by Kevin Walsh

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.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Tama Harbor January 6, 2022 - 1:09 am

Hopefully the Mets can bring you some pleasure in 2022 (if there is a baseball season)?

Michael Lagana January 6, 2022 - 11:34 am

Nickname would be :I don’t like Modern glass buildings. Or :Only the Old Stuff.

chris January 6, 2022 - 4:35 pm

You never see a lone Sanitman with a pushbroom and pushcart cleaning
the streets anymore.
I last remember seeing one in ’72 in Yorkville

therealguyfaux January 6, 2022 - 5:14 pm

How about “Le Promeneur”? Not necessarily in Brooklyn on the Promenade, but, you get the idea…

Ron S January 7, 2022 - 2:07 pm

How about “The Traditionalist”

Re the buidling–a block long one story building in LIC was common among the gas stations, factories and taxi garages back in the day. Now it is a 20 story condo waiting to

Tom+M January 7, 2022 - 9:16 pm

live in Ravenswood behind that garage. It was a smelly, filthy disgusting place. The trucks that were parked there attracted all kinds of “critters”, after they continually hit the fence separating it from the playground. What finally did it in was they had more trucks stored there then they could handle and started parking the trucks up & down 35th Ave. Typiical city, we can do what we want. Well, now the other end of town can put up with it

Fadda+Mush January 15, 2022 - 4:03 pm

Re: Tom+M – funny – I inspected a DSNY garage near Hegeman in Brooklyn, & it was clean as hell inside & did not smell at all – the e employees obv took very good care of it.

May Moon January 20, 2022 - 11:35 am

Unless I’m misunderstanding what you were referring to…

If “Ravenswood” is too formal and historical a name for the project, you can just call us “The Woods”, and yes, I do live there, though fortunately not in smelling distance of the sanitation garage.

Not architecturally interesting… I guess, but come back and play “spot the difference” with each of our buildings, and also find the one that’s 7 stories tall, not 6.

By the way, the pathways through the buildings are accessible to the general public, and north-south take the place of the numbered streets, and provide a nice tree view of our “woods”. The trees are architecturally interesting.

P-j Greiner April 5, 2022 - 11:26 am

How about “The Enduring Observer”…? “Enduring characterizing the observer himself, as well as the observed.


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