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: Vaccine Bussing Bust

This scene takes place in South Richmond Hill, Liberty Ave. and Lefferts Blvd.

The sight was quite incredible and truly unexpected.

Two massive vaccine buses giving out two vaccines, one for the two-dose Pfizer and the other for the one-shot Johnsons

Only one problem…

Nobody was doing it.

After spending about an hour scoping this out, zero people lined up to get vaccinated.

 Little Guyana is one of the areas currently with the highest COVID infection rates in Southside Queens and likely also one of the top ranked areas in vaccine hesitancy among it’s residents.

The Blaz, a disaster of a mayor and selfish human being, has been talking about equity regarding these vaccines for months and even by sending two mobile vac sites he is still failing his constituents, mainly because the city has not made an effort to inform people of the side effects and there is zero data about re-infections after vaccinations.

What’s interesting about this over-deployment of vac buses is why send two to this one spot instead of sending one of these mobile sites to other neighborhoods with higher COVID infections and hesitancy and lack of available vac sites, notably in other lower income Southside Queens enclaves like Far Rockaway? I guess because of the demographics there is higher chance for the India-based Delta Variant of COVID-19 to spread or maybe it was because the Blaz was on this block a few weeks ago for a street renaming event.

It’s easy to see why the Blaz and his NYC Dept of Health desperately overcompensated to get residents around Little Guyana inoculated and why vaccine equity is all performance, because they have been more concerned with getting tourist destination areas clear of COVID spread first, notably in Times Square by opening up a vac site on Broadway complete with a musical performance to entertain the Blaz and his elite producers, hospitality CEO buddies and Lin Miranda Manuel. And has is typical of the Blaz’s touch of failure, this site is now out of commission because the contractor fucked up and let vaccines spoil. The Blaz also sent, make that used the mobile vac buses mostly as promotional events when he showed up at an event featuring his fauxgressive ally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Jackson Heights and other stops in the West and East Village in Manhattan so his son Dante got to promote his side hustle DJ act.

 Not much is known how many people got the jabs ever since these buses have been on the streets in the last few months. Looking at this, it gives the impression that it might be on the block for about a week but it was only set up for one day. Although the sight of these buses should give a sense of confidence, it’s ultimately wasteful to send them on the same day the primary election races for Mayor, City Council and Borough President is going on and extremely insulting how late the city took getting at least one bus to this area after months of being one of the city’s highest infected enclaves.

This scene in Queens looks more another exhibition of equity than it is for public health equity and it’s also another exhibition of the mayor’s persistent profligate spending of city tax dollars. Which ultimately results in more passive disenfranchisement of city services.

 

 

Scenes Of Queens: The Last House On The Left

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.

Affixing A Hole

051The star of the show.

New York is not only famous for being the biggest city in the world (by default, reputation and hype) but it’s also infamous for it’s potholes which manifest from time to time and also notorious for the tardiness to repair them. But decades riding (and at few occasions driving) in this big city of dreams, I don’t think I have ever seen the creative and quarter-assed way Mayor de Blasio’s Department of Transportation has displayed to remediate or even fix these blights on the roads and pavement. Especially with the usage of traffic cones.

Take the header photo of the subway grating. Clearly the hatch door is missing. Either it fell off or some enterprising derelict managed to rip it off and sold it for scrap. Or maybe by a MTA low paid contractor worker.

Despite how hideous and hazardous that looks, it doesn’t remotely compare to what the DOT is enabling or even ordering to temporarily remedy new road hazards on the streets this summer. Like this patch job on Central Park West.

 

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Looks like something went wrong on this road here, which looks like it was milled and repaved not long ago.

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Looking at this, I had thoughts of what else could be down there. Although I am partially glad that it the city affixed this hole, even if a rabbit won’t be able to make it to brunch with the Mad Hatter. Anyone could have rode over it and got a nasty flat or even ruined their wheel. Or maybe fall into another dimension or time. Other concerns I had was some sort of entity (or entities) that would rise from the depths of the netherworld like those shadows in “Ghost” or even worse a hipster version of Chutulu.

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Take a look at that depth, that’s about the size of the standard foot and a half high cone that are frequently used. Usually the safety standard would entail that inverted cone and a few others to surround that hole and obviously for a work order to close the street to repair it. But now the D.O.T., which is ever so busy with other things like shutting down streets for film shoots and helping arrange fun festival weekends barring driving on weekends, is now just looking at these spooky craters and putting a big orange cork in it.

After placing a message on the city’s social media account, the void did get remedied as it got tagged for eventual repair.

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They also stuffed it with what what looks like powdered sugar covered wet paper towels.

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After this I thought for sure the city won’t be stupid enough to be this lazy and careless when the next hole appears. But I stood corrected and beside myself when I saw this asphalt buttplug again in Hell’s Kitchen.

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This one was even worse. Fortunately this hole was actually not much of a danger to cars being that it was pass the crosswalk and away from the lane, but one could easily fall into the abyss walking, skating or riding on it. Especially when your staring at your phone screen like a stupid junkie.

To be fair, the DOT are still applying these orange cones properly for the majority of unsightly road hazards, when the holes are too big to use them as buttplugs.

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Well, sometimes.

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But the de Blasio’s D.O.T.’s shiftlessness is not limited to the lame efforts and solutions to warn citizens of road hazards, it also applies his Department of Environmental Protection for our dilapidated water catch basins. Especially the ones in the perpetually ignored neighborhoods in Southeast Queens.

Like this one here. This fucking wreck in South Richmond Hill has been like this for about a year. There’s suppose to be a big metal thing there on top. It’s a wonder how the city is able to lose parts like that and how mindblowing it is that they don’t immediately replace it.  Supposedly some homeless people or junkies find it (or pry it out themselves) and sell it for scrap too.

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This gives the impression that the city contracted Fred Flintstone’s employer Slate Quarry to renovate it.

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Then there’s this abomination:

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I want to mock this with another cartoon analogy but it’s just too repulsive. Fortunately, it probably will get repaired since it’s on a corner and it’s part of the citywide renovation to make them better for the handicapped.

And isn’t it nice of the de Blasio’s D.E.P. to provide a one legged girder along with a taped orange cone? It’s the equivalent of tying a string on your pinky to remember something.

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It’s not the case for this cavernous basin though:541

It looks like the D.E.P. noticed this too while they were still around town. So they had a spare leg, girder and orange cone to remedy any resident’s worries.

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Surely, this was encouraging that remediation was on the way. But as Staten Island rock heroes Anthrax used to say…NOT!

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Unfuckingbeilievable and rigoddamndiculous. The D.E.P.’s saw fit to blacktop patch the hole and reinforce it with some discarded wood and just removed the leg from the fucking girder and left it there. Yeah, that looks durable, schmucks.

Who knows what 99 cent store inspired dinky fixes this city will to do our slowly crippling infrastructure. Because potholes don’t discriminate.

From Richmond Hill in Queens

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To NoMad in Manhattan

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Rest assured that these holes will get the standard safety cone buttplug treatment, as it’s now being applied to broken off parking sign poles like this one:

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And citizens, if you see these holes, say something about them. The city’s social media accounts do respond fast. But if results aren’t manifesting fast enough, don’t be shy to be proactive and do it yourself. How hard can it be to shove something in a disturbing looking hole.

The de Blasio D.O.T. standard street apparatuses won’t be hard to find.

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