In November 2021 I lit off for a walk through Elmhurst that wound me up at the Mets-Willets Point Long Island Rail Road station in Flushing Meadows, which I’ve found to be incredibly convenient and a feature I hope is retained when the Covid Pandemic ends, if it ever does. My starting point was the 74th Street station of the 7 train, which lets you off at the crowded and jammed intersection of Broadway and Roosevelt where they meet at 73rd Street. Therefrom, a side street, 37th Road, runs for a couple of blocks.
It was there that I spotted a subway entrance of which I hadn’t been previously aware. Here the E,F,M,R subway runs underground and a free transfer to the clattering El is effected. And I also spotted an unusual infrastructural hybrid. Here is an ancient NYC street vent, placed here to release miasmic subway vapors into the clear air, where they can be dispersed. I recognized it immediately as a Giraffe (CHIME-4904) as seen on FNY’s street vent classification. But here an additional element has been added: a subway indicator! I’ve never seen this combo before and it makes tremendous sense. It’s a “green” indicating the entrance is open for swiping (and tapping, soon enough) 24/7.
Pulling back a bit, the contours of the old Earle Theatre, later the Eagle, can be seen, built in 1938 in a Moderne style. It was a first-run theater for many years until sinking into disrespectability as a porno palace by 2001; later it showed “Bollywood” films in this neighborhood featuring residents hailing and descending from people from the Indian Subcontinent. After 2009 the films left and the building has hosted several food courts since, presently the Ittadi Garden and Grill.
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