From Queens with Love

(Click photos to enlarge)

While I was photographing from the Pulaski Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Queens, overlooking Newtown Creek, I recalled one of my most joyful memories growing up in Queens, NY. It was the sight of the New York City skyline looking west down a long stretch of Queens Boulevard from Rego Park. No matter what time of day, or weather, this magical and wonderful vision conjured up so many thoughts and emotions that affected my whole life. What I was not aware of was that while I was admiring the beauty that was in the distance, I was almost oblivious to the beauty all around me right here in Queens.

The reason something makes for beauty, I learned from the education Aesthetic Realism founded by the poet and critic Eli Siegel, and why I and millions of people are so affected by the NY Skyline, is because of how it puts opposites together. Opposites like Universe and Object. New York while conveying its own particular character also represents a universal humanity that comes from all parts of our globe to work and live here. From his definitive essay on the nature of beauty, “Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?” Mr. Siegel writes about these opposites:

UNIVERSE & OBJECT: DOES every work of art have a certain precision about something, a certain concentrated exactness, a quality of particular existence?—and does every work of art, nevertheless, present in some fashion the meaning of the whole universe, something suggestive of wide existence, something that has an unbounded significance beyond the particular?

The beauty to be found in the Pulaski Bridge area near Long Island City, embodies these opposites in a deep and exciting way. It’s a location with its own character—a hub of many aspects that affects one as you look around. It’s a visual destination for a photographer. It’s also an area in transition, hosting residential and cultural attractions. And while it’s clearly industrial it also hosts the recreational—many sailboats and even kayaks where people can sail down the East River and beyond.

There are also vistas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and many of the City’s bridges. It’s a crossroads of humanity where persons walk, bike and run from one great borough to another. I was taken by the close proximity of the people who earn their living here, like the men who operate the tugs hauling barges to all points of the city and beyond, to those enjoying a sail. There is a railroad transporting commuters and freight. You can even see the entrance of the Midtown tunnel from a high point. This may not thrill some, however when you stop and think about how it connects millions of people from other parts of NY to Manhattan, it is thrilling.

Like Queens itself, that embodied the hopes of farmers who first settled what was to become the oldest ongoing working farm in New York State, Queens Farm (1697), to the borough that has the largest diverse ethnic population in the city, the Long Island City area represents not only itself but the hopes of people everywhere. And that is why I say “From Queens with Love.”

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One Response to “From Queens with Love”

  1. I love this post. It shows the great diversity of Queens, and the meaning to be found in the ordinary moments of life. Thank you for your perception!

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