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Queens Blvd. at 46th Street
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd

A pedestrian was killed crossing hereThough otherwise a relatively nondescript side street, 46th Street gets alot of attention at times during the course of its three fairly short, non-contiguous runs, including 2 subway stations named for itself and the status of being pretty much the heart of Sunnyside. Though it might not look like much, this block to the south of Death Boulevard is perhaps the busiest little southside commercial strip of any north-south boulevard intersector, between Queens Plaza and 63rd Drive (Greenpoint Avenue not counted as it slants so heavily towards an east-west oritentation - What can I say; I'm trying to toot 46th Street's horn a little). Given this intersection's status as a Tier 1 killer, one might think that the springy efforts to make it look like a homey pedestrian mall, which it certainly is not, could be drawing crossers into a dangerous complacency.
For those crossing towards the south, beneath the canopy of John Rocker's favorite IRT 7 line, the backs of the infamous Pedestrian Killed signs flank their crossing, like two inscrutable Colossi of Memnon.
eastbound looking northwest
 Long before the latest public relations donnybrook involving Death Boulevard, the city closed off the center connection between 46th Streets north and south in an apparent effort to reduce accidents, so in essence, save for having to watch traffic within the covered parking area under the el, crossers get somewhat of a break between the east and westbound boulevard lanes, but again, as stated above, perhaps it lulls them into a premature state of security.
Like many of the numbered streets in this quadrant, 46th used to have a real name, Bliss. Well, it is fairly obvious that this has not been a place of bliss for those traveling by foot, but here and there, the old name lives on. The storefront with the pink canopy seen behind the gathering waiting to cross, is called Bliss Hair Salon, and I'm sure there are others I did not see yet. The subway station above (Isn't "elevated subway" an oxymoron of sorts?) only recently had Bliss dropped from the name. Like many government bureaucracies, it can be a tough sell convincing them that certain things no longer are relevant. It took a little time in this case; about 60 years give or take a few days.
west 1
 Perhaps this really belongs on the 44th-45th Street page, but I did shoot it from 46th, so what the hell. This faces west, where a ton of traffic heads for the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge. God help the foreigners who must quickly learn that each borough has its own numbered street sequences, unrelated to the others, except for the Bronx, whose numberings are at least nominally related to their Manhattan counterparts. This area was basically barren land until the elevated was put through. Just about everything seen in these photos went up after the el, which must have been quite a site upon completion, snaking its way past a whole lot of nothing.
UPDATE 2/26/2001: 63 year old Tina Ortiz was struck by a driver whose view was obstructed by a bow dangling from his rear view mirror. Although she was crossing against the light, the driver was ticketed for obstructed view. I can't stand those stupid bows. Whatever happened to fuzzy dice?
fire sceneUPDATE 6/1/2001: A massive early morning fire wiped out a Korean restaurant and neighboring Irish pub here, closing the boulevard and 7-train for a while and crippling half the city with smoke visible in Staten Island.
The devastated site as it looked two days later, 6/3.
More pages covering the fire scene follow this one.

©2001, Jeff Saltzman. All right reserved.