Last Saturday, I meandered around Long Island City perusing the urban landscape for interesting and different subject matter to photograph and came upon the pedestrian entrance to the Pulaski Bridge on 11th Street. This was just what I was looking for; a cityscape with some earthy gritty aspects. This past summer I sailed under this bridge on an excursion up Newtown Creek and wrote about it in a previous post Saving Newtown Creek but, I had never walked across from Long Island City Queens to Greenpoint Brooklyn, both heavily industrialized sections that are having a resurgence as residential and commercial hot spots.
The walkway is narrow and enclosed on one side by a high chain link fence that bows outward and keeps people from falling or jumping off into the highly polluted creek or the entrace to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. I was fascinated by the bend and curve of the fencing and how when photographed at a certain angle pulls the eye straight into a visual vortex. The other side is the highway, with low concrete and metal dividers separating the pedestrian and/or bicyclist from the vehicular traffic zooming in and out of the two boroughs. Since this is a draw bridge there is unobstructed viewing in the middle where the giant zipper like grid comes together when the bridge is closed. The bridge at times would undulate when a monstrously heavy truck would go roaring by unnerving me as I straddled the “zipper” trying to take a photograph and not get tossed into the traffic. How I managed to get a sharp image of it I’ll never know. There are access stairways at various points along the bridge that also offer open views.
The view from the bridge is striking with a range of urban subject matter from three boroughs; Brooklyn to the left, Queens to the right and Manhattan straight up the middle. The shoreline of both Long Island City and Greenpoint are lined with old and new factories, graffiti covered warehouses, parking lots, garages, and docks for small boats and barges. Photo fodder for industrial photographers like myself. Further inland are the neighborhood homes, apartment buildings, commercial buildings, schools, steepled churches, local restaurants, businesses and cafes. Looking up the creek and out toward the East River is Manhattan with the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings scraping the sky. The bridge also crosses over the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road and I took a quick run down to street level to capture the rusting metal and dried wood of the tracks stretching toward the “big city.”
The highway had some interesting urban subject matter as well and I turned my camera’s lens on any vehicle that had a bright color or a large size passing under the dark red iron work arches spanning the roadway. The view on this side of the bridge is of huge advertising billboards, big yellow traffic lights, red and white traffic stop arms and matching steam stacks of the Keyspan Energy plant and the ice blue Citicorp Building; Long Island City’s first skyscraper.
Throughout the day the sky was a whirl of soft smooth white clouds against a cyan blue canvas adding an intensity to the image compositions both in color and black and white. A picture perfect day above the urban menagerie of Queens and Brooklyn.
Enjoy the images below.