South Ozone Park, Queens, New York
The recently departed legendary journalist Pete Hamill once said about New York City that it’s a “city of daily irritations, occasional horrors, hourly tests of will, and even courage, and huge dollops of pure beauty”. And strolling by the Belt Parkway recently all of those and some sorry imitations of them manifested on a formerly grassy knoll separating the highway and the South Conduit and it was more dollops of ugly than anything. The only dollop of beauty found is a dismembered doll head captured in the lead photo, which resembles Marie Antoinette or maybe Kellyanne Conway.
About those ugly dollops, I managed to catch them while kneeling to get that photo of that abandoned toy and the sense that something was off andwrong was immediate. As vehicle after vehicle on the service heading for the exit ramp veered off course and improvised short cuts to get off the Belt.
The location of this is on 124th and South Conduit Blvd in South Ozone Park and it’s a remote residential area north of the JFK airport. Barely any pedestrian or even bike commuting goes here. The actual exit ramp for 130 st. is about a few blocks east.
But apparently, those venturous drivers looking to depart from the Belt didn’t want to wait that long…
What was once a standard exit ramp has extended to three of them, leaving muddy trails, butchered grass and damaged though still sturdy curb making mounting onto the Conduit still an arduous task and an hazardous act of futility. These drivers would probably take the same amount of time driving to the proper exit than they would taking these shorts.
It would be natural to cite this illicit activity and vehicular highway infrastructure vandalism to the current dystopian state and economic budgetary malaise New York is in and the fact that drivers are taking advantage of it along with the rise in speeding. But from the view of this layman detective, it’s obvious that these crappy new trails have been an open secret among drivers for a long time.
A very very long time…
Hopefully if this goes viral (and twitter can be picky) the city’s or states Department of Transportation will hurry up and put up new fencing to deter drivers from certain death from the cars speeding down the road from Lefferts Blvd.
When in Rome…
That should lay to rest any proactive measures to prevent an accident over here. Although witnessing this vehicular cumbersome ballet was surreal, with cars and pickup trucks coming from the illegal exits and speeding on the boulevard, there was a sort of solidarity going down between all of them. Which reminds me of another Pete Hamill quote: “In the end, the only thing the true New Yorker knows about New York is that it is unknowable”
So in a positive but unsettling way, it’s a bit reassuring that people are making concerted efforts to avoid crashes, but it’s certain not to last, because all it takes is one impatient selfish asshole (or dollops of assholes going by the number of new passages here) and one second to wreck your car, end your finances, your livelihood and ultimately your life. All for a cheap convenient way to get to your destination faster (however misconceived).
The city and state better fix this shit before someone gets killed.