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!