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