SPECIAL K, Blissville

by Kevin Walsh

In 1939 Robert Moses arched the imposing Kosciuszko Bridge, named for a Polish compatriot of the American Revolution, over the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek. Although The Special K originally boasted sidewalks, pedestrian access over the Creek has been limited for several decades to the Greenpoint Avenue bridge to the north. The Special K replaced a steel span called the Meeker Avenue Bridge, which in return replaced the original Penny Bridge; I’m unsure if there had been a penny toll.

Generations of New Yorkers have pronounced the bridge “Kos-kee OS-ko,” but Polish is a language in which consonants are not to be taken literally and creative pronunciations abound (just ask Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski about it  — just call him Coach K) and the bridge in original Polish is closer to Ko-SHOOS-ko, but even that is an approximation.

These tracks are usually employed by freight trains, but if you are here at the right time of day, you will see one of the three daily passenger runs that traverse here on weekdays. The Penny Bridge station, which was a clearing of the weeds on either side of the tracks, was finally eliminated in 1998 when the LIRR purchased new equipment that required high platforms, which it was not cost-effective to build here.

For more on Calvary, the Newtown Pentacle is a virtual encyclopedia.

This view of the Special K has been compromised by the first of two cable-stayed replacement spans that are rising beside it. When the first is complete sometime in 2017, traffic will be directed onto it and the Kosciuszko will be razed; then, the second cable-stayed span, that one boasting a bike and pedestrian path, will rise in its place.

In the foreground is what used to be the Penny Bridge Long Island Rail Road station that closed in 1998.

“Comment as you see fit”: kevinjudewalsh@gmail.com


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