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Queens Blvd. at Albion Ave
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd
A pedestrian was killed crossing here Ah, perfidious Albion! As if it knew I'd be writing Albion's epitaph this night of April 2nd, 2001, Queens Boulevard found a way to serve up its latest victim on a silver platter, or maybe it would be better described as a chrome plated platter. That platter was the right side rear view mirror of a tour bus heading westbound, that struck a wayward jogger, one Nicholas Sczesnik, in the head right here and left him, as of this writing, on life support. In interviews with friends and neighbors, the injured jogger was described as a wonderful guy, but the immediate witnesses to the accident probably came away with a different perspective. Only seconds before being struck by the mirror as the bus passed him, according to the report in April 2nd's Daily News, Sczesnik was seen flipping the bird to a cabbie who had honked at him in an effort to get him to move off the roadway, where he was observed meandering into the center of the three service lanes as he jogged, apparently oblivious to the danger he was creating, a set of headphones covering his ears. The bus driver was not charged or given any summons, and has expressed proper concern since for the Sczesnik's condition. If the witnesses are to be believed, and they certainly had no reason to lie, then the sad bottom line truth is that Mr. Sczesnik was somewhat devoid of common sense, to put it the most benignly. My sympathy lies more with the traumatized bus driver, and the poor flipped off cabbie, who has to now wonder if he should have just left well enough alone, and not tried to honk some badly absent common sense into the victim's head. As for Sczesnik, if he recovers, I would hope he'd undertake a speaking tour to exhort other 21-somethings and under not to do what he did and show at least a modicum of respect for a foul tempered 12 lane highway and the megaton vehicles that rumble over it every split second.
 For tourists residing in the Pan American Hotel across the way, this accidenyt was a made to order slice of Death Boulevard life, if you view the boulevard's specialty as a tourist draw in and of itself. I'm sure nobody witnessing the scene was in much of a mood to stop into Burger King afterward. Now, Albion already ranks as a Tier 2 killer, as evidenced by the giant "Be Alert" signs. Should the jinxed jogger not make it, a changing of the guard might be in the wings, and a couple of freshly minted "Pedestrian Killed" slates could be on their way to this intersection.
 UPDATE 4/32001: Early today, Nicholas Sczesnik succumbed to his injuries and became the 74th death attributed to Death Boulevard since 1993.

©2001, Jeff Saltzman. All right reserved.