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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ridgewood to Maspeth

After walking up from Crown Heights, through Bed-Stuy and East Williamsburg to Queens, we continued on. We actually couldn't quite tell where Brooklyn ended and Queens began - the Ridgewood/Bushwick boundary is growing more fluid by the year. There's no difference in the street grid - I've always thought a much more natural borough boundary would either be Broadway, which separate Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, or the Ridgewood/Maspeth border, where the grid becomes the regular Queens street grid - you know, the one with 4 or 5 streets for every number.

There used to be a demographic boundary - Ridgewood was middle-class, largely white Queens, while Bushwick was low-income, mostly Puerto Rican Brooklyn (in all probability a result of racial housing discrimination in Queens). Up until the 1990 census there was a stark demarcation right along the Brooklyn/Queens border. Politically, the border was almost always the boundary between different legislative districts. Now, however, demographically Ridgewood can really be viewed as where Bushwick blends into Queens - while the area slowly grows whiter and more affluent the further you get from Brooklyn, there is certainly not the stark demarcation along the borough boundary that there used to be. And politically, city council and state legislative districts now encompass both sides of the borough border.

We walk through Ridgewood a bit, and then work our way up through the residential part of sleepy Maspeth, over to the industrial section on the west. My Hagstrom's map says that the Hagstom's factory is there, but I can't find it. The terrain is a bit hilly, yielding some beautiful views of various industrial scenes against the New York City skyline in the background. We somehow make our way under the BQE/Queens-Midtown Expressway cloverleaf up into Sunnyside. Sunnyside is kind of a poster child for the outer borough, multiethnic neighborhood, and as a result the commercial streets are generally pretty interesting to walk along. We walk along 48th Avenue for a bit (where 48th crosses Greenpoint Avenue is a pretty cool commercial area, with a Spanish-Language Theatre), then head up to Roosevelt where we eat at an overpriced restaurant (should have had my man Sietsema's Guide to Cheap Eats with me!) and catch the #7 back home. It's been one of the more long and satisfying borough trekking days I've had in a while.

Neighborhoods: Ridgewood, Maspeth, West Maspeth, Sunnyside. Tracts Walked: Q549, Q589, Q587, Q593, Q601, Q599, Q525, Q527, Q529, Q219, Q205.01, Q205.02, Q235, Q185, Q189

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