Photo Shuffle-The Queens Curve

I pressed play on my Ipod and this is what I heard….Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard By Paul Simon

'The Queens Curve'
‘The Queens Curve’

Those of you who have been following me for awhile now know that last year at this time (more or less) we moved to Queens after years in Manhattan. I have touched on this in a few posts already, but when I am playing Photo Shuffle, I have to follow the rules, so this change to our lives is coming up again. Not that it is a problem at all. This song, and the artistry of Paul Simon are far from being a chore to write about.  Paul Simon needs no introduction of course, be it as a solo artist or as one half of Simon & Garfunkel. As a songwriter he is right up there with the best of them. I have always loved the ‘pictures’ he paints with his songs. Little stories and vignettes that though they are not bound to the New York zeitgeist, certainly feel like an integral part of them. It may have only been an afterthought as a lyric, but his song Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard will be forever linked not only with the neighborhood of Corona, but of Queens itself.

Depending on the map, and depending on who you ask (opinions strongly differ) we either live in Astoria or Long Island City, Queens. So not a Paul Simon neighborhood (he is from Forest Hills) but an integral part of the pulse in this borough regardless. To be honest,  I had kind of a snobs attitude to Queens for much of my life. Though we moved from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn when I was young, I always figured that Brooklyn would wind up being my life someday. I was born there and work there currently after all.

But now that I am in Queens I must confess that I freaking love it. The diversity of cultures, the old school attitude and presence that still can be found on Broadway (the Queens one!), Steinway Street, Northern Boulevard, Ditmars, and beyond. Lots of great restaurants and bars, non-chain stores, and a more relaxed atmosphere add to the enjoyment. Queens people really take pride in their neighborhoods and in this past year I have to admit that I feel the same way. After years of living in Manhattan, I really feel at home here now

There are several ways to come in and out of Queens. For me there is essentially only one way. A long trudge from our apartment to 31st Street to catch the subway. Coming home though, on an always crowded train no matter what time of day or night on the N/Q line, you inevitably encounter what I call the Queens Curve. After the train emerges from the tunnel, it rises towards the elevated station at Queens Plaza, where it remains until the end of the line at Ditmars Boulevard. Upon leaving Queens Plaza the train takes a sharp left hand turn before running along 31st Street. This is clearly delineated by a water tower sitting prominently above the line. For one glorious moment, as the N or Q plods along,  other trains running in divergent directions seem to intersect at the Queens Curve. For that singular moment, the lines of Queens converge. It is Astoria. It is Rego Park. It is Forest Hills.  It is Corona. It is Jamaica, all at once. It is home. So every night when I round the ‘Queens Curve’ I know I am home.

Although the song by Paul Simon has nothing to do with any of this, anyone from Queens knows of what I speak. We also know that Paul Simon is a treasure, not only of Queens, but music in general.  Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard has long been one of my favorite songs by him. That funky little acoustic guitar riff, the whistling, and the percussion, with the distinctive Cuica drum combine for one of those songs you just can’t help bopping along to. I hope you do too!

Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard-Written By Paul Simon

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

*Photo Shuffle is a new, very short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.



22 thoughts on “Photo Shuffle-The Queens Curve

  1. Hey.l was born in Queens. Rockaway Beach and lived in Ozone Park the first six years of my life! (Then Long Island and into Manhattan). Queens gets a bad rap and like you, my middle son lives in Astoria/LI City–we are still unsure. But, I love the neighborhood and its restaurants AND the fact that when I visit him I can always find a parking spot. THAT is super important. And I LOVE that Queens curve! OMG. I love it! Thank you for brightening up my Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I brightened up your Saturday! Yes the line between the two neighborhoods may never be known lol. Technically we are really LIC, but I feel like I live in Astoria 🙂 Its a great neighborhood. Still finding new stuff literally every weekend!


  2. First thing that came to mind while watching the video is that it had a Sesame Street vibe to it! I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Kwame and Bismarkie at the beginning! Now that took me waaaay back. Not to mention I completely forgot Spud Webb even existed. What is it with New Yorkers and basketball anyway? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I said to Liza in the comments, I could have picked just the song, but I love this clip with those guys. Not to mention Mickey Mantle. I loved when Paul Simon gets a strike on him lol! Spud Webb was awesome, used to love watching him. Must have been because I am short myself! I can understand the Sesame Street reference, it did have that kind of feel, with the kids, and the girls doing double dutch (which anytime I see kids doing that I must stop and watch them), Thanks as always my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing more of your life with us. It’s the little things, like “The Queens Curve”, that we who don’t experience it love hearing about. I love hearing about a place from a person who knows it well because it’s the little details that make it very special.

    I always love your posts! Well done! {hugs}

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Top Posts Of 2016 | Soundtrack Of A Photograph

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