As its name suggests, Springfield Boulevard in southern Queens used to run past a field with a spring from which a stream originated. That stream is Thurston Creek, which its had its source near Springfield Boulevard and 121st Avenue, across from Montefiore Cemetery in the neighborhood of Springfield Gardens. It flowed south along Springfield Boulevard for nearly three miles, emptying into Jamaica Bay.
The creek emerges to the surface in Springfield Park, a 24-acre green space where the creek flows through a brick channel, widening into Cornell’s Pond before continuing south into the Idlewild marshes.
My fascination with all things GIS often brings me to take a closer look at the old maps hanging throughout NYC Parks facilities. They have so much to show for things that are no longer here, things that never got built, and the altered shorelines of the city’s waterways.
Long before the tractors and construction cranes arrived, most of the city’s streets were mapped out in a grid pattern that demonstrated little respect for the landscape and the waterways. Continue reading
This week’s selected photo comes from Vincent Seyfried and William Asadorian’s book Old Queens, N. Y. in Early Photographs, a collection of 261 photos from the prewar borough. Back then, winters were longer and colder, there were more waterways on the landscape and more ice skating locations. The authors found this postcard image in the Queens Library’s archives.
This 1905 scene was at Baylis’ Pond in Springfield Gardens, at the present-day corner of 219th Street and 141st Avenue. Continue reading