Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Exit Be the BQE

The BQE, glimpsed across the New York harbor from the Staten Island ferry. Feels distant, in time as well as space. The replacement span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge has opened, and I haven't even driven across it. The old bridge, with its spectacular slow-motion views of Manhattan, will be dismantled piece by piece--not, as rumored, dynamited in one spectacular farewell show. At some point, work will (must? may?) begin on the "layer cake" of lanes under the Brooklyn Heights promenade. I will mostly, and gratefully, experience that as a spectator.

Be the BQE has taken more than a few detours and diversions and breaks since its first post in April 2011 (two years after Lawrence Weiner's At the same moment above). Now seems as good a time as any to call it a day. The boys in Research Bureau have moved on to other projects. Getting a line on Staten Island looks like a full-time job, and then some.
Thanks to all regular readers, and all visitors to the page, whether they meant to stop in or not. Watch out for the lane drops!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ghost Garage

Still receiving mail, but the garage is long gone.
Grant Street, Staten Island.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Red Blue Red

An otherwise cookie-cutter Mobil station on Victory Blvd. at Manor Road adds some color on a gray day with its two mini Fiats and, I'm going to guess, '50's Nash coupe (or kit).

Friday, June 9, 2017

Pinhead on the Pike

Moving always turns up odd artifacts. Going through some books to give away or sell, I came across this Zippy I'd clipped from the Boston Globe, probably sometime in the early 2000's ("you could look it up").

Route 82 in Norwich is also known as the Salem Turnpike. Yup, there is a Wal-mart there these days.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Turnbuckles off the Turnpike

Quiet morning at the Brown & Perkins loading dock in Cranbury, NJ. B&P is the place to go if you want soft rope, eye bolts and hoist rings, turnbuckles, chain buckles, shackles and more. Wholesale only, of course.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tiresome Art

If you've ever wanted to prowl around the upper floor of a century-old Manhattan garage, now's your chance. The Irish Arts Center is staging Enda Walsh's theatre installation, Rooms, in the second-floor storage space of Cybert Tire on Eleventh Avenue.
Eventually, the IAC will have the whole building as its new home, while Cybert's moves to a new home around the corner on 52nd St. For now, enjoy the well-trod wooden steps, the (empty) gumdrop dispensers, double-stacked radiators, the corner sink, and, yes, the smells of a century of rubber. The art is pretty good, too, if a tad depressing. But that's Ireland, right?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sunrise at Snug Harbor

The handsome Sunrise Automotive Center on Lafayette Ave., just off Richmond Terrace.
A plasticky CITGO station peeks out from around the corner.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Get Happy

Another post from the grassy shores of the SIE. Somewhere there's a sad child or a denuded open house sign.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Future Tire

The future takes a break on Narrows Road North, just off the SIE.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Gowanus Blue

Heading the other way, across the Gowanus viaduct, I heard reports of delays at the new Kosciuszko Bridge span, as drivers adjust to new traffic patterns. Well, things should clear up by 2020 when the second span is open.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Distant Friends

Saturday traffic on and off the BQE offered chances to catch up with some old friends. The flag on top of the Hamilton Ave. Asphalt Plant , the "R" sign in Red Hook, which according to Lost City blog used to belong to the paper goods maker, E.J. Trum.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bridge It On

Approaching the end (November, 2016)
Yesterday, the first of two replacement spans for the old Kosciuszko Bridge was opened to traffic. The original will be destroyed in July. In the front page story, the Times' David Dunlap described the old bridge as "deeply loathed." I object, sir. The bridge was not loathed, at least not by all drivers. In fact, it afforded one of the most beautiful views of Manhattan--once you achieved it. The new spans will be lower. Traffic will, god willing, move more rapidly across the Newtown Creek. Life may go, perhaps with fewer delays, but it will be just a little bit less interesting.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Downward Mobilitiy

There aren't too many busier spots on S.I. than North Gannon St. and Richmond Road, just off the expressway. I wonder why this Mobil station had to close.
A gasjockey's stool keeps a lonely vigil.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wave Street

The Sanitation Department's garage on Wave St. is an handsome building.
The signage around the door is a bit improvised, though, given that it's the department's sign shop.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Joe Friday?

(Photo: F.A. Someki)
Caught up with this vintage early 80s Camaro on the SI Expressway. The sponsor is Routine Patrol Coffee. The boys in the Research Bureau were tracked down the company on Facebook, begun by Marc Cosentino, a police officer and restaurant owner in search of the "perfect cup of coffee."

He seems to have a good sense of humor. Note the doughnut on the dash.... (And no cupholders.)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Castleton is Autotown

A cluster of auto repair shops on Castleton Avenue on the North Shore. Half Price Mufflers is the big dog.
But don't miss My Repair Shop next door, and George's Auto squeezed in on the left.
A good place to buy a used RV, a vintage early 70s Mustang, an LTD, or a Rolls.

Friday, March 31, 2017

No Revival?

Another garage for sale. The CC&R II garage on Richmond Road near Forest Avenue is on the block.
Looks like the original (I suppose) one-bay brick building is in better shape than the addition.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

New Morning Newark

Off Route 21. Can't quite make out what animal is stuccoed above the bays. A bulldog? Sheep?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Early Sunday Afternoon

This row of housetops glimpsed in passing from the BQE has always reminded me of Edward Hopper's Early Sunday Morning (1930).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Unswerving Stadiums

There's a shop called Yoga and Melody on Richmond Road in Staten Island. Stopped at the light nearby, it took a while to make out the third claims on its awning. "Calm Strength" (check) and "Inner Peace" (check) were easy but ... "Unswerving Stadiums"? "Unserving Studiousness"? Didn't sound quite right. It turns out to be "Unwavering Steadiness." That seems like a good thing to strive for in icy weather.

Monday, March 13, 2017

NJ Exit

Early spring or late winter? Either way, a cold clear sky leaving the NJ Turnpike.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Trophy Santa

Across from our last nameless garage, on Van Duzer, is a weatherbeaten but unbowed Santa. Wired to the fence next to Daisy's Trophy World, he's been there at least since the fall. With snow in the forecast for Friday, he may know something we don't...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Little Garage That Couldn't

Another one-bay wonder for our series, Garages of Staten Island. This one sits on Van Duzer Street, not far from the excellent Craft House bar. From the spray paint on the overhead door and sign, it looks as if the garage is not only out of business, but someone wants to erase its memory as well. The Research Bureau was able to track down the obliterated name, and the reviewers were not good. Let's give the owners the dignity of anonymity here.
The cutout in the construction site fence suggests that big things may be on the way. Is there any chance our little garage will survive another decade?
Nice view of Tompkinsville

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Raise High the Bridge Beams

Approaching from Jersey side
On Presidents Day, with almost zero fanfare, the first two elevated lanes of the Bayonne Bridge opened to traffic. The new lanes are 64 feet higher than the original roadway, which will eventually be removed, allowing for taller container ships to pass through on their way to the Port of Newark.
The high lanes do mar the beautiful balance of line bisecting parabola of the original design. On the other hand, it is fun to drive.
Photos: F. Someki

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mobile Chloë

The New York Times gets in on the garage and gas station action. In this Style Magazine (February 19) piece, Chloë Sevigny revisits her childhood haunts in and around Darien, Connecticut. Here she is strolling across the Mobil station in New Canaan, "where she and her driver's license-less friends would get dropped off and hang out." 
(Photo: The New York Times)
From the photograph, the location seems to be Kean's Corner Mobil, a 24-hour gas station and convenience store on South Avenue. The Gulf garage just down the street, whose sign you can see peeking through the trees, appears to be closed. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Victory Blvd Quick Stop is a full-serve gas station and deli, next to the Payless Auto Repair Center, in Tompkinsville. A bit beat up, it's banner advertises: Beer - Cigarettes - Cigars. The "QS" insignia (and inclusion of "Blvd" in the name?) hint at loftier ambitions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flats and Mozz

On the whole, Staten Island is a good place to break down (carwise, that is). A few weeks ago, as I was heading out to work, the tire pressure alert lit up on my dash. It's happened before, usually means the pressure in one tire is down a bit. So I pulled into this Shell station on Forest Avenue, pumped four quarters into the air machine, and went to work. I knew it was a bad sign when air started coming out of a seam in the tire as fast as it went in. A few minutes later, it was up on the lift, and Jeff was showing me just how bald and bad both front tires were--despite a recent check-up at the Honda dealership. ("They do nothing," said Jeff, "except take your money.") A couple hours later, and I had a pair of all-weather Coopers on the front brought in from Jersey. Just in time for the snow storm.
If you find yourself waiting on your car at Jeff's, cross the street to Bella Famiglia for their fresh mozzarella. I was once served a still-warm sample on the edge of a knife. "You gotta grab it in one," the chef said.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Night Lights

The Wagner College football stadium lit up on a rainy Sunday evening in February.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Norwich Is Garage Town

Is it a a coincidence that the great Facebook group You're Probably from Norwich If and its guru Ken Keeley have been posting a bunch of vintage garage shots recently? Probably, but if you're a garage freak, check it out. Here's a 1950s's pic of an Esso station from Main Street from a recent post. 
On the other hand, I have called St. George, S.I., "the Norwich on the New York harbor" many times... (Norwich, Connecticut, of course.)