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Queens High Line

The Queens High Line

I sometimes grieve the passing of the The High Line in its previous incarnation—that mysterious, deteriorating, weed-infested railroad that I never explored before its current incarnation——as I sort of grieve what’s its become: a tourist-and-locals-infested pathway. I admit I love the wondrous Piet Oudolf-curated wild-flowers and native plants, and I am thankful that the original plans to demolish The High Line were thwarted. So, I was thrilled to discover an equally-mysterious and still-deteriorating Queens version at the corner of Kessel Street and Yellowstone Boulevard.

Behold our post-apocalyptic city—weeds and trees inheriting this fragility we call New York City.

Rust, shadows, the way the abandoned deck plate girder bridge (thank you, bridgehunter.com) slashes Yellowstone Boulevard.

Fortunately, I was able to climb the embankment and examine the abandoned tracks, confirming what local residents have long complained about: a garbage-strewn haven for drug addicts and perhaps others who’ve been afflicted with mental illness (where are those safe-injection sites you proposed in 2018, Mayor de Blasio???).

To rejuvenate, activists are pushing the Queensway Project--https://www.tpl.org/our-work/queensway-project—something we can all support. From their website:

The QueensWay will transform a 3.5-mile stretch of long-abandoned rail line into an elevated pedestrian and bicycle pathway connecting the communities of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Glendale, Woodhaven, and Ozone Park.

In the works since at least 2014, the plan hasn’t seen much progress, but take a few minutes to watch the video.


In the meantime, residents have made something of the area

Across the street is Project Eden, a community garden that opened in 1992. I love community gardens because they are unkempt (as opposed to, say, the Conservatory Garden in Central Park), reflecting the cooperation, the zeal, and chaos of those who plant and weed.

Thirsty from my ride, I bought a bottle of water from a local Chinese takeout, where a staffer gave me permission to photograph these cartoons, presumably from the owners’ kids. Made my day.

Further down, at the intersection of Wyckoff Avenue and Cooper Avenue, a paused train car carried containers painted in greens so lovely I almost swooned.

Nearby is Nowadays, another hip young persons hot spot—read: food, performance, drinks—I didn’t know about. Went inside—the gate was open—wandering past attractive bars, food-serving outlets, connected by trees and pathway, until two young women told me to scram.

And finally Drumm Triangle, 65th Place and Cooper Avenue, one of those tiny unheralded parks that dot the boroughs, influencing, in ways unseen, the fate of many lives. The two times I stopped here, a few solitary souls were resting, smoking, thinking. The park is named after John Wesley Drumm, whose 37-year career as a public school principal began in 1893.

The Queens High Line

Yellowstone Boulevard and Kessel Street

Forest Hills

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