USA | NYC
 


Day 2478

Still at it!

October 12th, 2018


I'm still walking and posting; I'm just working through a huge backlog of photos right now. The latest posts (below) are much more recent than they appear — the dates you see are the dates I took the pictures, not the dates I published the posts.

Day 1346

Two eras of call box lights

September 6th, 2015



Here we see an old pole-mounted fire department call box (retrofitted with call buttons for both the fire department and the police) accompanied by two different types of lights indicating that a call box is nearby.

The older, presumably nonfunctioning, light is mounted on a scrolled bracket that would have once supported an old street lamp. The newer light is the orange-pink cylinder — the thing shaped like a can of tennis balls — on top of the modern street lamp.

(To ward off potential confusion for anyone who starts inspecting street lamps more closely, I should note that you can find on just about every street lamp a shorter cylindrical thing, often colored orange, that resembles a laundry detergent cap. These have nothing to do with call boxes; they're photocells that turn the lamps on and off depending on the amount of daylight. In fact, if you look closely at the newer call box light above — or the one pictured more clearly here — you'll see that it has an orange photocell perched right on top of it.)

Day 1346

Plywood domino train wall

September 6th, 2015



The LIRR's Port Washington Branch passes by just beyond the wall.

Day 1346

Jujube tree

September 6th, 2015


Day 1346

Portal of the day

September 6th, 2015


Day 1346

Them apples

September 6th, 2015


Day 1346



Day 1346

Evergreen Community Garden

September 6th, 2015







This massive community garden (where things aren't always as peaceful as they look) has seriously come alive since I passed by in mid-April.

Day 1346






Our heedless and destructive acts enter into the vast cycles of the earth and in time return to bring hazard to ourselves.

These two neighboring playgrounds, along with the public school across the street, are named in honor of the conservationist Rachel Carson"a trained scientist with a poet's wonder" — and her groundbreaking 1962 work Silent Spring.

Man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.

Day 1346

Repurposed fan cage

September 6th, 2015



The second such gourd hammock we've seen

Day 1346

Peaches on Blossom

September 6th, 2015



This is one of three prolific peach trees growing on the north side of this block of Blossom Avenue. (Reflecting Flushing's horticultural history, this area is a cornucopia of plant-themed street names, most of them arranged in alphabetical order.)

Day 1346

High Class Steak & Shrimp

September 6th, 2015



Kane's Diner. The menu, which is mostly what you would expect from a classic diner, makes a bold claim about the potency of the food: "The Miracle of the World ----- Your Body ----- Healthy, Economical & Rejuvenation of Your Sex Life". If miraculous rejuvenation is what you're after, you may want to consider ordering the 16-ounce "Viagra" steak with three eggs.

Day 1346




Here's a better-lit look at Flushing's Pied-a-mer mural, painted on a roll-down gate at an auto repair garage.

My usual practice, after taking a photo like this with no identifying information, is to snap a quick shot of something nearby with a business name/street name/address to help me figure out where I took the photo in case my phone got the location wrong.

In this instance, the brainless shot I took next captured the awning over a door to the garage, just to the left of the mural. I didn't process what I was looking at when I snapped the picture, but it later struck me as odd when I was sitting at my computer, reviewing the day's photos: the awning says "Rodolfo Valentin" in fancy lettering that feels quite out of place at an auto shop.



Rodolfo Valentin — that name sounded familiar to me. It turns out I was thinking of Rudolph Valentino, but there is a well-known South American hairdresser in New York named Rodolfo Valentin, a specialist in wigs and extensions whom New York magazine described as "Argentina’s answer to Fabio". He looks like this. (If you need more, you can watch his 2012 New Yorker of the Week interview with NY1.)

But could that Rodolfo Valentin possibly be the same one whose name is on the garage awning? What could a high-end Manhattan hair stylist have to do with a grimy repair shop in Queens?

Hoping to make sense of all this, I figured I'd search the internet for some connection between Mr. Valentin and the garage's address. When I checked the awning for the building number, however, I realized something was off. The number on the awning is 694, but buildings in Queens have dashes in their addresses. The actual address of the garage, for example, appears to be 41-10 Fuller Place.

A search for "rodolfo valentin 694" revealed that there was, for a number of years, a Rodolfo Valentin salon located at... 694 Madison Avenue, on the Upper East Side. And if you visit that address in Street View, you'll see that the salon's signage featured the same cursive font that we find on the awning here at the garage.

There was even a period around 2010-2011 when the salon's color scheme matched the awning. (You may notice that the sign above the door during this era gave an address of 696, not 694. While the entrance to the salon was at 694 Madison Avenue, the salon itself occupied the connected second floors of both the 694 and 696 buidings.)

But there's no photographic evidence I could find of an awning in place at the salon. All the Street View photos through the years just show a flat sign above the door. (The salon that previously occupied the space did have an awning, however.)

It would seem, then, that the awning either was never actually installed at the salon or was used for a relatively short period of time and went unseen by the Street View car. Whatever the case, we're still left wondering how the thing ended up here in Flushing.

Let's now take a Street View visit to the repair shop. Glancing around, you'll see that the garage stands among a cluster of other blue-collar businesses in an area I described in a previous post as "a hotbed of Queens chrome". When I looked back at that post, I noticed something: the Queens chrome shop pictured in the post advertises that it also makes signs and awnings. Using Street View, I was then able to find a few other awning-makers within a block or two of the garage.

So here's a theory. Back in 2009 or 2010, during the process of relocating from 1020 Madison Avenue to 694 Madison, Rodolfo's salon contacted one of the businesses near the garage and ordered an awning to replace the one used by the previous tenant. But for one reason or another (Rodolfo decided he preferred an uncovered entrance, there was some dispute over quality or payment), the salon never took possession of the awning.

Meanwhile, the owner of the garage wanted somewhere to smoke a cigarette when it was raining outside. A sign shop around the corner, which gets its trucks serviced at the garage, had this extra awning that some prettyboy Madison Avenue hairsmith didn't want, and so a deal was struck. And now we have a Rodolfo Valentin-branded smoke shelter outside a grease monkey's cinderblock shanty in this obscure corner of Flushing.

Day 1346

132-49½

September 6th, 2015





The odd little house at 132-49½ 41st Avenue, which sits directly behind a larger brick building and backs up to the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch (you can see the platforms of the line's Flushing-Main Street station in the background above), is accessible only via a narrow walkway from 41st Avenue.

The house was concealed from the view of passersby for the vast majority of its life, until the two houses that stood to its east — on what is now the empty lot pictured above — were demolished in 2012 or 2013.

UPDATE: The aforementioned empty lot is empty no longer. A Street View image from October 2017 shows a new six-story apartment building nearing completion on the site, making 132-49½ invisible from the street once again.

Day 1346

Today’s route — 11.4 miles

September 6th, 2015