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BQE Gowanus through the 40's
Photo Gallery: Brooklyn Queens Expwy.

in mid 40's
  The Gowanus barrels through the Bush Terminal/Industry City zone at the northern end of Sunset Park. The Gowanus (nobody local ever refers to it as the BQE) was built upon the supports of an ancient elevated subway line that used to run over 3rd Avenue. Needless to say, as gloomy as a street may be beneath an el, it is far gloomier under a 4, later 6, lane highway. 3rd Avenue gradually became as wide and choked with truck traffic, as it was gloomy. Prostitues and strip joints replaced neighborhood stores. The anihilation of the neighborhood is detailed in Robert Caro's "The Power Broker". Despite the potentially lovely park, with a fantastic view, that gives the neighborhood it's name, Sunset Park continues to struggle to this day, with the typical burdens of most poor areas.
near 38th st
 The 38th Street exit and it's southbound 39th Street counterpart, are easily two of the worst exits in highway history. They jut out at 90 degree angles to the highway and touch down awkwardly. The bottom of the 39th Street ramp is especially confusing, with an unfamiliar motorist likely to go nuts figuring out for whom the traffic lights beckon. The blue sign on the overhead sign holder urges motorists to tune in for the latest and greatest in traffic reports, not like any of them have any practical alternatives at this point, if they find themselves stuck in typical No-Go-wanus traffic hell. 38th Street sure doesn't promise much in the way of getting into Manhattan. One proposal being bandied about has a 50 block long tunnel, located a block west, replacing this whole mess.  Shot 1/99.

© 1999, Jeff Saltzman.