Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Border

At Second & 64th, the giant Extraspace storage warehouse. This was the New York State Arsenal from 1926 to the 1950s, operating as a storage, training & education center for downstate and New York City Units.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1926 - Brooklyn Visual Heritage

Turning up 64th to Third, you can see the expressway dividing into two.

Across the street, right underneath the Belt, the John Allen Payne Park.  The playground here was a WPA project, constructed in 1941:

On the west side of 3rd Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets,
Brooklyn, the one and one-quarter acre plot was acquired for recreational
and parkway purposes in connection with the construction of the Gowanus
Parkway.  The Triborough Bridge Authority, under whose direction the
connecting link between the Belt Parkway and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is
being erected, cleared the site of several building obstructions preparatory
to the construction of the Parkway and playground.

           The elevated structure passes diagonally through the property in
a broad westerly sweep from 3rd Avenue to the Belt Parkway at Owls Head
Park. Carried on light, graceful arched supports the superstructure affords
a minimum of obstruction to light and air.

           When completed the playground will contain the following:

                  Irrigated sand pit
                  1 pipe frame exercise unit
                  4 shuffleboard courts
                  Brick comfort station
                  Concrete wading pool
                  1 combination volleyball and basketball court
                  3 paddle tennis courts with removable posts and nets
                  Roller skating area
                  6 concrete surfaced handball courts

           A new 15' concrete sidewalk will be constructed along the boundary
streets and new trees will be planted in block panels around the playground
and its various units.

Airy?   Hmm.  From the climbing frame, it looks as if you could almost touch the roadway. When I went by, the park was empty, except for a kid idling on one of the handball courts.  It's a sad location for a children's playground, but a Friends of the Park group is working to make it a safer & better maintained place.  Money has been allocated for the park's renovation.

On 65th, you come face to face with the sentinels to Bay Ridge proper, the vast Towers of Bay Ridge West, one of the two hulking Mitchell Lama high-rises built in the 1970s.  Somehow their form and their name makes me think of some Tolkien urban dystopia.

Cross Second Avenue, and peering through the chainlink fence you'll see a more heartening sight - a miniature world of ships, water, railcars, tracks.  On a clear September morning, it's a transit lover's heaven.

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