Last Saturday was just too beautiful a day to stay in and do domestic chores so I grabbed the camera and out the door I went. As I was sitting on the N train I still hadn’t any idea of where I was going to shoot until the train started making the wide turn into Queensboro Plaza, snaking around the community of Dutch Kills below, that I decided to exit the train and poke around this interesting little neighborhood. Like the rest of Long Island City, Dutch Kills is in the middle of a resurgence with new residential and commercial buildings competing for space among the small factories, warehouses, businesses and the relics of late 19th & early 20th century homes.
I took a few shots from the elevated station platform to warm up and then I descended to the streets. What interested me most and caught my eye was how eclectic it all looked as one strolls up and down the street. Block after block one sees aluminum sided two-story homes in beige and blue right next to a little grubby factory, another old brick home next to a greasy garage, a Catholic church next to a new very modern hotel, next to an old shingled home, next to a new glass apartment building, next to a small corner candy store, next to another new commercial building under construction, next to an old fire or carriage house, and on it went. It is not so much of the new replacing the old but that over the years buildings just grew up and around the residential homes like weeds and the contrasting architectural styles fit like square pegs in round holes. Needless to say there was more than ample subject matter for me to shoot, with added reflections, shadows, odd angles, textures and a sprinkling of local urban flora and fauna that I felt brought out the “ambience” of the neighborhood.
Many moons ago I attended Long Island City Highschool, right in the heart of this industrial neighborhood, and was not surprised to see the old school donning a wooden plank skirt and undergoing a much needed face lift to make it look as young as the new neighbors. The gates were open at the front and I took a few photos of the brand new facade with a white scholarly owl placed strategically over the doorway staring down at whomever passes through those doors. The school has had a name change too, it is now Newcomers High School. Seeing my alma mater again made me feel a tad old, just a tad you know. Enjoy my little excursion through another urban neighborhood in my home town of Astoria Queens.