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Queens Blvd. at Queens Center
Photo Gallery: Queens Blvd

Death Blvd

signPlanning on meeting anyone at Queens Boulevard and 58th Avenue? Good luck finding one another, because that intersection exists only in the imagination of this sign. Then again, if we want to nitpick, 58th Avenue should run through the center of the Queens Center shopping mall to the left, so you could meet up by the escalators. Between the long ago supplanted 58th Avenue and the still trucking 59th Avenue one block east, there used to be a small amusement park called Fairy Land. These days, with the changing of our language and culture, it could not do business under such a name unless its customer base was something far different than preschool children. These days the space is filled by Macy's mall rival JC Penney. As of this writing, 2/17/2001, JC Penney is not doing well. It is one of several high profile business icons and giants looking the dustbin of history in the eye, along with Xerox, and one of my worst ever investments - Lucent Technologies, suddenly reduced to junk status with its CEO threatening recalcitrant lenders with default. Old, new and in-the-middle economy stocks all, but the whims of luck and fortune doesn't seem to discriminate these days.At the corner of 59th stands a McDonalds. If Mad Cow Disease gets any worse, which it certainly will, look for them to also careen into the dustheap, along with every agri-business dependent on the livestock industry.
Taking in the wider view, the newer outer lanes of the westbound Long Island Expressway pass overhead in the background, while the express lanes of eastbound Queens Boulevard descend into their three block stretch of limited access highway heaven, where the killer thoroughfare escapes the pedestrians and dreams of fulfilling its aborted aspirations of joining the LIE as a superhighway. The already tortoisish 30 MPH is now under heavy artillery assault and likely to go lower, due to the hue and cry about Death Blvd's dangers.
The two most typical lamppost/mastarm combos found along Death Blvd stand back to back here, the hexpole quarterloop and the classic, grooved aluminum SLECO stanchion bearing its famed bigloop mast. The two do not seem to like one another; they appear to be snubbing each other.
59th Avenue metamorphisizes into perhaps the second most dangerous boulevard in Queens as it crosses onto the brickfaced 1930's era overpass - Woodhaven Blvd, which itself becomes yet another unfortunate high profile sub-highway, Cross Bay Blvd of Howard Beach infamy, before crossing Jamaica Bay into the Rockaways.

© 2001, Jeff Saltzman.