William Kornblum, professor of sociology at CUNY’s Graduate Center and author of At Sea in the City :
New York from the Water’s Edge and numerous sociology titles spoke at City Tech on April 29th. When I told him a little about this project, he suggested I go to the back side of Kennedy airport. So I did.
I took the LIRR to Cedarhurst. There is a lovely park by the train station and a nice small town atmosphere. As I walked out to Rockaway Turnpike, the constant flow of landing planes began to jangle my nerves. It doesn’t stop. About every three minutes, another plane flies overhead. Once I turned onto Rockaway Turnpike, the deafening sound of cars and trucks joined the sound of the planes. Overpeck and Weiss’s map predicts that both sides of Rockaway Turnpike north of Peninsula Blvd. will experience flooding.
I walked by this deserted Toyota dealership.
I turned down the a little street called Reyem Drive thinking there might be a view of the water that snakes through the area. Out of the last house on this street came an older white man who wanted to save my soul. His preaching was very insistent. My intuition told me to leave as quickly as possible. I didn’t even try to take his picture. Maybe it was the noise that had driven him crazy. Or maybe it was making me paranoid.
I turned down East Avenue which runs by an unmarked tank farm. My guess is that this is storage for JFK.
The other half of this little peninsula is occupied by the residential community Meadowmere Park. The homes are well kept and except for the booming planes and the lack of a sidewalk, the neighborhood is an oasis.
There is a footbridge that leads from this Nassau county neighborhood to a small triangle of Queens bounded by water on the west and by Rockaway Boulevard on the east. Kevin Walsh has a great post about this area and the bridge on Forgotten-NY.com.
Once you cross the footbridge, you are in Queens and a different planet. There are a few well kept homes and as I walked through there was a man working on his lawn. Right off the bridge is this home with its yard filled with trash.
Next door, a house had been moved to this spot.
At the junction of 1st and 3rd was an informal bait shop. I assume that the shop was operating with a license and the men were not friendly.
This was the last house on the street closest to Rockaway Blvd.
Back on Rockaway Blvd., there is a a range of big box stores and other chains with a few independents like Kas Carpet.
From the Costco parking lot, there is a great view of the tank farm across the way. You can also see a cement factory off to the left. There were a number of men fishing from the parking lot and this man was washing his car.
Walking back to the Cedarhurst train station, I longed to be away from the planes. Later in the week, a report on noise pollution on NPR caught my attention. After spending an afternoon in Lawrence and Rosedale, I believed every word of the report that linked noise pollution to a shorter life.