Wimbledon has been eating into my time for political blog research. So, too, have the US Olympic Trials, and now it’s European soccer. On Thursday, my friend Stephen lured me to join him at a Queens beer garden he recently discovered to watch the Euro 2012 semi-final between Italy and Germany.
And so, this post documents a little bit of Thursday’s foray into Queens. With our friend, Linda, Stephen and I squeezed into his Suzuki Sidekick and headed over the Triborough Bridge into Queens. This bridge, re-named the RFK Bridge in 2008, actually consists of three different spans, several smaller bridges and viaducts, and over fourteen miles of approach roads.
|Bronx, NY, Triborough Bridge, Hell’s Gate span|
As you can see form my first photograph, the Triborough Bridge lacks the imposing monumentality of a Hoover Dam, and maybe it only can be appreciated if viewed from the air. Nevertheless, it not only helped to rescue America from the Great Depression; it also continues to serve us well, carrying approximately 200,000 vehicles per day.
This bridge-and-highway complex should make all Americans proud, as should all the other products of the New Deal–FDR’s program which “established the concept of economic security as a collective responsibility,” in the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Michael Hiltzik.
Yet, today’s Republicans and conservatives voice nothing but contempt for the New Deal, and this sorry state of affairs has Hiltzik asking a question that all Americans need to be asking today: “Do conservatives who attack the New Deal actually know what America gained from it?”
How can a significant proportion of our electorate idiotically deny the obvious: that, in Hiltzik’s words, “the New Deal physically reshaped the country. To this day, Americans still rely on its works for transportation, electricity, flood control, housing, and community amenities?” Consistent with such denials of America’s past history, today’s Republicans refuse to join President Obama and their democratic colleagues in support of a single public works project. This not only threatens our ability to rebuild America’s economy and create jobs that we desperately need. It also robs future generations of Americans of the opportunity to look back as proudly on this decade as we have looked back at the New Deal.
Did I intimate that this blog post would not delve into politics? My apologies, but how can I help myself when I can’t even drive five miles without encountering the physical and social benefits of our enlightened political past, nor need I reach further than my pocket to pull out my Social Security and Medicare cards? But let us proceed to that beer garden and the soccer match.
|Queens, NY, Rite Aid store, 36th Street & Broadway|
As we drove through Queens on Broadway, I saw a Rite Aid store with some elegant terracotta cornice work. My first thought was that it might have been an automobile dealership from ca. 1920, but we passed it too quickly for me to get a good look at its sculptural details. On Googling the address, I discovered that this had once been a Child’s restaurant, and so I at least had the date right. Childs was one of America’s first national dining chains, and by the early 1920s it had expanded to around 125 locations. Close-ups on Google of the sculptural details revealed marine motifs, such as fish, seashells, and seahorses, which were common with Childs restaurants; obviously, this was no auto dealership. Still, during this period, both sorts of commercial establishments made use of such terracotta decoration and often employed highly reputable architects. Childs, so I found out, even engaged such respected architects as William Van Alen and McKim, Mead and White.
|Queens, NY, Studio Square, 35-33 36th Street|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square, interior from entrance|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden, Carmelo|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden, David|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden, Celebrating Balotelli’s first goal|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden, Celebrating Balotelli’s second goal|
|Queens, NY, Studio Square beer garden, The Italian Flag|
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July.