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The eeriest places in New York City
October 1, 2010 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Over the decades nature has reclaimed southern Edgemere. Groves of trees, acres of bushes, wild flowers, rabbits, and flocks of birds all thrive within sight of the nearby elevated MTA line. However, few people can be seen walking through this no-mans-land, perhaps because of its history of wild dog attacks. In 2001, two Rockaway residents "were brutalized by a pack of wild dogs" in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area, according to The Wave. The dogs came from an abandoned block, "stalked" their first victim, and "dragged him off the boardwalk onto an adjacent lot and began consuming his flesh," according to The Wave. In spite of this, several homeless camps are currently hidden deep in the Edgemere overgrowth. Some are as simple as a mattress tossed in the bushes or a sofa placed in a clearing. Others are more elaborate, including one camp with platform beds on a stone patio surrounded by a garden and fence. Another camp is large enough to house several families.
The place is Edgemere, Queens, New York, where for nearly 4 decades an entire neighborhood has sat vitually empty on abandoned ocean front property.
posted by 2bucksplus (31 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I fail to understand the economics of this. Given the cost of real estate in New York, why wouldn't this be developed? Alternatively, why wasn't it at least eminent domained and turned into a park?
posted by jedicus at 12:26 PM on October 1, 2010


"more than $1 billion... enclosed amusement area on the Arverne site, to be called Destination Technodome, with rides, movie theaters, an indoor ski slope and a hotel."

Oh, I would give anything to visit a place called Destination Technodome. I would totally call all my friends and say "I'm calling you ... from the FUTURE!"
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:28 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I fail to understand the economics of this. Given the cost of real estate in New York, why wouldn't this be developed?

It should just as well be on Mars. A person could leave Washington DC by car, and another could leave that neighborhood by the subway at the same time in a race, and it'd probably end up in a tie.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's crappy urban planning day on metafilter!
posted by gordie at 12:33 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It won't remain empty for long. Looking forward to Edgemere Luxury Condominiums, where every room comes fully equipped with an airhorn and a can of mace.
posted by hermitosis at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


(click the pictures to enlarge, just be sure you're up to date on your Tetanus shot)
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another odd Queens neighbourhood is Willets Point, where they set the great film Chop Shop.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:40 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like the The Road, but with more dirty mattresses.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Threeway Handshake wrote: "It should just as well be on Mars. A person could leave Washington DC by car, and another could leave that neighborhood by the subway at the same time in a race, and it'd probably end up in a tie."

I would hope that the distance between NYC and DC wouldn't make much of a difference in a race to Mars.
posted by wierdo at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes Rockaway, the land of wind and ghosts.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It should just as well be on Mars. A person could leave Washington DC by car, and another could leave that neighborhood by the subway at the same time in a race, and it'd probably end up in a tie.

There appears to be a real, running subway line that passes through this place. Who rides the subway and where do the trains go?

I grew up in the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area. There, an "isolated" neighborhood meant dirt roads and private wells. You're telling me that in New York, you can have a subway and still be "desolate"?
posted by ryanrs at 12:58 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It looks crusty, sure, but not sure its as bad as the post makes it sound. As viewed on Bing Maps.
posted by ben242 at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2010


Yeah, the close-in satellite view (google's version) shows weird totally overgrown blocks on the ocean and a nearby subway stop (which the MTA planner says is an hour and seven minutes on the A train to Penn Station).

Air & Space recently had an article on nearby Floyd Bennett Field. Here's some pictures from the article - neat stuff if you like old airplanes. The airfield is now used for bike racing (among other things I'm sure). I raced there a few times and it was a schlep in a car from Manhattan.
posted by exogenous at 1:05 PM on October 1, 2010


There appears to be a real, running subway line that passes through this place.

Sort of. It's way the hell out on the end of the A train and service can be unreliable at best. My wife and I looked into the properties out in Arverne when they were first being built and it took us so damn long to get out there from Midtown that we could have moved to Philadelphia for a shorter commute.
posted by JaredSeth at 1:06 PM on October 1, 2010


You're telling me that in New York, you can have a subway and still be "desolate"?

The subway service out to Rockaway fucking sucks, and it gets worse if you have to transfer to a shuttle train to go to Far Rockaway/Beach Street. It probably takes an hour at the quickest to get from there to anywhere in Manhattan.
posted by wcfields at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2010


A person could leave Washington DC by car, and another could leave that neighborhood by the subway at the same time in a race, and it'd probably end up in a tie.

Huh? It's a little over 1 hour on the A train from Greenwich Village to Beach 44th St.
posted by nicwolff at 1:07 PM on October 1, 2010


I ride my bike to the Rockaways all the time (not that far from this place, Jacob Riis park is a prime destination for surfers and beachgoers) and had no idea about this place. Thank you for the post.

Is this is another good opportunity to express how much I loathe Robert Moses?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:08 PM on October 1, 2010


I am pleased to see my New York City tax dollars being put to such excellent use. Right down to the wheelchair rumble strips.
posted by stargell at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2010


Did anyone else read that as Destination Technodrome?
posted by djb at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2010


You're telling me that in New York, you can have a subway and still be "desolate"?

There are 842 miles of track in the New York City subway system (about 650 of which are for riders). Try to get your head around that for a minute. It's . . . .it's a hell of a system, for all its faults.
posted by The Bellman at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


ryanrs: It's the A train, which runs through Queens-Manhattan-Brooklyn and services, among other places, JFK Airport. Edgemere is not a vast wasteland, by any means, and actually sits next to some well-populated neighborhoods in the Rockaways section of the city. Believe it or not, there's still quite a bit of open land in NYC. Both Brooklyn's Red Hook and midtown Manhattan's west side remained quite barren until very recently (all it takes sometimes is the right placement of an Ikea or Fairway to bring the crowds around).
posted by adamms222 at 1:10 PM on October 1, 2010


Google maps link for a bit more perspective on how isolated this place is (or isn't).
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:28 PM on October 1, 2010


Seconding Threeway Handshake's analysis. I spent my summers in the Rockaways and still (for the moment) have a winterized bungalow not too far from there in Roxbury. It's actually faster and easier for me to get to Manhattan by driving 90 minutes from Ulster County NY than it is to take a subway or (god help me) a bus. Many of the residents rarely leave the peninsula, except to work, and if you work in Manhattan, you're not getting home until almost 7:30-8 PM-- if you leave your office at 5.

If you look at the Rockaway Peninsula on a map, its isolation from the rest of NYC is contributing factor in its lack of economic development. As far as eminent domaining it goes, how do you think it got that way in the first place? Robert Moses cleared out the bungalows and then the 70's happened. Rockaway is literally locked in time and geography as a place in NYC where the last 20 years never really occured.

What doesn't help is the resistance of residents in the area to anything more than a nominal presence by City services. I don't even have sewers at my place-- not because the city won't put them in--they offered to do that 15 years ago FOR FREE-- but because the (white) people down there resent the city's "intrusion into our private affairs" Not surprisingly, Tea Party sentiment is pretty strong among them, so that even though the official party line is Democrat and there is a significant (and largely poor) African American population, it's the equivalent of a red-neck outpost in NY. There aren't a lot of City Council members sympathetic to the Rockaway's political leanings, so it gets passed over a lot in development/revitalization schemes these days.

Wow. Never realized how much I don't like it there anymore after reading this in preview. Anyone wanna buy a bungalow?
posted by KingEdRa at 1:30 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are 842 miles of track in the New York City subway system [..] Try to get your head around that for a minute.

Huh, triple digits and an inconvenient commute to Manhattan. This talk of isolation still sounds kind of funny, but I guess it's all relative.
posted by ryanrs at 1:59 PM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, leave it alone.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 PM on October 1, 2010


Both Brooklyn's Red Hook and midtown Manhattan's west side remained quite barren until very recently (all it takes sometimes is the right placement of an Ikea or Fairway to bring the crowds around).

Um....Red Hook hasn't exactly been "barren". The Fairway is on the site of an old coffee factory from the 1800's. There've been people living there WELL before the days of Ikea. People started settling there in 1636, for God's sake.

"Barren" doesn't mean "untouched by Starbucks'."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Developing anything that close to the ocean seems like a not so great idea these days anyway. How much sea level rise would it take to make the rail line ocean front?
posted by fshgrl at 10:52 PM on October 1, 2010


It looks like a good location for a cricket stadium.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:22 AM on October 2, 2010


A friend of mine caught not one but three blue(?) sharks just down the beach at Fort Tilden this past summer (they were small (4 feet +) granted, but still sharks!). It's always a bit of a surprise to go out. There and remember that NYC is fundamentally a port town that exists only for the ocean, however much it has largely ignored it for the last forty years.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:06 AM on October 2, 2010


Having recently gorged myself on The Road, Oryx and Crake, and a big bunch of JG Ballard, this looks totally normal.
posted by heatvision at 6:39 AM on October 3, 2010


In college I hung out here a lot to do charcoal drawings. One day I was reading a neighborhood blog and saw that somebody had been shot from the roof of the nearby project, about a block from where I'd been standing. I stopped going after that.

Tremendously eerie place. There's a basketball hoop half-buried in sand down there. This photoset lacks the brand-new paving and street signs visible in some parts of the neighborhood, even on roads that just fade into the brush.

Forgotten NY did a great series there too.
posted by zvs at 1:41 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


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