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Queens Blvd. at 67th Ave
The Jaywalkers
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd
west 1
a pedestrian was killed crossing hereBy late February 2001, the Boulevard of Death had become so notorious and the police crackdown on EVERY traffic violator, from illegally parked cars to jaywalkers, had been so well and loudly publicized, that you'd think these two youts (to paraphrase Joe Pesci) would have just a tiny bit more sense than to not only jaywalk across Death Blvd, not only to do so against the lights and in the center of the block, but to do so right out in the open, smack dab in front of a marked patrol car sitting right there in front of their faces for just this purpose; to stop jaywalkers.
If that wasn't enough, they weren't even looking in the direction of the traffic heading west towards them. Of course, this was shot the moment the cops beeped them with a blast of their whoop-whoop siren, and the previous traffic light, behind me at 67th Avenue had probably turned red, effectively stopping any flow of danger their way.
west 2
The cops, probably weary from a long day of such activity, and perhaps having already met their ticket quota, or well exceeded it, did the two a dubious favor and let them off with a warning, and brusque orders to cross at the corner. I caught their faces pretty good as they passed me on the island; they were actually pissed at being stopped, like it was a big nuisance to them. They probably weren't too overjoyed at having the episode captured for posterity either.
And there they go, dutifully if reluctantly crossing with the walk signal, right past the flowery memorial maintained for 14-year-old Sofia Leviyev, who was run down right there back in November of 2000. You think these two gave either the tribute, or the girl's death a second thought as they walked over the last patch of earth trod by her, and heading for the last things Sofia would have likely seen before before her life was destroyed? Are they even aware of what took place there?

© 2001, Jeff Saltzman.