It was one gorgeous sunny day last Saturday and I took myself over to Long Island City to continue documenting its astounding transformation from a small neglected residential and manufacturing neighborhood of Queens, to a shining new twenty-first century mega city whose skyline someday will rival that of its sister city in Manhattan.
I’ve developed a real love hate relationship with these changes; one part of the hate is that rents and mortgages all over LIC and Astoria have sky rocketed to levels never before seen and, the love? Well, it is the excitement of new beginnings in a new era in contrast with the old, from a photographers standpoint.
I started my walk at Queensboro Plaza in the Dutch Kills section, where most of the time I’m seeing LIC from an elevated view as I travel via the N/W line to and from work taking images with my phone, through the dirty grimy windows, which add a fantastic urban texture to them.
But, standing on the sidewalks and looking up, the feeling of being in the middle of a lofty glass and steel forest is overwhelming. The moniker “Skyscraper” seems out of place as these new buildings with their razor’s edge angles, folds and points seem to slice the sky, which bleeds blue.
I then caught the # 7 and took it one stop to Court House Square, where the old 5pointz building used to stand, and where I spent many happy hours creating images from the most incredible and unforgettable Graffiti, or aerosol art, that completely covered the building inside and out. Alas, it has been torn down and (no surprise here) a new building or two buildings actually, called the 5Pointz Towers, are being erected in its place. Did not feel the awe here, just the regret for the demise of a real urban art treasure.
I played for a bit beneath the #7’s elevated tracks; a static urban landscape, full of light and shadows and the remnants of bygone days, then walked over to Jackson Avenue for a few shots, making my way to the Court Square Park and its gorgeous fountain augmenting the shimmering blue Citicorp Building.
I stopped for lunch at one of my fav eating establishments, the Court Square Diner and afterwards walked over to the Hunter’s Point Historic District -23rd Street and 45th Avenue. This block, once known as “White Collar Row” because of the many wealthy bankers that had lived there, is lined with trees, flowers and beautiful 1890’s red brick and white stucco row houses with doors painted blue, red or fuchsia. They have high arched windows and wonderful long inviting stoops, where as a kid I would have spent many happy hours with my girlfriends sprawled on these steps playing with our Barbie dolls.
Of course I had to pay a visit to the old school P.S. 1, one of many citywide public schools built in the last century and now living a new life as MoMa PS 1; an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art. It’s more photogenic side is on 21st Street where I captured its crimson façade through the green trees against a back drop of vivid blue sky.
My photographic walk ended on the #7 platform where I took a few shots of the trains coming and going before boarding and heading back to good Old Astoria.
Put on your comfy shoes, click on any image to be taken to a slide show, and enjoy the walk.