BACK in November 2021 I was furtively creeping west along 35th Avenue in Long Island City for the want of anything else to do (it was a Sunday, and both the Jets and Giants stink, I’m not watching them). 35th Avenue passes by some very interesting architecture, new and old, but not in the vicinity of 21st Street, where it’s dominated by the Ravenswood Houses, acre after acre of tall brick towers surrounded by greenery. This is something that would make French architect and critic Le Corbusier swoon with delight, but not me. (If I decided to nickname myself with “The ____________” what do you think it should be? Comments are open. Offensive stuff won’t make it past me, though.)
I was taken by this lengthy shed with a pitched roof that takes up the whole west side of 21st Street for half the block between 34th and 35th Avenues. Turns out it’s the Queens West 1 Garage, of the NYC sanitation Department. The Strongest have parked their trucks here since 1931, but after an even 80 years, new digs were found at 31-11 20th Avenue along the Con Ed complex in Astroia, and they’ll be moving there sooner or later; thus this building is probably not long for the world.
I was struck by this terra cotta sign above the main entrance, which I had to shoot on an angle because the Rhodes Scholars at DSNY put a flagpole smack in front of it. What interests me about it? The lettering is a close match for the lettering used in IND Subway stations that were being built in the 1930s, which tells me that this font, whose name I have never seen, was the go-to municipal signage font back then.
The dark sign below it indicates that this is the Frank Justich Garage, a DSNY employee who was killed on duty in 2010 when he was struck by a milk truck.
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