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Day 1218

Walkin’ the rails

May 1st, 2015



I crossed paths with a couple of hobos-in-training out on the tracks today.

Day 1218




Some freight trains still run on the Lower Montauk Branch, but the last trickle of passenger service dried up back in 2012.

Day 1218

Life goals

May 1st, 2015



One day this award will be mine.

Day 1218




A relevant read from Slate: "Pop Art: The brilliant redesign of the soda can tab".

And if that's not enough for you, check out this surprisingly captivating video: "The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can".

Day 1218




Forest Park may not boast a large, sanctioned dirt jump course like the ones we've seen in a couple of other parks, but it is home to at least one rogue jump tucked away among the trees.

Day 1218




This "fountain made of glacial rocks" (a bit of an overstatement) and the basketball courts behind it sit on the former site of Jackson Pond, once a popular recreational spot here in Forest Park. You can trace the progression of the site over the years using aerial photos:

  • 1924 — The pond exists in a relatively natural state.
  • 1951 — You can see the concrete shoreline that was built about ten years earlier.
  • 1996 — The pond is gone, but the concrete shoreline is still clearly visible. The pond was filled in around 1966, covered with concrete, and turned into a pond-shaped playground.
  • 2006 — Greenery! The playground was reconstructed around 2001 and is no longer a lifeless expanse of concrete. One remnant of the pond can still be seen: a short retaining wall running around most of the perimeter of the site.
The big E in the foreground of the photo above is the East part of a compass rose. Former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern must have been particularly fond of compass roses, judging by the number I've seen in parks and playgrounds built or renovated during his tenure. In between the cardinal direction tablets are other panels depicting natural scenes inhabited by little fairies.

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This Forest Park memorial pays tribute to Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Schaefer, a Richmond Hill resident who was awarded the Medal of Honor for "having repelled, almost single-handedly, a Nazi attack on American troops positioned near Stolberg, Germany" during World War II. You can read his full Medal of Honor citation here.

Day 1218




Standing at the edge of Forest Park, this monument, also known as My Buddy, honors the residents of Richmond Hill who served and died in World War I. The doughboy figure was sculpted by the Italian-born Joseph Pollia. (Pollia later produced other versions of the statue for Glen Cove and Tarrytown, New York, and Storm Lake, Iowa.) The monument's architect was William Van Alen, who would go on to design one of New York's most iconic structures, the Chrysler Building.

Day 1218

Delivering lunch

May 1st, 2015


Day 1218




Lions and foo dogs are a dime a dozen, but these cattle are a new addition to the menagerie. Given that we're in Richmond Hill, it's probably a good bet that a Hindu family lives here; there's also a pair of elephants watching over the driveway.

Day 1218




Built 1929-31

UPDATE: A few days before Thanksgiving in 2015, a mother left her newborn infant son at the church, inside an empty nativity scene that was being set up for Christmas. (No charges were filed against the woman, who was deemed to have acted within the spirit of the state's safe-haven law.) The parish priest put the incident in a positive light, saying "I think it's beautiful . . . A church is a home for those in need, and she felt, in this stable — a place where Jesus will find his home — a home for her child." Members of the church expressed interest in adopting the boy and suggested names for him. The priest said that there were "a number of people within the community that would love to see him stay with us . . . He's a member in our hearts."

Day 1218




Built around 1870, this "rare, relatively intact example of the Italianate-style villa in Queens" is now home to Once Upon A Time Inc., which runs a school and a theater company here.

Day 1218

A lot to take in

May 1st, 2015



Here's a closer look.

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Richi Rich Palace

May 1st, 2015



An Indian restaurant/banquet hall in Richmond Hill

Day 1218

Tulsi Mandir

May 1st, 2015



A recently constructed Hindu temple named for holy basil