Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Queens Blvd. at 57th Ave
Elmhurst - North
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd

a pedestrian was killed crossing hereAbove us, two shots of nearly the same thing, but not quite. We're looking north up 57th Avenue as it slashes across Death Boulevard at a precarious angle. The wild cut is made all the more dangerous by the three institutions that draw heavily on youth; the Queens Center Mall on the right, White Castle on the left and the Elmhurst theater unseen behind us. The first shot better shows the measures taken recently to keep motorists and pedestrians apart from one another, and to force those in turning lanes to actually turn instead of bulling ahead. The Mobil station taking up the triangular plaza between Queens Boulevard and the little breakaway road, Hoffman Drive, only adds to the danger, as pedestrians have to watch out for vehicles cutting in and out of it, and even through it to beat lights and turning restrictions. Motorists coming south on 57th can't even turn onto the boulevard eastbound anymore. They are forced onto the woefully inadequate Hoffman Drive, where they are further forced to go way out of the way down Woodhaven Boulevard before they've any opportunity to turn back around for Queens Blvd. What great brain devised that solution I don't know. Northbounders on the other hand, can only go onto Queens Boulevard East.
Despite all the warnings, at least one high stepping pedestrian fails to get it, jaywalking against the light in the forced turn lane. Even the Mobil station's own lamppost has suffered a hit at one time. Note the additional lane barriers masked in the previous shot by the turning car. Hoffman Drive is an interesting oddity. Queens Boulevard, of course, was originally called Hoffman Road, and this tiny sliver of Hoffmanology that feeds a block away into Woodhaven Boulevard, and probably once skirted through or around Slattery Plaza to Eliot Avenue before the Long Island Expressway came through, is like a living fossil and ever present reminder of Queens Boulevard's ancient origins. It can be likened to the remaining sliver of Malbone Street in Flatbush that cuts off of present day Empire Boulevard, which was once for much of its length, the one and only Malbone Street, or the last surviving stretch of Nassau Blvd in Little Neck, after the rest of it became first Horace Harding and then the LIE. The Elmhurst theater fronts on Hoffman Drive and a park and playground sit at its Woodhaven terminus.

© 2001, Jeff Saltzman. All rights reserved.