99th Street cuts away from the boulevard
at an angle perpendicular to that of the Avenue-Road-Drives.
The street series themselves are not immune to multiple listings
using the same number. Wherever a new street had to be carved
between two back-to-back numbers, a second or third term was
employed, just like with the Roads and Drives when more avenues
had to be plowed through. With the streets, the other terms often
used are Place and Lane. Unlike the Avenue system, wher Roads
and Drives can be significant thoroughfares, occasionally eclipsing
Avenues of the same number in importance, as with 63rd Drive,
you almost never find a Place, let alone a Lane, that even runs
more than a couple of blocks, let alone achieving any importance.
One glaring exception is 65th Place in Woodside. 99th Street
runs down the Forested Hills until it is upended by the Long
Island Expressway. It doesn't give up easily, however, forcing
the expressway to at least accomodate its pedestrians via a huge,
complex walkbridge. It then continues on past the eastern edge
of LeFrak City into Corona.
No pedestrian crossings at Death Boulevard, however. This is
one spot where no crosswalks or traffic signals have ever been
installed. The Tower Diner at the corner used to be an Emigrant
Directly across from 99th, the southside
of Queens Blvd. is actually between blocks, halfway between 66th
and 67th Avenues. Only one store in this row of taxpayers dates
from my childhood; JayDee Bakery. These stores suffered at least
two firestorms during my childhood; both starting in a deli that
no longer exists, much to the relief of the other businesses
I'm sure. The TradeLand supermarket at the far end was an Associated
Market for decades. My mother always shopped there and I remember
the cashier "ringing" up the totals on the paper bags.
I still visualize the stacks of AlphaBits cereal and HO Oatmeal.
It was also in that store that I first became aware of when the
cereal makers shrank the sizes of their cereal packages. Wiseguys!
They didn't think a six year old would notice such things, did
they? Hey, at that age, AlphaBits was a serious business. The
two apartment houses flanking the stores were sort of twins,
with subtle differences. They were of a generation from the 1940s
where for a time it was the fashion to have double/triple windows
at the corner edges. They also featured the wierd combination
of both casement and double hung windows; a dubious fashion statement
that had roots in the art deco houses of the Bronx. Even little
pisher buildings like the three story ten family condo I lived
in on 64th Road, shared this awkward, quirky design. As window
replacements became de riguer for many Queens buildings in the
1970s and 80s, most casements bit the dust, with double hungs
finally ousting their competition for keeps.
Like most streets hitting Queens
Blvd at a bad angle, 99th shares the experience with an avenue
type running off in the other direction. 99th's guest at the
party is 66th Road. On the eastern corner stands the Fleet Bank,
which used to be National Westminster which liked to be called
NatWest and which used to be Bank of North America before that,
throughout the years of my childhood. Rite Aid has come in, gobbling
up seven of that unique 1940s era building's storefronts.
Lastly, looking east, the next corner
is 67th Avenue, the spot where Sofia Leviyev lost her life in
November 2000. Visible just beyond the westbound SUV in the center
lane is her flowery, balloon laden memorial, secured to a median
© 2001, Jeff Saltzman.