23 September 2008

Queens For A Day, Part 1

In an ideal world, I would re-visit my old neighborhood in Woodhaven, Queens, where I moved to after a few years living in the cramped apartment in Elmhurst. It was our first time living in a family house, I liked it so much I went to some local T-shirt store and bought a shirt that read "I Love Woodhaven". Well, the world is not perfect and I instead found myself re-visiting Long Island City, Queens and its neighbor Astoria. After Woodhaven, we spent a year in crime-ridden Bushwick, Brooklyn, then stayed in L.I.C. for about ten years. Here are some photos from my excursion to the northern part of Queens this past Sunday. I used BannerZest to create the slideshow, using the Water Apparition Narrow theme. While it looks kinda cool, it allows no text to accompany the photos, so notes are right below the slideshow.

Long Island City Home
The house with the green awning is where we lived for almost ten years. By then it was just my parents, my older brother, and me. Wow, for a second there, I couldn't remember where my brother's room was. It was in this house that I got laid off from my first job out of college. Life was simpler then, I just took it easy and did nothing for half a year. Got up most morning at 9 and jogged to Astoria Park to run 6 miles around the track. It was supposed to be my training for the NYC Marathon. Of course it was far below the recommended amount. In 1997 I got married and moved out, then in 1999 my parents and brother moved in with me in Brooklyn, when Wife and I bought our house. I had to throw out lots of stuff for the final move and still regret that I included a box of Oriental Heroes (龍虎門) graphic novel.

Almost Bought
At one time we tried to buy a house in the area. It has an odd shape, very short but wide. The house looked pretty much the same as I remember it almost fifteen years ago. After we went to the bank to try borrow money, we were not that sure we wanted to buy it. Luckily the bank turned us down. Where were those subprime loans when you needed one, eh?

Genovese Supported ARROW
Now a Rite Aid, this store near the junction of Broadway and 31st Street used to be a Genovese Drug Store. It was while living in LIC that I got involved with the recycling group called ARROW. Back then the City did not have curbside recycling. ARROW setup a collection site on the sidewalk right outside Genovese for people to drop off metal cans, plastic bottles, may be even newspapers. Someone thought of flattening the metal cans for better storage and welded a square metal plate to an iron pipe. The device was effective at flattening the cans, but the people wielding it would just smash the thing into a pile of cans. Luckily no one was hurt by the cans as that inevitably flew out of the pile. I came up with the idea having some people line up the cans for me to smash. Assembly line, that's all. It was a lot safer that way. Genovese was supportive of the operation and allowed us to store our tools and such in their store.

Dutch Kills Playground
At one time, a cousin lived a few blocks away from us. She had a son and a daughter, little kids, 8 or 9 years old. Back then my job was not so hectic, I had time to take the kids to the park and Hall of Science. No, it was not only during the time that I was unemployed that I hang out with my niece and nephew. I was a good uncle before I became the good father.

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