In its own way, the area surrounding Dutch Kills is actually quite a lovely place – as storied industrial centers which have seen better days go. Dutch Kills is a Queens tributary of that languid cautionary tale known as the Newtown Creek, and has been isolated for several seasons from maritime utility by failing railway bridges and a changing industrial landscape.
Hunters Point Avenue is a two-lane local City street in Queens. Hunters Point Avenue is oriented east-west and extends from 21st Street to the Long Island Expressway/Brooklyn Queens Expressway interchange in Queens. The avenue is parallel to and approximately one block south of the Long Island Expressway. The Hunters Point Bridge over Dutch Kills is situated between 27th Street and 30th Street in the Long Island City section of Queens, and is four blocks upstream of the Borden Avenue Bridge. It is a bascule bridge with a span of 21.8m. The general appearance of the bridge has been significantly changed since it was first opened in 1910. The bridge provides a channel with a horizontal clearance of 18.3m and a vertical clearance, in the closed position, of 2.4m at MHW and 4.0m at MLW. The bridge structure carries a two-lane, two-way vehicular roadway with sidewalks on either side. The roadway width is 11.0m, while the sidewalks are 1.8m wide. The width of the approach roadways vary from the width of the bridge roadway. The west approach and east approach roadways are 13.4m and 9.1m, respectively.
The first bridge at this site, a wooden structure, was replaced by an iron bridge in 1874. That bridge was permanently closed in 1907 due to movement of the west abutment, which prevented the draw from closing. It was replaced in 1910 by a double-leaf bascule bridge, designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. The bridge was rebuilt in the early 1980′s as a single-leaf bascule, incorporating the foundations of the previous bridge.
Seldom commented, the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge segments Dutch Kills neatly, and has done so for better than a century now. The marshes and streams which once typified the area, before the advance of railroad and the vast agglutination of industry, are long gone – relegated to subterranean sewers and masonry clad spillways. A century ago – the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge (and its predecessors) allowed egress between the central business district of Long Island City and the rest of western Queens.
This week, the Parks Department will begin rebuilding the Rockaway boardwalk from Beach 86th to Beach 97th Streets — as everybody knows, Hurricane Sandy badly ripped up the boardwalk back in 2012. And over the summer, Parks hopes to take on another damaged stretch from Beach 97th Street to Beach 106th Street. According to the Daily News, “Crews will fence off the area and start demolishing some of the concrete piles as early as Monday, and the first section could be completed by Memorial Day 2015.” Work begins with pile driving, which will last two months, followed by the placement of the concrete boardwalk. Some concrete will show a wavy pattern; there’s another design with blue stones placed throughout. During construction all access points to the beach will remain open.
The city delayed this $20,000,000 project time and time again. Although the initial hope was to finish the entire reconstruction by 2016, it likely won’t happen until 2017.
This past weekend the New York Times published two, yes two! features on Queens. The first, “The King Can No Longer Afford Queens,” is about Queens the brand and the rising prices in the borough. The Times looks at Queens’ transition for being the “image of white, urban American working-class life” — brought on by shows like All in the Family and King of Queens — into a “taller and skinnier and cosmetically rearranged” borough. Units at luxury developments like Five 27 (pictured above) and The View are asking several million bucks, attracting buyers and investors from around the world and affluent suburbs. The first quarter report of 2014 showed dramatically rising sales prices, a chic children’s boutique opened in LIC, etc. As far as Queens trend pieces go, this one feels very simplistic, only concerned with the luxury market in Long Island City. We love Queens because it’s a huge, diverse borough — you sure wouldn’t know it from the article.
Secondly, the Times published “In Queens, Chickens Clash With the Rules,” an article about a family keeping chickens in Forest Hills Gardens. Strict neighborhood regulations ban backyard chickens, with the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation citing the nuisances section of its century-old homeowners’ covenant. The chicken/home owner Sylvia Saye thinks the covenant restrictions are antiquated and plans to keep the coop, telling the Times that there have been no resident complaints about “odor, noise or unsightliness.” Here’s what Mitchell Cohen, president of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, had to say: “[The covenant] is what has kept the Forest Hills Gardens the oasis it is today. I’m sorry Mrs. Saye is upset by our letter, but to keep the Forest Hills Gardens the community it is, everyone must look beyond themselves and follow the rules we all agreed to follow.”
Check out the MTA’s new marketing campaign to promote Long Island City while the 7 train is down on weekends. According to LIC Post, “The MTA is about to put the public service announcements up at every No. 7 train station and on each No. 7 train… It will also be putting the posters up at a number of other stations and on a variety of different train lines.” The posters have not gone up yet but the advertisement is now on the MTA website. The MTA also agreed to keep the 7 train running during the week of May 17th and 18th, due to all these awesome events. The weekend train shutdown will last until July 21st.
Yesterday Mayor de Blasio pledged to overhaul the city’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, announcing a number of reforms to jumpstart the process. You can see the entire PDF report here or read more details from the Mayor’s office here. The reforms include ways to improve the experience of homeowners navigating the pre-construction process, expanding eligibility for acquisition and reimbursement, establishing better coordination among city, state, and federal partners, and working closely with local communities in the rebuilding efforts.
According to the Times, the Mayor hopes that the city will have started construction on 500 new homes and mailed out 500 reimbursement checks for previously performed repairs by the end of the summer. Only 30 residents received their payments so far. As Brad Gair — who worked on rebuilding efforts during Bloomberg’s term — told the Times, “Anything that helps expedite the assistance to the homeowners who are still in need, I think is very positive. The challenge really becomes how you implement and process that.”
The building at 62-96 Woodhaven Boulevard, the former home of Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant, is coming down — at least partly. Queens Chronicle reports that the developers filed demolition permits for a portion of the existing building to make way for a seven-story, 114-unit apartment building. No one is spilling any details on the coming demolition, and existing shop owners feel frustrated due to the lack of specifics on the future transfer of ownership and potential demo. The owners of A Dog’s Best Friend, located just down from Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant, plan to move the business a few blocks away because of all the uncertainty.
Decisions, decisions, decisions and decisions. Or to be more specific: science, kites, film noir and eggs. There are some great options for family fun, entertainment and enrichment in the borough tomorrow, April 19th. It’s probably easiest to list them in bullet form.
Doktor Kaboom! This loveable nut performs original interactive “science comedy” for audiences of all ages. Blending the dramatic with the wonders of scientific exploration, the Good Doktor (above) keeps the crowd riveted with interest and rolling with laughter going on a sidesplitting journey of increasingly spectacular (and often successful) experiments designed to involve, excite, educate, and entertain. Back by popular demand, he returns to Queens Theatre (14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park) for 1 pm and 3 pm shows on Saturday. $14 per ticket or $100 for a Family Series Flex Pass (10 tickets to use however you want.)
Let’s Go Fly a Kite! It’s National Kite Month, and the King Manor Museum (150-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica) is offering a chance to learn about these objects that can be used for scientific discovery, fun or design. Attendees will create, decorate, fly and take home kites. Noon to 3 pm, free.
The Real Mann! Hollywood legend Anthony Mann was one of the greatest directors of two genres that seem very disparate: film noir, featuring nocturnal and claustrophobic dramas; and the Western, with dramas set against wide-open landscapes. The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria) launches an eight-film retrospective on Mann with two movies on Saturday. T-Men at 4 pm is about treasury agents who go undercover to penetrate a gang of Los Angeles counterfeiters. Raw Deal at 7 pm tells the story of a woman who helps spring her boyfriend from a state prison so they can flee to South America. If these movies inspire, the museum will screen two more — The Great Flamarion and Border Incident — on Sunday.
Every year, it seems, sees the closing of more of New York’s classic carousels, but Forest Park’s, just off Woodhaven Boulevard south of Myrtle, is still delighting kids big and small as it has since it was moved here from Dracut, Massachusetts, in 1971. This Daniel Muller carousel, built in 1903 and containing 54 wood horses and other animals, is one of just two remaining in the country. It replaced an earlier carousel that burnt down in 1966.
The carousel contains 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer, and two chariots arranged in three concentric circles. The carousel also contains an original carousel band organ. It’s a buck a ride for all ages. Five other New York City parks operate carousels: Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Central Park and Bryant Park in Manhattan, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, and Willowbrook Park in Staten Island.