Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

My Photo
Location: New York, New York, United States

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Vernon Boulevard, 5

We're now at the Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, (1901-1908, Gustav Lindenthal, engineer, and Palmer & Hornbostel, architects) made famous by Paul Simon. The NYC Landmarks Commission designated it in 1974. A trolley used to cross the bridge and one could get to Roosevelt Island (then Welfare Island) by descending from it by elevator. The trolley station on the Manhattan side was preserved, more precisely, not destroyed and was moved to Roosevelt Island, where it will undergo restoration and serve as a visitor's center, or so rumor has it. IMG_1692 (Small)

A dodgy-looking motel near the bridge is undergoing enlargement, and possibly, transformation. I will keep my eye on this and report back if anything interesting develops. The motel is directly opposite the promised Silvercup Studio site; is there a connection? A nice motel/hotel right here might be an affordable alternative to much more expensive lodgings across the river. IMG_1689 (Small)

To the north of the bridge is Queensbridge Houses, IMG_1691 (Small) a New York City public housing project that was once the country's largest such development. Across the street is a lovely amenity, IMG_1690 (Small) Queensbridge Park. If the weather is warm, you can almost be guaranteed an enticing smell of grilled meats.

The next stretch of Vernon Boulevard is not as interesting as Hunter's Point, unless you have a taste for power of a certain kind. This is Ravenswood, home to a sprawling generating plant, including "Big Allis" on the west side of the boulevard IMG_1697 (Small)

and one-story industrial building of various kinds on the eastern side.
IMG_1700 (Small) IMG_1698 (Small) IMG_1701 (Small) IMG_1702 (Small)
The gray building may have started out as a stable.

At 36th Avenue, in the midst of the industrial landscape, is the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
IMG_1705 (Small)
It is long overdue for a painting, but it was a riot of of reds, blues and purples at one time. The center span of the bridge is an elevator that rises to allow tall ships to pass underneath, not used very often nowadays. Here is Big Allis, (Allis-Chalmers) with the 59th Street Bridge in the background, seen from the Roosevelt Island Bridge. IMG_1748 (Small)

Opposite the Roosevelt Island Bridge is a tenement similar to many in the East Village. IMG_1703 (Small) but, most of the housing along this section are more like this IMG_1707 (Small) although there are signs of change just a bit farther north. IMG_1733 (Small)

A neon sign fabricator has been here for ages. IMG_1709 (Small) Years ago, I thought about having a sign made for my kitchen that advertised, "Mom's Eats."

Rainey Park has a view of the Octagon on Roosevelt Island. IMG_1711 (Small) This is a recently restored designated landmark (called Octagon Tower) that is the only remaining part of the New York Lunatic Asylum, A.J. Davis, 1835-39. It now houses a fitness center for one of the newer residential buildings on the island. The complex recalls the original configuration of the A.J. Davis structure, two wings extending from the octagon, at right angles to each other.

The Noguchi Museum houses the work of the prominent sculptor in a building designed by Shogi Sazao in 1985 and recently renovated. IMG_1714 (Small)

Those more interested in commerce than in art can visit Costco instead. IMG_1715 (Small)

Socrates Sculpture Park was founded by Mark Di Suvero, with sweat equity from local artists. It is now a city park. At the time of my walk, preparations were being made for a new installation IMG_1717 (Small)
and many of the familiar pieces I had expected to see were tucked away IMG_1718 (Small)

Looking over the park is the former Sohmer Piano Company factory. (Steinway Pianos are still made not far from here.) IMG_1725 (Small)
The building was constructed in 1886, designed by Berger & Baylies, but the clock tower and mansard roof were added in 1910. IMG_1732 (Small)

Don't mistake this painted metal fence for graffiti. IMG_1731 (Small)
It's a palette knife!

Many of the clients of metal fabricators here are artists. IMG_1734 (Small)
And some fabricators think they are artistic, too. IMG_1738 (Small)

And what's this? The Jersey shore? IMG_1736 (Small)

Well, no. There's the Manhttan skyline from Hallett's Point, at the northern end of Vernon Boulevard.
IMG_1741 (Small)


Anonymous Melissa W. said...

I enjoyed your photo tour of New York very much. You eye for detail makes it very interesting.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first apartment was on 21st Street and Hoyt ave. in 1983. The rent was $450.00 per month.I lived on cheap wine and 2 for a dollor Packages of cookies. I worked on E.44 Street in the city making color corrected product packages that were used on TV commercials. I had so much fun during those times. You really didn't need much money to live on back then. and that's only 25 years ago. It really was a once in a lifetime experience. Now I live in Denver, which is like NY 30 years ago. Thanks for the photos.

11:47 AM  

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