by Kevin Walsh

The concrete-cladded viaduct that takes the IRT #7 Flushing Line down the middle of Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside was built in 1917, and in the mid-1990s was treated to a complete overhaul with new station canopies and stained glass panels, as well as a complete replacement of the concrete and terra cotta ornamentation that left it looking like new. It’s been mostly kept that way for the better part of 20 years.

The Super Seventies were a different story, though, and by then the viaduct had been left to the mercies of erosion, weather, and our feathered friends for decades. The viaduct looked as if it was going to crumble onto the boulevard. Meanwhile, a World’s Fair painted R-33 plies the line blithely unaware of any problem. The cars were later painted maroon red and served the line until 2003.



Jeff B. June 17, 2013 - 10:34 pm

Trying to guess what year the photo was taken. I see a 1970 Olds Cutlass on the far left. Looks like a 69-73 Caddy next to it. Maybe a 70 Buick next, 69-72 “Nova Family” car. Farthest right looks like a 68-69 Pontiac Firebird. Therefore I guess photo was shot 1971 to 1973. It appears the 7 train was still in it’s original World’s Fair colors and hadn’t been MtA Silverized yet.

Joe Fliel June 18, 2013 - 8:01 pm

The car on the far left is a 1970-71 Olds Cutlass Supreme 4-Door Hardtop. The rectangular double split bumper-mounted taillights are a feature only found on 1970-72 Oldsmobiles. The car in the middle lane is a 1971 Plymouth Fury III. The Caddy is a ’69-’73 Sedan de Ville. So, your dating the photo is pretty much spot on.

NY2AZ June 19, 2013 - 10:37 am

Let’s narrow down the vintage range: the Cadillac is a 1969-70 Coupe De Ville. To it’s immediate left is a 1968-69 Buick Skylark. Also note the lack of graffiti tagging on the IRT 7. This looks like the calm before the storm that sank Lindsey’s “Fun City” illusion. Therefore, my guess is the photo was taken 1970-72

TomfromNJ June 19, 2013 - 6:45 pm

You guys are good! I concur with NY2AZ…..My wife doesn’t believe me when I can date a car from the 50s-early 70s just looking at it from behind…..not so much more recent vintages….

Jeff B. June 19, 2013 - 11:50 pm

Same here, though for me it’s mid 50’s to early 80’s. It seems the car makers sort of completed the “homogenized” look they started in the late 70’s when the various divisions’ cars began looking more alike and very little changed year to year, not like in the decades before, e.g. look how long Ford kept the Crown Vic looking the same for years and years and years between each switch of body style – sometimes all they changed was the color of the grill from Chrome to Black between years.

Joe Fliel June 23, 2013 - 9:57 pm

” To it’s immediate left is a 1968-69 Buick Skylark.”

I stand by my identification.

Compare the tailights on a 1969 Skylark


with those of a 1970 Cutlass


then, compare the’70 Cutlass’ taillights with those of the car in the photo:


It’s obvious that this car has dual vertical taillights. The Skylark’s are horizontal and extend almost completely across the bumper.

Jim June 22, 2013 - 10:34 pm

I had to cheat a little by zooming in but was able confirm a couple of things. The car to the right of the Caddy is a ’72 or newer Dodge, I’m guessing a Polara, and the Nova is ’73 or newer.

The Plymouth Duster across Queens Blvd is a ’70-’72.

Vinnie May 5, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Jim..that car in the third lane nearest the sidewalk is a polara.

dave c. June 23, 2013 - 7:54 pm

OK, so it was taken about the time I escaped from NYC to go to college in Boston (Sept. 72). Shit had already deteriorated for ten years or so before then, and it has just gotten worse since.


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