Monday, August 27, 2012

The Red Hook within our Veins

There are few things more pleasing to a lens than oxidized iron, and its alloys.  We all get to enjoy the benefits of it, and I'm not just referring to its aesthetic value; without it, we would be deceased.  The same iron oxide that consumes this structure delivers the oxygen we breathe to where its needed within each of us; unless of course, you're Vulcan, then a photo of a copper roof would be much more appropriate.  Not to get sidetracked here, this structure is one of the rapidly disappearing relics of Red Hook's past and sits near the Gowanus Expressway.

The Ozone Park Ramp Up Junction

In Ozone Park, Queens, there is a junction that can be the point of much confusion endured by JFK bound tourists and casual A Train riding NYC residents alike.  It is a common occurrence that commuters bound for JFK Airport will mistakenly board a Lefferts Blvd bound A train and scratch their head when they never make it to the Howard Beach station. This piece of infrastructure is the first of two sequences where A Train, while retaining the same route designation (A) splits in to multiple terminus points.

This next section reveals a small, but complicated piece of NYC Transit lore.  Some of the terms used here may seem somewhat esoteric to people who aren't familiar with the basics of New York City Subway system history.  There is a series in the works in which I will discuss, in further detail, some of the fascinating history of the system and its development.  But until then, all that really needs to be communicated at this point is that much work has been done over the last several decades to try to unify the subway system.  In many ways, however, the system is still a hodgepodge of of different lines created by competing and conflicting interests.
One doesn't have to look very hard to see evidence of this.  The most conspicuous clues that are readily evident  are details like how the system is separated into an A Division (fomerly IRT, Routes with numbers) and a B Division (formerly IND, BMT, Routes with letters), which have completely different train sizes.  Or some of the awkward ways in which transfers are made within connected stations.  The junction above, however, is more subtle, and is resultant from dual contracts, and deconstruction and reconstitution of old transit lines.

This junction is where the 1) IND Rockaway Line,  2) IND Fulton Street Line, and 3) BMT Fulton Street Line.

1. IND Rockaway Line:  Originally part of the Long Island Rail Road System (more on that at a later date), which was rehabilitation and adapted to fully connect the Rockaway Peninsula into the subway system.

2. IND Fulton Street Line: Originally part of the Independent Subway System, beginning in downtown Brooklyn and went to East New York.  Much of it was built during the 1930's and 1940's.  In the late 1950's, this line was connected to this junction.

3. BMT Fulton Street Line: Formerly an elevated line which was operated by the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp., that spanned Fulton Street.  Most of it was demolished however, and the only remaining section runs along Liberty Avenue From 80th-Hudson Street  to Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd, which was integrated into the IND Fulton Line via this junction.

In short, any peak time Brooklyn/Queens bound A Trains all travel the same route along the Fulton Line until it reaches this point, after which one train may continue along the even older, elevated Fulton Line, or it heads to the Rockaways.  I really enjoyed talking up this single photo, and I hope you, the reader enjoyed it as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Sherman Avenue Proposal

This photograph was taken in Indianapolis some 4 to 5 years back.  If memory serves, it was freezing cold and I was randomly approached by this guy who claimed to be an agent for local east side rappers who then asked if I could take his promo photos for the clients he represents.  He then proceeds to state in a roundabout way  that he can't really compensate me with currency per se, but the exposure he could provide, would make 'famous' in his scene.  Annoyed, I proclaimed that while I may take photos under a bridge, I don't conduct business under them and handed him my card.  He never called.

This phenomenon is a very old story.  I only freelance part time and have a different stream of regular  income, but artists of any kind are frequently propositioned in ways that relate much to panhandling.  Although the man in this story is not of the highers classes, but this is indeed how wealthy people beg.  Some upper class organization will offer you publicity, exposure, and a chance to socialize with them and all you have to do is hand over your hard work that keeps you sustained.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The 45th Degree

   (61st and Roosevelt, near the subway and LIRR stations)

Welcome to the continuation of the Queens infrastructure marathon, to ensure diversification enjoyment, I managed to make it out of Astoria and appear in nearby Woodside.  What would have made this shot really awesome, is if some retro cars would have happened to have been parked here on Roosevelt Avenue.  I really can't complain, the rusty steel girders and rivets are satisfying in their own right.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Transportation Sandwich

 (The foot of the Hellgate bridge and the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd Subway Station in Queens)

A nice tasty transportation sandwich in on the menu here in Astoria.  Fixings include 31st Street on the bottom, N and Q Trains in the middle, and topped with Amtrak.  New York and many other cities along the Eastern Corridor frequently enjoy similar sandwiches, if only the entire country would develop a taste for them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Late Night Airport Run

Like the bus above, I've been tracking quite a but of miles in this area as of late.  The reasons are all self evident for I was leaving work at night, which leaves me less time to diversify the locations in which I  photograph.  Looking down Hoyt Street and Grand Central Parkway towards the Triborough Bridge in Astoria, Queens.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A City of Children

    (Taken at the Marcy Avenue subway station in Williamsburg)

A vexed mother flings an uncooperative child on the seat next to where I sit on a public subway bench.  Before I continue, it should be said stated that with the exception of a few children in my life that are dear to me, most kids seem to be quite astute to locating every last nerve of my being, then jabbing at them with an olive fork.  Within the first sixty seconds of being seated next to me, I was jabbed four times with a right elbow and kicked three times with a right foot.  By one minute, thirty seconds of the encounter, a small whiffle ball was  dropped in my lap, which then rolled and fell under the bench.  Before I could lean forward and assist in the retrieval the ball, an awkward moment occurred when the child rushed to the ground on all fours, digging between my feet.  I looked to my left to see the parent's indifferent expression, followed by an equally indifferent shrug.  I then looked right to appreciate this tag.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Minimalism

"Post no bills" may be in full force, by there are always loopholes.  Stenciled hearts on deep blue plywood temporary walls, sidewalks and wide-angle lenses, and mild summer weather all went into this post today.  Its should be noted that this was photographed in Queens, not Boston.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Steam and Burning Plastics, The Astoria Truck Fire of 8/16/2012

Here I am, walking through Astoria on my lunch break, trying to decide what would be pleasing to the pallet, when I detected a stench most foul.  I look up and spot several firefighters tending tending to an engulfed,  parked NYC DOT utility truck.  Many of the pedestrians in the area were trying to decide whether to gawk or escape the acrid aroma of auto parts in last stage combustion, with camera in hand, the choice for me was clear, souvlaki would have to wait.

By the time I got to the other side of Astoria Blvd, the fire department had made short of the blaze, but were still charged with having to pry open every smoldering nook and cranny.  With the heat and stench, imagine the fun they must be having on a hot summer day.

I say with admiration that these guys do a job that I, and most people, are not at all cut out for.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Big Platform Tablet Chill

(Commuter relaxing with an Ipad in the Court Street Station, Brooklyn Heights)

The amount of people obliviously chilling with tablets and other pricey consumer electronics on crowded public transit is shocking to me.  Every time I hear somebody express any kind of angst over the possibilities of being mugged, or more laughably, pick pocketed, I sigh.  Why would a thief, these days, get that up close and personal, incurring risk, when a quick grab and shove would work smashingly?  What is worse, Wifi is being implemented in select stations around the city, which will only serve to generate even fatter, fruit, which is not only low hanging, but touching the ground.  Even the MTA is starting to place PSAs in stations, trains, and buses addressing this issue.

Even though I blog frequently and am present on multiple social networks, anyone who really knows me can tell you that I refuse to plugged in 24 hours a day; I don't own a tablet or a smart phone.  I only state this as a matter of disclosure and am by no means some Luddite, technophobe, suggesting one pry their face from their gadgets; I just pleading a case for the exercise of common sense.  One wouldn't casually brandish $600.00 in cash with one hand on their commute, why do so with a device of equal value?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Competition With Vices

(Taken on Astoria Blvd, near 31st Street.)

There are vices and then there are vices.  The vices illustrated above are functional in character and while may cause harm to a sufferer in the long term, one can still perform their day to day duties.  My personal vices are of a similar type and  include (but are not limited to) donuts and Star Trek; while these vices have been known to affect my social life from time to time, I've never been compelled to sell my first born or live in abject squalor as a result.  As for coffee and cigarettes?  I never touch the stuff.

Best Value Shopping // Low Clearance

Personally, I find tiny, interlinkable minutiae to completely irresistible  If there were some kind of desire in play to lure me into an ambush, all one would have to do is stage an elaborate scene that could be sandwiched into a title.

This area we are looking at here is 61st and Roosevelt in Woodside, Queens, a significant transit location.  Transit options include the LIRR, 7 Train, multiple bus lines, and is only two stops away from the larger Jackson Heights-Roosevelt station at 74th, providing access to all the Queens Blvd trains (E,F,M,R) and more bus routes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blue Sky Astoria

 My 10mm wide angle lens has been sitting idle for way too long.  I began to image it pleading from my gear bag, "please take me to Queens with you".  My options were to either  (a). grab the lens or (b). seek the services of a psychiatrist.  Option (a) was decidedly the more economic and convenient choice.  So here is my blue sky neuroleptic substitute for today, a scene from 31st Street in Astoria.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I, Standpipe

I am sentient.
I am self aware.
I might save your ass one day.

Although a ubiquitous feature within the subway system, this specific one was encountered on the G Train platform of the Court Square station in Long Island City.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Fertile Mother by the Sea

Its impossible to determine how much of these are actually hers.  Equally impossible to determine (for me at least) is if she isn't in fact a he, but that possible revelation doesn't mesh well with this post's title, which I'm unduly proud of.  So here she is, the hardworking, dedicated mother of (x)^n chicks.  Taken in the Edgemere area of The Rockaways.

'In Relation to' Map

(Taken near Joralemon Street in downtown Brooklyn)

In the pursuit of that special (or not so special) someone, you may get on or off (or merely make a transfer) at one of these stops.  Loathing and apathy are conspicuously absent and could not be reach for comment.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Haunted by the Ghost of Dead Bedbugs

They are amassing and large quantities of gelatinous substances a forming under the streets.  A hideous painting laying in wait in a Manhattan museum is being tapped for its havoc wreaking services.  Bedbugs strike chords of tension in even the most jaded New Yorker, but they haven't seen anything until a fog of ectoplasmic nymphs descend upon us all.

This is a photograph taken near Queens Plaza with a new experimental technique I've been testing.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Long Island City, Fast Tracked

  (Original neighborhood structures overshadowed by Citi Tower and other large scale construction)

Not in the too distant past, Long Island City was considered to be an industrial and working class neighborhood, but with its excellent access to transit, proximity to Manhattan, and relative affordability, its undergoing rapid transition.  One doesn't need to dig very deep to view this transition first hand, just take an N or 7 train to Queensboro Plaza and you can see the high rise structures going up and much investment in public spaces.  Public transit options tend to play a significant role in how these neighborhoods develop and its no coincidence that  most of the heaviest  development is focused in the areas between Court Square and Queens Plaza.  Subway access in this area is more accessible than some areas of Manhattan; Court Square (7,E,G,M), Queensboro Plaza (7,N,Q), Queens Plaza (E,M,R), 21st-Queensbridge (F).  Development however, is also moving north of the Plaza.

 (Queens Plaza at night)

If one were to continue up north past streets like 21st or Crescent Streets, it would be clear the development  is in its earlier stages when compared to the neighborhoods southern section.  They would see large amounts of light industry like auto repair shops, a large bakery that makes the entire area smell like a hot loaf of  bread, and of course, Queensbridge, the largest public housing complex in the United States.  One would also notice the large amounts of newer, more affordable, hotels that have been constructed, who's rates can be  more than half that of hotels in Manhattan.


Pigeons and many other of its avian brethren do indeed make fabulous, dysfunctional hoarders.  So much so, that they can rival humanity's ability to do so.  I will say that there are many rewards that await you if you just look up and around every now and then as you walk.  This is not one of those, but there is always inherent risk in any endeavor.  Taken in Queens Plaza.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Signs of Life

Native to Newtown Creek, this fish, the Graffitus Anoxicus has made many leaps over the decades an can now survive in concrete.  Taken under the Pulaski Bridge on the Queens side.

Brooklyn Heights Style

One of the few well preserved of classic New York City transit minutiae. Taken at the Montague Street entrance of the Court Street subway station.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ghosty Train Traffic

These behemoth girders for the ascent of the railway that spans the Hellgate Bridge in Astoria.  These tracks carry the traffic of Acela, standard Amtrak stock, and freight.  This is but one piece of the Northeastern Corridor infrastructure, which in turn is one of the only viable interurban commuter rail networks in the United States.

A Sun Sets on Queens

A beautiful sunset descending upon the city as I left from a late day at work, luckily, I decided to bring my camera along.  Racing the sunset through Astoria and Long Island City using the N Train to gain different perspectives is only one of the things I will do to get my photographs.

Queensboro Plaza and Bridge.

Astoria Blvd Station looking toward Long Island City.

The Triborough Bridge and Grand Central Parkway.

Generic rooftop silhouettes and the sky.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Under It

With all the the new bike lanes being implemented all over Brooklyn, I still feel much safer walking.  Between oblivious drivers, drivers resentful of the new lane's existence, uninformed cyclists who don't understand proper operation of a bicycle in the urban setting, people who park their cars in them, oblivious pedestrians,  and joggers that utilize them, it shows how new much of urban America has to go to get acquainted to these new lanes.  Taken under the BQE in Williamsburg.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fusing of Alternate Dimensions

How about that?  More trains!  As I attempt to continue a regular blogging frequency, much of my work has been captured along the paths in which I commute, hence all the photos emphasizing transit.  I'm can't complain though, I enjoy photographing trains.  Light and fun on Saturday, surreal on Sunday.  A double exposure of sorts of a 7 Train departing Queensboro Plaza to Flushing.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


The Flushing line, also known as the IRT Flushing Line, or simply the 7 train, is unique in many different ways.  It quite possibly one of the most ethnically diverse lines in the system, but what is demonstrated here, is a fragment one if its many phases of architectural styles.  In Woodside, where this is photographed, this elevated section bears of a more utilitarian girder feel, but as you get to Queens Boulevard, it beings to resemble that of an old European Viaduct.

Marco _ _ _ Polo _ _ _

I wanted to feature something a little light and fun for this Saturday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Culver Viaduct Discontinuation Syndrome

Long needed, ongoing construction on the Culver Viaduct has caused an array of disruption of G and F train riders in South Brooklyn.  The most persistent of these disruptions has been the closing of the Smith-9th Station.  I'm not a resident of Gowanus, but I can only image how much they want their Smith-9th Station back.  Its been even worse for Red Hook, whom have no direct subway service, that station is the closest link.  According to the MTA, this should reopen in Fall 2012, but then again, it was originally supposed to open by Summer of 2012.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Semi-Secret Passage

Semi-secret as in seen by many, but not readily accessible.  There's a spot of the West End line in Brooklyn, near Sunset Park when the D train enters a fragmented set of tunnels before it becomes elevated.  I was lucky enough to have a nice mix of filthy train car windows and rain give serve as a nice texture to enhance the photograph's mood.

Hoyt, Street Light. Street Light, Hoyt

I’m standing somewhere in what is the Astoria Blvd subway station/Hoyt Avenue/Grand Central Pkwy Infrastructure Sandwich in Astoria.  Its an early commute, and even though I’m a zombie at 5:30 in the morning, I can still take a photo.