Just leaving Yellowstone and stepping back into
the forest, heading south for Metropolitan Avenue. How many of
you realize that the baseball team you know as the Mets, are
really the Metropolitans? Metropolitan Avenue is another old timer trailway, long preceding the general New York City grid.
It runs a mighty long way, from just a few feet shy of the Van Wyck Expressway and Jamaica Avenue west to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Metropolitan was a great old source of List entries. My buddies and I spent most of the 1970's putting things "on the list" as it were. The List was anything that either annoyed us, shocked us, appeared funny, stupid, or amazing. Things got on the List for all reasons, good and bad. Soon, we were giving listed things ratings, and held end-of-the-year playoffs to see what would be The Thing of the Year. We still put things on the List. The ratings eventually got out of hand to the point where the highest rating you could get was to be made your own list and have other things put on you. What can I say - you had to be there, or were fortunate not to be. The Dead Tracks were very big on the List.
Metropolitan Avenue added such goodies as the ancient, archaic Cinemart Theater near Continental Avenue,
which way back when was managed by a bird-like woman in a beehive hairdo and eye makeup that made her look like the cardinal on the helmets of the NFL Cardinals
football team. It also hosted the Arion Theater, another List biggie on the other side of Woodhaven Boulevard in Middle Village, where we first watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1977,
and got to witness a free-for-all gang rumble across the street where someone was thrown through a plate glass storefront.
When we were still rather small, my best friend and I walked down Metropolitan Avenue to the Interboro Parkway (Since renamed the Jackie Robinson Parkway), saw a directional sign referring to Brooklyn and thought we'd walked all the way to Brooklyn. it was a long time until we were disabused of the dubious achievement. Metropolitan also had a funny Bohacks supermarket, and yes it was on the list, but the reasons why are now lost in the fog of early senility. Such are my memories of Metsie the Avenue, but more on it another time. By the way, getting back to list-worthy flora at hand, if anyone wants to know where the Brazilian rain forests went, at least one of them immigrated up here.
It is on this stretch of the Dead that one must
do a little more looking at the ground, because pretty soon,
the ground will suddenly start not being there. It is amazing
how the shadows in a forest can make it literally nighttime a foot
to your left and daytime a foot to your right.
I was just getting comfortable with what I figured was a clear straightaway when the found myself having to detour through and around various wash-outs where the ground beneath the tracks had eroded, leaving the track rails perilously suspended in mid-air, and the unwary hiker suspended on their backs. Perhaps to honor the Forest Hills neighborhood this section bordered, the Dead Tracks have affected their own mini-me forest hills of up and down wash-outs.
As I revise this page in 2004, the irony strikes me of how we have a businessman, Michael Bloomberg, as mayor, yet nobody in city government has the business sense to run a little amusement park type train through this jungle, call it Jungle Land or something kitschy, charge a few bucks a ride and rake in the dough. what with the washouts and whatnot, it would have thrills as well as spellbinding scenery, and would serve an educational purpose for the kiddies as well, though exactly what it would teach them is open for debate.