Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch

On Sunday my dude and I made the trek out to Queens to take advantage of the beautiful weather and hike through Forest Park. Neither of us had been through the park before, but I had heard that it was a great place to see the fall leaves. The leaves are definitely past their peak—one that wasn't great this year anyway—but we had an excellent day and the park did not disappoint.

Almost immediately upon entering the park we quite unexpectedly stumbled upon abandoned tracks running through the woods, and I was beside myself with joy. I thought they were subway tracks due to the configuration (they have a covered third rail), but they belonged to the Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad, and were abandoned when the LIRR went bankrupt in 1962.

The tracks are visible from a main park trail, and accessible by climbing down a slight embankment. We climbed down near an overpass that is covered in colorful graffiti and the ground was littered with spray paint cans. It didn't necessarily feel as if we shouldn't be walking around the tracks, but we did eventually come to the edge of the park and were stopped by a fence and some gnarly-looking razor wire.

The tracks actually look to be in pretty good shape for being exposed to the elements for more than 50 years. Some stretches seem as if a train could pass by any moment until you realize that there are very large trees sprouting up from in between the rails. Apparently there have been plans to turn this abandoned line into a park à la the High Line, which neighboring communities don't seem to be too into. I'm all for revitalization and preservation, but I don't think that every single thing in this city needs to be shiny and new. I love that these tracks are abandoned, but accessible, decaying but not excessively dangerous, a glimpse into the past—or our dystopian future—and a really great place to take a Sunday stroll.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Canstruction 2015

Last year my mom and I went to see the results of the Canstruction contest on a whim, but it was surprisingly fun, so we went back to see this year's entries. Canstruction is a national contest whose purpose is to raise awareness about hunger, and all canned goods used to create the sculptures are donated to local food banks.

We both agreed that last year's contest produced better results, but there were still some interesting creations this year. There was the inevitable Trump appearance (with the Democratic side featuring... CAN-ye West?), two sculptures featuring Yoshi, a Golden Gate bridge made from spaghetti boxes over a bay of sea salt (cute), a rocket ship, bat signal, dragon, boxing turtle (?), Harold and the Purple Cans (aw), an eyeball, the WashingCAN monument (groan), a butterfly, PacMan and a Cookie Monster made primarily of tuna (ew).

The best of the bunch included an homage to Bugs Bunny, complete with carrot, a charging bull and Magic 8-Ball (which I overheard someone call "a hand holding a world," - sorry, try again). My very favorite was a dual subway scene, featuring the dreaded manspread on one side, and a person demonstrating proper bag-holding procedure on the other. Its accompanying sign said that courtesy is "CANtagious." We overheard a little boy interpreting the scene as "someone sitting on a toilet"—a more accurate description of the New York subway experience, there isn't.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Project 365: Days 310-316

310/365: I had to see a doctor, and their office is right on Gramercy Park. I resisted the urge to ask if they had use of a key, but I did stop to admire the beautiful leaves near Calvary Church.

311/365: We walked to Prospect Park and passed my favorite flower shop sign and the beautifully gloomy Green-Wood cemetery.

312/365: Another beautiful cemetery in the fall—Jim and I finally got into Woodlawn.

313/365: A thing I helped illustrate at work was printed, featuring this cool dude.

314/365: I'll be so sad when it's no longer Honeycrisp (or, Honeycriap) season.

315/365: Made a special dinner for a special dude.

316/365: Spent two days at work obsessed with Shia LaBeouf and #allmymovies. As Francesca said "I'm trying to not be sad that it's over, but happy that it happened at all."