Scenes Of Queens: The Van Wyck Garbageway

This scene takes place on the Jamaica/South Richmond Hill border on the east service road of the Van Wyck Expressway.

Queens Chronicle

Illegal trash piles have been growing in South Ozone Park, and with them, residents’ frustration.

Aracelia Cook of the 149th Street South Ozone Park Civic Association recently documented several of the chronic illegal dumping spots in the neighborhood, where 311 complaints haven’t stopped trash from piling up for three weeks.

“You have rats out there, raccoons out there, rodents — all these things. And that’s not to talk about the smell,” Cook told the Chronicle on Friday.

Cook reached out to the Chronicle after trying to work with the Department of Sanitation. There were two areas of concern for her — one at a residential intersection, and another along the Van Wyck Expressway service road in between Rockaway Boulevard and Conduit Avenue.

At the residential location, on the southeast side of 146th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, a large trash pile containing tires and crates sat on the sidewalk as of last Friday.

A 311 log from July 7 shows that a complaint had been “investigated and addressed,” but the trash remained there for weeks after, Cook said.

The mess at that intersection has been a chronic problem for months. Google street views from November 2020 captured a similarly sized heap sitting on the intersection.

After the Chronicle reached out to Sanitation, the agency cleaned it up over the weekend, but by Monday afternoon Cook said more trash had already begun to pile up again.

That is an understatement. Behold, like the cherry blossoms at the Bronx Botanical Garden, every week detritus is in full bloom in the dirty Southside Queens…

Someone couldn’t find a place to discard these windshields, but I can understand the logic leaving them on the street. In due time, cars will roll over them and the glass will be grounded naturally into the asphalt.

That’s how ecology works around here. Follow the science.

The Van Wyck Garbageway also comes with amenities like this cushy living room set, providing a break for curious immersion tourists.

Which makes the sight of daily traffic commutes and the occasional illegal dirtbike and ATV caravan evoke a feeling of trainspotting.

Remember to hold your nose.

Here are the ruins of a basement studio apartment.

This is a shitty way to honor the memory of Jaki Byrad, who was a seminal and influential jazz musician who played with Charlie Mingus and many other iconic jazz legends. What’s evident is that this exhibition of crass pollution and city indifference is a sad allegory for his career as a composer and solo artist and ultimately how he tragically died.

As a leader, Byard recorded a string of albums for the Prestige label during the 1960s. Some of these albums included Richard Davis on bass and Alan Dawson on drums, a trio combination described by critic Gary Giddins as “the most commanding rhythm section of the ’60s, excepting the Hancock-Carter-Williams trio in Miles Davis’s band”, although it existed only for recordings. One such album was Jaki Byard with Strings!, a sextet recording that featured Byard’s composing and arranging: on “Cat’s Cradle Conference Rag”, each of five musicians “play five standards based on similar harmonies simultaneously”.A further example of Byard’s sometimes unusual approach to composition is the title track from Out Front!, which he created by thinking of fellow pianist Herbie Nichols’ touch at the keyboard. Popularity with jazz critics did not translate into wider success: a Washington Post review of his final Prestige album, from 1969, remarked that it was by “a man who has been largely ignored outside the inner circles”. Giddins also commented in the 1970s on the lack of attention that Byard had received, and stated that the pianist’s recordings from 1960 to 1972 “are dazzling in scope, and for his ability to make the most of limited situations”. Following his time with Prestige, Byard had more solo performances, in part because of his affection for musical partners he had become close to but who had then died.

Byard died in his home in Hollis, Queens, New York City, of a gunshot wound on February 11, 1999. He was shot once in the head. The police reported that Byard’s family, with whom he shared the house, last saw him at 6 pm, that he was killed around 10 pm, that there “were no signs of robbery, forced entry or a struggle”, and that no weapon was found. The death was soon declared to be a homicide, but the circumstances surrounding it have not been determined, and the case remains unsolved.

Let this show that street re-naming is the original virtue signalling.

The Garbageway concludes at Atlantic Avenue, bordering Richmond Hill and Jamaica and the majestic high speed rail pillar of the JFK express train, buoyed by circle of discarded clothing and shopping carts…

Oh wait, this isn’t discarded and not ordinary garbage. People live over here and that’s all what they have left to their names. It’s unsightly and probably smells like hell, but it’s 100 times safer than being forced to live in one of Mayor de Blasio’s and Stephen Banks congregate decrepit, health hazard and crime ridden homeless shelters.

This is only just a segment of the Van Wyck Garbageway, but as the Queens Chronicle noted above it’s the most recognizable for frustrated residents and recidivist litterbugs. It might get cleaned up eventually, but garbage will continue to re-materialize as long as the grass keeps growing and the earth keeps spinning on it’s axis and as long as Southside Queens streets continue to be the city’s linear dumpsters.

So it goes..


Scenes Of Queens: The Last House On The Left (The South Richmond Hill Horror)

This scene is located on Lefferts Blvd on a corner in South Richmond Hill. This house has been abandoned for quite a long ass time. Except as a reliable sanctuary for squatters and precocious teenagers in need of a place to play hooky or imbibe and get high with impunity.

A fire engulfed this once modest home back in 2015, a homeless man was found dead in the attic after the flames were put out. And last year a homeless man was found dead on the porch with his head caved in and left there by two men and a teenage girl who were found squatting inside.

Oddly enough, the house is being used for very raw and free advertising. Looks as if it’s appealing to a certain demographic looking to make a few Benjamins in a huff.

The house is thoroughly sealed.

And it still has satellite TV.

For a house that’s been blighting an area for over a decade, the hedges and bushes still look well maintained. And going by it’s history, it’s doubtlessly still being inhabited by the city’s housing insecure populace, for it probably is still safer to reside in than the city’s notorious homeless shelters, including the hotel ones. But what this abandoned home (and many others like them) and the aforementioned shelters truly shows it’s that it’s the only genuine real affordable housing that’s available in NYC.

Scenes Of Queens: And Now A Word From Our Slumlord Mercenary Sponsor…

This heinous predatory advertisement is hanging, or more appropriately and ironically squatting rent free on the railing of the abandoned Rockaway Rail Line on Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park. This enterprise probably and presumably illegally hung this up here assuming that the eviction moratorium will expire on schedule on the new year.

What kind of person would call an eviction hotline during a pandemic and while another outbreak is happening? The kind that would get the number from a scuzzy billboard on an dilapidated and long dead transit line.

This scene was captured over a week ago, December 2020.

OBVIOUSLY KNOWN And SCENES FROM QUEENS: Two New Photo Series On People, Places And Things In New York City


Your intrepid photographer

In the last four years keeping this blog afloat and building a modest social media following while having been the proud owner of about 5 or 6 cellphones, I’ve amassed a sizeable collection of photos of places, people and things that caught my eye and captured an indelible moment worthy of immortality and a massive collection of photos that were horribly shot and or immediately forgotten. But for the former, I’m going to place them in archival prosperity or immediate newsworthiness in a post series called “Obviously Known”. I came up with this because I don’t care much for subtlety and also there are a lot of things I see that I feel are quite common but hardly gets acknowledged, whether upsetting, surreal, transcendent, or oddball.

Because of the convenience of the camera app, I’ve been able to capture these moments with total ease that I never had the opportunity or spare time to do before, and also because I never owned a camera before (at least a quality one).

Like the millions of other blogs that’s on the internets, these photo posts will be summarily titled (prefaced by the theme title) with a brief description and the date when they were taken, just like on those plaques in those fancy art galleries. These photos will also be seen on the Obviously Known and Scenes From Queens on Tumblr website tooas hastags my Twitter account, just to be doubly sure they get the attention I hope they get.

Let’s get it started:

To my readers who caught this blog earlier on, I used a similar photo like this for my header (which is now graced by City Hall at night). This was taken in 2016 when the luxury monolith was a just a toddler.

This is back of Gracie Mansion taken around 2017 in winter. It’s the only way you can get into the Mayor’s house.

This is a good one. It’s from September 2016 when Banksy came to town. This is the truck full of stuffed animals that drove around Manhattan. I believe this signified the cruelty of animals and was a criticism for the consumption of meat.  It emitted audio of bellowing cows and pigs as if they were going to slaughter but it sounded like a bunch of see and say toys set on those animals were set on a loop. I have other pictures of the world renown guerilla artist from a piece of shit Vivitar camera I got at a Walgreens, but they are grossly blurred. When Banksy came, I overcame my reluctance to buy and own a celly. Unfortunately, I’ve become a much a slave to it as everyone else is. Which was Big Tech’s and Big Telecom’s master plan right?

Pigeon buffet in Midtown Manhattan, April 2017.

Imaginative transit infrastructure repair job. Upper East Side, Manhattan 2016

Homeless person, breakfast on the concrete, pretty certain this is around February 2016. The city’s homeless population at this time is estimated to be around 80,000 people, with about 4,000 still sleeping on the streets even during a pandemic. In homage to Jacob Riis who wrote a whole book about the less and unfortunate living conditions of the city’s poorest people almost 2 centuries ago, Obviously Known pictures like this will be subtitled “How the other 80,000 live” or whatever number is current.

Picture of Downtown Manhattan From Downtown Brooklyn, November 2020 from the promenade. A week later, some drunk asshole decided to take a joyride on here in his luxury car.

Now for some Scenes From Queens

Overcast skies over a row of homes in Richmond Hill, Queens. November 2019

Fucking Big Rig in the bike lane. Elmhurst, Queens, September 2019. I recall this pile of crap obstructing me having license plates from two different states on the back and the front.

These carcasses wound up on the Queens Blvd. bike lane in Woodside right after it was freshly painted only a week earlier back in 2016. The businesses and the community board was dead set against this being implemented and Mayor de Blasio told them tough shit after they officially voted no.

Dusk in Ozone Park, July 2018.

I’m going to end this post with a capture from Summer 2019 of the Ed Koch Memorial Queensboro Bridge. Which is marred by that tower under construction at the time on Roosevelt Island.

That’s it for now. Now that another outbreak has hit the five boroughs, this will give me free time to go into my archives and post some more worthy still life moments and finally free tons of GB space of thousands of crappy pics from my home p.c..

I hope these pics will not only garner interest but also inform people. Let’s see what develops.