Continuing around the base of the peninsula, I found this carved piece of stone mixed in with all the chunks of concrete. At first I thought it might have been part of the facade of an old synagogue, but then I looked a little closer...
East of MacNeil Park in College Point, there are three neighboring residential developments built out onto a peninsula that juts into the East River. Clambering around the peninsula at water level, you encounter lots of old construction debris, like this tangle of rebar and concrete.
Chief Stack was one of the 343 members of the FDNY killed in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. While a memorial service was held for him in 2001, his family put off his funeral in the hope that some of his remains would be found and identified. But they finally decided they had waited long enough, and on June 17, 2016, the 49th anniversary of Chief Stack's marriage to his wife, Theresa, the family and the fire department held a funeral service and buried a vial of blood he had given in 2000 when he signed up as a potential bone marrow donor (not the only time a sample of blood has had to stand in for the remains of a 9/11 firefighter). As far as I can tell, it was the first funeral for a firefighter killed on 9/11 in over a decade, since Gerard Baptiste's in 2005.
(In case you're wondering, I don't count individual streets renamed for 9/11 victims as memorials in my running tally; I consider them all to be part of one citywide memorial.)
Built in 1857, this old mansion is the last substantial house from the mid-19th century still standing in College Point. It was turned into a hotel in 1892 and was divided into apartments in 1923. I'm not sure what kind of shape the place is in today, but some of the tenants said the interior was in disrepair after they were forced to vacate in 2008 because of the house's dangerously antiquated electrical wiring. The residents were allowed to return eight months later, but were still without gas for several more months while repairs continued.
Today the house is prominently and uniquely sited, standing alone on a circular traffic island. In its earlier years, it was part of a large walled estate. According to the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission:
The Schleicher House originally stood at the end of tree-lined, semi-circular drive. The rear elevation [above] faced east, toward a sloping, almost circular lawn, ringed by trees. South of the house stood a "back" house or privy, suggesting that at the time of construction the bathrooms were not served by running water. To the north of the house, from west to east, was planned a large vegetable garden with rows of fruit trees, a coach house and stable, a hen house, and duck yard. There were also asparagus beds and winding carriage paths that led to an oval pond at the northeast corner of the estate, near present-day 125th or 126th Street. At the center of the pond was a small island, reached by a bridge. Here stood a small "summer" pavilion and "back" house.
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.