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Van Wyck Expwy South to Foch Boulevard - June 2001
Photo Gallery: Van Wyck Expwy.

keep right 1
keep right 2
The Airtrain seems to have sunk as we hurtle past 116th Avenue towards Foch Boulevard. Actually, the Van Wyck rises over a hump at this point, while the Airtrain has remained more or less level, so Airtrainers will likely get a close view of the goings on below at this juncture. We have a handy dandy temporary digital sign to the right. I understand what Belt means, but have no clue as to what the WB stands for. The WB network? The Whitestone Bridge? But that's in the opposite direction, from which we've come. Workboots? Who knows? WAIT A MINUTE! West Bound! That's it!

The Van Wyck dips down again to make it beneath Foch Boulevard, so the Airtrain stanchions are once again scraping the sky. The exit for Rockaway Boulevard comes up quickly after Foch.
I loved Foch Boulevard as a little kid because I thought it was pronounced like the F word. Given the level of dislike between France and the USA at times, it might as well have been. Somehow, Marshal Foch escaped the antipathy felt for such other hardline and Anti-American French martial heroes and nationalists, like Petain, DeGaulle and Clemenceau, the bristling old Tiger of France for whom Foch commanded their WWI armies. Indeed, Foch commanded OUR WWI armies; probably the only non-American ever to do so. For that, he was given a boulevard in South Jamaica.
Why wasn't it called Foch Avenue, since most Boulevards run parallel to the Streets? Perhaps it had something to do with American perceptions of grand old French gentlemen; the suave, debonair Maurice Chevalier boulevardier image, and all that. Who knows. Maybe Foch himself requested the designation, since boulevards are kind of the generals of sidestreets, whereas avenues are mere non-commissioned officers. Foch was supposed to be the eastbound jumpoff point for the never built Van Wyck subway. Further to the east, around Merrick Avenue, the tracks were to veer off onto 120th Avenue for their final run to Springfield Boulevard, on the St. Albans/Cambria Heights border.

© 2001, Jeff Saltzman. All rights reserved.