It’s 2021. COVID is still raging. I’m just beginning to realize the pandemic is a blessing in disguise…as I’ve taken so *few* photos the past 11 months while quarantined indoors, I’m beginning to catch up to ‘the eclipse’ – the moment the pandemic began. Case in point these photos from August 2019 – 6 months before NYC initially went into lockdown – of a walking tour around Willets Point and Flushing Bay and Creek. Before this pandemic is ‘over’ I may actually catch up to processing photos in realtime again. But for now here’s a pre-pandemic tour around an otherwise underappreciated area of Queens:

I was a bit early so I walked Roosevelt Avenue for a bit first, peering into the area we were about to venture into and through.

Social practice artist¬†Cody Herrmann of FlushingBayandCreep, and Steve Vazquez of Queenscapes organized and kicked off the tour (in collaboration with NYC H2O) at the ‘tip’ of Willets Point – recognizable from the elevated 7 train, and adjacent to the manicured Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

After entering the Willets area, we explored abandoned areas and standing water – with 6-foot-tall grass it was impossible to tell if this was always abandoned wetland or formerly the location of automotive businesses (hint: the latter).

This area included this wonderful ‘public art’ installation involving a Pathmark shopping cart:

We continued to an area where many businesses are still active:

Before finally making our way down 35th Ave – as Cody was apt to point out, an actual road – and towards Flushing Creek:

Cody presented her data visualization towels, which viz “concentrations of human pathogens,” detailed on this Instagram post.

And lastly some final views underneath the overpasses (including some intentionally cut-and-reinforced failing concrete) and the creek from up high:

I’m definitely keen to explore more of the Bay and Creek in the future – preferably from my kayak, but as the dataviz towels suggest it’s best to be on the water on ‘green’ days because ewwwww¬†enterococcus is icky!