always darkens my mood, but the notion that the FDNY hasn’t got fire hose lines long enough to put out a train fire here- at so critical a spot in the infrastructure of the Megalopolis, and that an ordinary civilian like myself can so easily gain visual and physical access to all this- worries me.

In my travels across the concrete desolations of the river communities of North Brooklyn and Western Queens, there are so many of these unguarded and strategic points which have presented themselves that frankly- I don’t like taking the Train or Ferry anymore. When I point these vulnerabilities out to associates who are employed by government agencies or elected officials, they roll their eyes and tell me not to worry.

Same thing they used to do when I wondered out loud back in the 90’s about whether or not the United States had a system of air defenses protecting the defacto capitol city of North America.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

…like a veritable mendicant

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Facile and easily led, your humble narrator was nevertheless in Sunset Park recently, attempting to pry information on the enigmatic “turn of the last century merchant trader” named Gilman (whose grave I’ve been searching for at Calvary Cemetery here in the heart of our Newtown Pentacle) out of a hysterical levantine who had refused my offer of electronic correspondence. This man, a member of some dire cultic offshoot of the Hasidic movement whose disturbing interpretation of the Kabballist mysteries has rendered them outcasts in their own communities, operates from a dust choked office housed in a former industrial warehouse.

from wikipedia

As compared with other Jewish movements, Hasidic Judaism tends to focus on the role of the Rebbe as an elevated spiritual leader and intercessor, a renewed emphasis on prayer, cameraderie, and deeds of kindness, and the study of tangible mystical texts. This replaced Talmudic legalism as the main traditional activity, and offered the unlearned closeness to God through joy and fervour in daily life. It sought to add to required standards of ritual observance, while relaxing others where inspiration predominated. Its communal gatherings celebrated soulful song and storytelling as forms of mystical devotion. Each dynasty follows its own principles; thus Hasidic Judaism is not one movement, but a collection of separate individual groups with some commonality. There are approximately 30 larger Hasidic groups, and several hundred minor Hasidic groups exist. Though there is no one version of Hasidism, individual Hasidic groups often share with each other fundamental philosophy, worship styles, dress, songs, etc.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

His national inheritance was Dutch. Fleeing the inquisition during the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, his forebears found themselves in Bruges, and after that noble city’s Zwin Channel silted up- Amsterdam. Staunch advocates of the Hebrew religion, this family nevertheless adopted a Dutch name- Suydam- and founded a business that imported Syriac, Greek, and Sufi religious texts to the merchant city. Their trade in Christian and Pagan scrolls and books allowed them access to ancient caches of Hebrew mysticism which had been captured, explored, and expanded upon by the Mohammedans.

from wikipedia

The Sephardim (so-called Spanish Jews) had been expelled from Spain and Portugal years earlier, but many remained in the Iberian peninsula, practising Judaism in secret (see crypto-Jews or Marranos). The newly independent Dutch provinces provided an ideal opportunity for the crypto-Jews to re-establish themselves and practise their religion openly, and they migrated, most notably to Amsterdam. Collectively, they brought trading influence to the city as they established in Amsterdam.

In 1593 these Marranos arrived in Amsterdam after having been refused admission to Middelburg and Haarlem. These Jews were important merchants and persons of great ability. They labored assiduously in the cause of the people and contributed materially to the prosperity of the country. They became strenuous supporters of the house of Orange and were in return protected by the stadholder. At this time the commerce of Holland was increasing; a period of development had arrived, particularly for Amsterdam, to which Jews had carried their goods and from which they maintained their relations with foreign lands. Thus they had connections with the Levant and with Morocco. The Emperor of Morocco had an ambassador at The Hague named Samuel Pallache (1591-1626), through whose mediation, in 1620, a commercial understanding was arrived at with the Barbary States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A branch of the family moved to New York shortly after the American Civil War, and are mentioned as living on Martense Street in an 1890 census. Near the Borough Hall, on Clinton Street, was where the family business operated from a parlor room. They provided Jewish religious and funerary goods imported from North Africa and the Ottoman empire, and were a shipping address for certain medieval copies of ancient scrolls which had been hidden away from the inquisitors when Moorish Iberia gave way to Catholic Spain. A side line for the Suydams was found in the 19th and 20th century fashion trends that demanded far eastern textiles and faux ceramics in the adornment of domestic rooms.

from wikipedia

The first Jews to come to New York arrived in what became New York City around September in 1654. They arrived on a ship from Recife, a city in what became Brazil. There were 23 Jewish men, woman, and children refugees among the passengers on the boat, whose captain was Jacques de la Motthe.

There was initial hostility and Peter Stuyvesant attempted to evict the Jews from his town. Jewish stockholders in Amsterdam prevailed on the Dutch West India Company to order the governor to let them remain. In 1655, a few Sephardic Jewish families immigrated to the city with a Torah scroll, possibly indicating the start of a private synagogue. Stuyvesant, determined to drive the Jewish settlers out of New Amsterdam, made efforts to restrict their trade, prohibited their owning property, and taxed them to pay for the town watch. In 1655, the Jews applied for a plot of land for a cemetery, but the governor denied the request, pointing out that no one had yet died. The following year the death of one of the Jews compelled him to designate “a little hook of land” beyond the town wall. This site has long since disappeared.

Stuyvesant’s recalcitrance and the extreme cold of New Amsterdam’s winters led the Sephardic Jews to depart for Amsterdam, London, or the Caribbean, where relatives were better established. By 1663, the Torah scroll had been returned to Amsterdam. In 1664 a large British fleet forced Stuyvesant to surrender without firing a shot, and all residents who remained in what was now New York were required to sign an oath of allegiance to the English crown.[1] The one Jewish name on the list was Asser Levy’s. He seems to have maintained the only Jewish presence of record in British New York until he was joined in 1680 by relatives from Amsterdam. Levy’s death on February 1, 1681/82 and burial in the old cemetery unquestionably led Sephardi Joseph Bueno de Mesquita to purchase a separate burying ground for his own family and for a growing group of Sephardim in the community.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The European part of the family was exterminated during the genocidal rampage of the last known Antichrist during the 1940’s, and the Suydams faded into Brooklyn obscurity during the 1950’s. The man I contacted, named Ari Suydam, is the last of his line. The old Dutch business records were lost, along with a cache of valuable paintings and other rare collectibles (including the legendary De Vermiis Mysteries, and a fragment of the Pnakotic Manuscripts- supposedly), whose recovery via international law and United Nations treaty is the man’s sole obsession. A significant amount of the documentation about a critical phase in the development of Long Island City was lost in a courthouse fire in 1904, including the critical location of Gilman’s Grave at Calvary.

from wikipedia

In 1939 there were some 140,000 Dutch Jews living in the Netherlands, among them some 25,000 German-Jewish refugees who had fled Germany in the 1930s (other sources claim that some 34,000 Jewish refugees entered the Netherlands between 1933 and 1940, mostly from Germany and Austria)…

…In 1945 only about 35,000 of them were still alive. The exact number of “full Jews” who survived the Holocaust is estimated to be 34,379 (of whom 8,500 were part of a mixed marriage and thus spared from deportation and possible death in the Nazi concentration camps); the number of “half Jews” who were present in the Netherlands at the end of the Second World War in 1945 is estimated to be 14,545, the number of “quarter Jews” 5,990

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Suydam, it is rumored, has a unique ledger in his possession that contains the otherwise immolated information sought. Unfortunately, a bizarre and exclusionary form of an other wise wholesome orthodoxy called Hasidism that the man adheres to will not allow him to deal with anyone who is not Jewish. When informed that I was raised Jewish, Bar Mitzvah and all, Suydam scornfully informed me that I wasn’t Jewish enough and ordered me to vacate his premise. He said that there were certain things that only Kohanim should know.

Thwarted, I left and walked out into the sunset.

from wikipedia

The kohanim formed a holy order. For the purpose of protecting them against ritual defilement, the Torah imposed on them the following rules for ritual purity, which are still maintained to a certain degree in Orthodox Judaism.

  • Kohanim are forbidden to come in contact with dead bodies, nor are they permitted to perform the customary mourning rites. They are commanded, however, to become defiled for their closest relatives: father, mother, brother, unmarried sister, child or wife.
  • A kohen is forbidden to enter any house or enclosure, or approach any spot, in which a dead body, or part of a dead body, may be found.
  • Practical examples of these prohibitions include: not entering a cemetery or attending a funeral; not being under the same roof (i.e. in a home or hospital) as a dismembered organ. The exact rules and regulations of defilement are quite complex, but a cursory rule of thumb is that they may not enter a room with a dead person or come within a few feet of the body. Proximity to the corpse of a non-Jew is less serious and may only be an issue if actual contact is established.
  • A male kohen may not marry a divorcee, a prostitute, a convert, or a dishonored woman.[14] Any kohen who enters into such a marriage loses the entitlements of his priestly status while in that marriage. The kohen is not allowed to “choose to forego his status” and marry a woman prohibited to him.
  • According to the Talmud, if a kohen marries in disregard of the above prohibitions, his marriage is still effective. Any children born of the union are legitimate and not mamzer. However, these children are termed chalal (“disqualified”) and lose their kohen status permanently.
  • The Kohen Gadol must marry a virgin.
  • During the period of the Holy Temple, kohanim were required to abstain from wine and all strong drink while performing their priestly duties.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Third Avenue is dominated by the steel of the Gowanus Expressway where it joins the Belt Parkway. Fourth Avenue and beyond seemed to be a residential angle between neighborhoods, an immigrant clime whose residents displayed neither sin pitted countenances of old world inheritance nor sullen malignancy. Many eating establishments were observed, and a tremendous amount of vehicular traffic. Second Avenue is where you’ll find the remains of the Bush Terminal, which is the second largest interior space I’ve ever experienced. The cyclopean summit is held by the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, so large that it forms its own weather system.

from wikipedia

After the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, I-278 continues into Brooklyn on the Gowanus Expressway. Immediately after the bridge, the freeway comes to an eastbound exit and westbound entrance for the Belt Parkway. After this, a full interchange serves 92nd Street at which point I-278 becomes a single-level six-lane freeway. Along this road, one of the eastbound lanes serves as a high-occupancy vehicle lane.[9] The Gowanus Expressway continues northeast into urban residential neighborhoods and reaches an eastbound interchange at Fort Hamilton Parkway and a westbound interchange at 86th Street. Turning more to the north, I-278 comes to a partial interchange at 65th Avenue, with an exit eastbound and entrance westbound. The road curves northwest at this point and comes to a directional interchange providing access to 3rd Avenue and the Belt Parkway.[3][4] The Gowanus Expressway turns northeast again at this interchange and continues along an elevated alignment through urban residential and commercial areas.[3] Along this viaduct, I-278 has interchanges with 38th Street/39th Street and the western terminus of NY 27 (Prospect Expressway). After the NY 27 interchange, the freeway widens to eight lanes and heads north, coming to an interchange with the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel approach (I-478), with the exit ramps splitting from the median of I-278. Westbound access to the tunnel is provided by the Hamilton Avenue exit.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Gilman… where is Gilman?

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm

After the Fire

with 2 comments

ret_g10_img_9766_qns.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the posting “Weird Synchronicity“- from September 8th of 2009-  I commented on the odd coincidence that a Dutch Kills factory that I was preparing a post on was immolated at the very same time that its photos were uploading to the interwebs. On a rainy saturday a few weeks later, I made it a point of stopping by to see what remained. The inset shots are obviously pre fire, and the whole setting is at the end of the “Empty Corridor” in Long Island City.
(empty corridor is a term entirely of my own invention, by the way. I also call Gantry Plaza state park down by Queenswest “that piers thingie by the Battery Park City thing” and call the RFK Bridge- Triborough)

g10_img_7430_trav.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ret_g10_img_9757_qns.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Devastation seemed pretty selective, but I imagine that a couple of weeks of attention for a demolition crew, -whose presence and arts are evidenced by the clean cut lines of separation observed in the structures- would involve a thorough scouring for salvage. Metals are still quite the recyclable item, although the bottom has dropped out of the cardboard recycling game.

ret_g10_img_9762_qns.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As longtime readers know, I never cross a fenceline or knowingly trespass. These shots were taken from the sidewalk, which in this case, is the glass and steel ceiling of an underground vault connected to this fallen structure. The back of this property abuts the Dutch Kills. I must admit to having used the weed choked frontage of this former factory for… the elimination of bodily waste… in the past. This embarrassing acknowledgment is ventured solely to comment on the elaborate and long habited homeless camp that existed just 16 inches from the sidewalk and which was hidden by the thorny foliation issued by the Dutch Kills. Whoever it was that lived there had opened a hole into this vault, whose depths swallowed the light of my trusty electric flashlight.

ret_g10_img_9749_qns.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

No trace of the former residents is observed, they seem to have disappeared into the same manner as that duo from 50th avenue and 27th street who lived in a broken down car that burned away- and that enigmatic man with no legs who lived under the Pulaski Bridge’s Queens tower. Curious.

g10_img_7438_trav.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

ret_g10_img_9780_qns.jpg by you.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

From Fox 5:

A massive fire is burning in a two-story warehouse in Long Island City, Queens.

The flames broke out at around 6 a.m. at 50-10 27th Street and 50th Avenue.

Giant plumes of smoke from the blaze are covering the western side of the Long Island Expressway just before the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

Expect delays of at least 25 minutes on the Expressway.

NY Traffic Authority Ines Rosales recommends drivers in the area take he 59th Street Bridge or get off on the Queens Boulevard and take the Queens Borough Bridge.

There are no reports of injuries.

and from ny1.com

A three-alarm fire in Long Island City was brought under control just after 9 this morning, but not until after it caused major congestion on the Long Island Expressway.

The fire broke out just before 6 o’clock inside an empty warehouse at 50th Avenue and 27th Street, just below the LIE.

The smoke reduced visibility on the roadway and briefly forced its closure.

Fire officials say the heat from the fire was intense, forcing firefighters to fight the flames from the outside of the building.

“We originally sent people in, but it was deemed unsafe, too much fire and a whole building that had been vacant,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Bob Maynes. “So we were worried about the safety of our firefighters.”

About 150 firefighters were needed to bring the fire under control.

The flames completely destroyed the facade of the building and took off most of the roof.

Three firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

Fire marshals have begun their investigation into the cause of the fire.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 18, 2009 at 3:11 am

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