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Van Wyck Expwy North from Belt to Rockaway Blvd.
Photo Gallery: Van Wyck Expwy.

approaching 133rd av
We've survived the big Belt overpass bump and are careening towards the relatively new 133rd Ave. overpass, which was rebuilt when this section was widened with the purpose of better handling the merging traffic from the westbound Belt Pkwy. and Nassau Expwy. Did I say westbound Nassau? Yes I did. East of the VW, more or less, whether it looks like it does or not, the Nassau Expwy does indeed go west young man. The refugees from the two other highways have been relegated to the outer lanes all the way to the right, behind the concrete barrier to the right of the Thornton Delivery truck. Anyone getting fragile or glass merchandise from this truck would be well advised to check it carefully, because that truck went over that big bump just before this point. Some of the traffic in the rightmost lanes are VW legacies who opted to go that way after passing under the Nassau way back when in the BB (before bump) era. In addition to being the way station for the other highways' refuse, those outer lanes funnel JFK and eastbound Nassau expats into the off ramp for Rockaway Blvd, though why anyone would want to go there unless their life depended on it is beyond me. The rightmost of the 3 main lanes will end before the overpass is reached.
past 130th ave
Those heading for Rockaway Blvd, which crosses over us up ahead where the yellow schoolbus is, have already gotten off via the rightside lanes, which will shortly merge with the 2 main northbound lanes. Now that we've gotten all this highway stuff out of the way, I can feel free to discuss my other passion. The most prominent lamppost in the center median is one of only four or so remaining of its type on the VW. It originally held Whitestone style crossarms dating from the early 50's. When mercury vapor luminaires were installed in the 1970's, the infamous quarterloop uplift masts were jerry-rigged to the cylindrical poles along with them. The brackets necessary to secure these masts, normally fitted to hex poles, to rounded standards are quite unsightly to say the least, but when even ugly things become aged, rare and endangered, one tends to forgive their drawbacks and seek to preserve them. Just as the Whitestones in their glory days gave the VW some personality, the quarterloop masts kept up the tradition, since the VW was one of the very rare expressway routes to have those masts. Most highways ended the 70's bedecked in SLECO "Bigloops", like the single masted example in the center median following the q-looped 'Stone. The survival of these poles is in grave doubt now, since a monstrously massive reconstruction job is already underway that will totally transform this highway into another being altogether. That project is the imminent building of the Skytrain elevated railsystem connecting JFK with Jamaica Station. Those orange pylons visible against the concrete barrier are related to that work.

© 1999, Jeff Saltzman. All rights reserved.