USA | NYC
 


Day 1632

Still at it!

June 18th, 2016

I'm still walking and regularly posting — I'm just working through a big backlog of photos right now. See below for the latest posts. (The dates on the posts are the dates I took the pictures.)

Day 1241

Erewhon Mall

May 24th, 2015



This little triangle of parkland takes its name from Samuel Butler's 1872 novel Erewhon: or, Over the Range. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Butler's imaginary land of Erewhon

at first seems utopian in its disregard for money—which lends status but has no purchasing value—and machines—which have been outlawed as dangerous competitors in the struggle for existence. Erewhon has also declared disease a crime for which the sick are imprisoned, and crime is considered a disease for which criminals are sent to the hospital. As the unnamed narrator further examines the institutions of Erewhon, his illusions of utopia and eternal progress are stripped away.
You may be wondering what connection this sparsely planted wedge of concrete could possibly have to Erewhon. I've learned that a good first step in trying to decipher a park name is to look at a map, because former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern often used the names of adjacent streets as inspiration for park names. And that appears to be exactly what he did here, as the street on the west side of Erewhon Mall is Utopia Parkway. In an article titled "Erewhon and the End of Utopian Humanism" in the journal ELH, Sue Zemka says that Erewhon was
written with Sir Thomas More's Utopia in mind. More combined two words to coin his seminal neologism: "eutopos," which means the good place, and "outopos," the place which is nowhere. "Erewhon" is "nowhere" misspelled backwards, the soft vowel beginning of "eutopia" thus recalled in a word which, like "utopia," also inscribes its negation.

Day 1241

Golden chain flowers

May 24th, 2015



A laburnum in bloom, somewhat past its peak

Day 1241

’54 Chevy Bel Air

May 24th, 2015


Day 1241

Telephone to Call Police

May 24th, 2015



The thing beneath the street sign was once a light-up police call box sign.

Day 1241

A meeting of the Meadows

May 24th, 2015



Pidgeon Meadow Road and Fresh Meadow Lane, marked with some homemade-looking street signs

Day 1241

Deceptively forested

May 24th, 2015



The dense vegetation conceals the fact that this is a very narrow sliver of woodland, with Kissena Golf Course to the left and a Department of Environmental Protection storage yard to the right. Here's an aerial view.

Day 1241


Day 1240

I am not your signpost

May 23rd, 2015


Day 1240

Churchagogue of the day

May 23rd, 2015



Fresh Anointing International Church, the former Conservative Synagogue of Jamaica Estates

Day 1240

And another Arrestolarm!

May 23rd, 2015



This one is also located in Jamaica Estates, just a couple of blocks away from the previous one.

Day 1240

Another Arrestolarm

May 23rd, 2015



Gamewell (awesome logo) was the dominant manufacturer of fire call boxes in the US, but it's quite rare to spot one of the company's boxes here in NYC. Within the city, they're apparently found in just a few Queens neighborhoods. This one in Jamaica Estates is only the second that I've noticed, and the first intact one: the other was retrofitted with a modern fire/police button unit.

The cylindrical thing on top is a mechanical Arrestolarm, which would have blasted a "loud and distinctive warning shriek" whenever the box was triggered. This was intended to discourage pranksters from setting off false alarms by drawing immediate attention to anyone reporting a fire, like the hastily robed young woman below.

 

Day 1240




Located in the well-to-do neighborhood of Jamaica Estates, this old Jamaica Water Supply Company pumping station was apparently intended to look more architecturally refined than its brethren in other parts of southeastern Queens.

Day 1240

One after another

May 23rd, 2015



A block full of purple-leaf plum trees

Day 1240

Harvard Playground

May 23rd, 2015



According to the Parks Department: "This playground takes its name from Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States."

Why would a playground in Queens be named for Harvard University? I suspect it was not actually named for the university, but rather for Harvard Avenue, the former name of the street on which the playground is located. (It was changed to 179th Place in 1919.)