I walk through Forest Park pretty frequently. It's always a pleasant surprise finding something "new" - of course, it's not new, but it's new to you. Something you've never seen before. Today, I saw something in Forest park that I've never seen before -- even though I passed by it a million times. But a few other pics before we get to today's discovery. The road through Forest Park. It's a nice peaceful park, but jeez these sidewalks are a freakin' mess. Note: Please excuse the quality of the pics, they were taken via cell phone.
There's a proposal out there to expand Forest Park by converting the old railroad line into a walking trail -- but before any more money is spent on proposals to expand the park, they should properly maintain the existing park land. And with the recent discovery that this roadway is a living, breathing War Memorial, dedicated to the young men from Woodhaven who perished in WW1 - well, that makes it even more important that this road get the city's full attention. Leaving the sidewalks like this is disrespectful.
The road through Forest Park - aka the Queens GreenWay -- has recently been subject to more and more illegal dumping. Here, you can see exactly what happened -- the vehicle pulled over on to the curb, they got out, dumped the asphalt they wanted rid of, and took off. There is furniture and all other sorts of garbage off of the side of the road. This needs to be addressed. And it will be.
These are a few of the trees that were dedicated to Woodhaven's war dead. The trees were planted in 1919. Family members of the soldiers used to come to the tree planted in the name of their loved one and leave flowers and personal notes and trinkets. It deserves better than this.
Okay, this was today's discovery - this staircase which I had never seen before. You can see that it's pretty banged up and not well-maintained (what a shock). But the question I had was where the heck does it go? Do you recognize it? Scroll down to the next pictures to see where this staircase is located.
The staircase is located next to that circular field right near the entrance to the Jackie Robinson (formerly the Interboro). They used to fly model airplanes in here. I haven't seen anyone doing that in there in years, maybe 15 years or even more. Does anyone know of anyone using this field? You can see the red arrow - that's where the stairway is located. I've passed by this thousands of times. Don't recall ever seeing it.
Here's a better look at the staircase.
When you climb those steps, this is what you see. Along the fence, it looks like there is a path -- so I stayed close to that for now. But it was real hard to tell if this was a path or not. I was starting to wonder if the steps were just an alternate way to get to the little circular field. Hey, what's that up ahead?
Well, this confirms that it was once a path. An old light pole in the middle of the woods. I mean, this area is desolate and you had to wade through bushes to get here -- just to find a light pole. Very odd. I left this picture a little bigger than the one above - maybe someone with good knowledge about light poles and spot something. I need to go back here with a better camera.
Beneath the leaves there is about an inch of soil - and there are a lot of roots in the soil. I dug out two spots with a stick and the soil in both spots was very settled, like it had been there for a long time. And the bottom of that hole below is cement - there is a cement road beneath all that.
So where does it lead? Well, it abruptly stops, fenced off -- and on the other side of that fence, a cemetery. The map says Mount Hope Cemetery. This was taken a bit to the left of where the road was interrupted by fence. Notice anything about this picture? Look in the leaves.
Okay, this picture is real blurry - sorry - but it's clear enough to give you an idea of what's happened here. Flowers and other things left at the graves are being dumped over the fence. Real nice.
This little bear didn't even make it to the other side. Very odd.
This doll, and many, many more, were dumped over the fence. Do people usually leave dolls at grave sites? Do they leave dolls at the graves of children? Who is dumping all the flowers and dolls over the fence? I hate to speculate, but are the cemetery workers dumping this stuff over the fence? Does any other explanation really make sense?
There was also a Puerto Rican flag among the debris discarded over the fence. This place is a mess. Granted, no one travels here much, but that's no reason to dump things that people left on the graves of their loved ones. What the hell is with this area with the way they mistreat the memory of the dead?
This was a little creepy -- someone was here, but what they built, I have no idea. Maybe someone out there can chime in. Too small for a shelter.
A lot of the trees in this section show signs of burning.
After all of that, I found myself on the other side of the fence at the back of the circular field. It's a shame that this sits unused. It would make for a nice Little League field. You would need a traffic light right outside, but this would be a nice sized field for a little league.
I could not make my way around the fence to get back to the street, there were too many obstructions. So I had to climb back up the hill, and found myself back at the cemetery again. It was really a crappy morning to be walking around in the wet woods and right about now I was wanting to go home and get a hot cup of tea inside me.
I took a moment to enjoy the view of the field from a top the hill. You can see the golf course across the street.
So what about that path? Well, below is the overhead view from 1996. You can see an indentation of something, not sure if that's the fence or not. But it appeared to end abruptly in 1996 as well, confirming my suspicions that this roadway had not seen the light of day in many years.
The image below is from 1951 -- and if you look (I've added a red line as a guide) it appears that there used to be a path -- and it appears that it used to run alongside the Interboro. There is a roadway that runs along the Interboro on the other side (heading towards Myrtle Avenue) so this actually makes sense. But some time after 1951, they fenced off the path (probably to make room for more of the cemetery) and from lack of use, it was covered over with dirt and soil. And so, there you have it - you may have been aware of the stairs and the path, but this was a new one for me and I look forward to going back on a better day with a better camera.
If you have any comments, or would like to suggest other projects, drop us a line at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Project Woodhaven's Home Page
Photos by Joey Wendell