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Queens Blvd. at 71st Ave
Looking West
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd
west 1
 Looking northwest across 71st and the boulevard, we find the Ridgewood Savings building and one of Forest Hill's many multi-story luxury apartment houses, replete with terraces and penthouses. A local Green Line bus shoots by a white Queens Surface express bus stopped at the corner. The now ubiquitous "Pedestrian Killed" sign dominates the center median.

killed sign polea pedestrian was killed crossing hereFor decades now, many numbered Avenues, Roads and even Streets across Queens have been getting 2nd names, often marked with blue signs as opposed to the official green holding the number designation. Many of these thoroughfares weren't even carved out of old farmers fields until the numbering system came into being. This is probably one reason why, with the older preexisting Avenues already numbered, other terms such as Road and Drive had to be pressed into service as former farmland was broken up into housing lots and new routes were carved into the Queens landscape. The oldest Avenues go way back into prehistory, such as 66th Avenue, which was once known as White Pot Road, and not just by the European newcomers. 71st Avenue was not unlike its fellow Avenuers in that it also had a real name once upon a time. Where it differs from all of them is that it never gave up that older name. In a rare situation that Bliss, Lowery, Fisk and White Pot could only dream about, 71st Avenue is also known by all in the city as Continental Avenue. In fact, both names actually coexist on more or less equal terms, and it is all official. Residents are just as apt to say they're going to Continental one day, while saying they're headed over to 71st the next day. Like a reversible jacket, the two names are interchangeable. Even the subway stop is called 71st/Continental Ave. The careless might think 71st is 71 Street. I suspect that Continental was retained due to influence and pressure from the exclusivistic power brokers living in nearby Forest Hills Gardens, who probably felt a nondescript numbered main drag was too mundane for their community. My suspicions are enhanced by the Garden's other main north-south route, Ascan Avenue, 4 short blocks east of Continental. Looking at a map, it becomes fairly clear that Ascan should have become 73rd Avenue.
people crossing
 Directly west from the center median, the next corner is 70th Road, another multi-killer crossing. It's gotten so bad around here that they now have "People Crossing" signs to warn motorists of the surrounding "wildlife". Of all the crazy warning signs that have been employed around this highway, this one disturbs me the most.

© 2001, Jeff Saltzman.