Tuesday, May 6, 2008

REFLECTIONS: My First Jaunt 'Cross Da "Boulevard Of Death".

I was already running/walking long before I took the SFP Track & Field team member sign up sheet from Brother Kent. You can say I was always an adventure punk. One time when I was 12 years old, I decided to go on a trek to the World Trade Center. At that time I lived at 72-11 110th Street in a six-story brownstone in Forest Hills, Queens. It was directly across the street from the Kennedy Building, a skyscraper on the north side of Queens Boulevard.


Marcus Colon, or"Sucram Mucus"as my friend Doug Botero and I used to joke, had met me by our school, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. He wanted to join my insanity. In fact, he was already warming up his craziness, when he ran diagonally across Queens Boulevard .... AGAINST TRAFFIC. Remember, this is Queens Boulevard we are talking about. The Boulevard that was dubbed the name, "Boulevard of Death".

I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember it was unseasonably warm that April month in 1979. We walked down Queens Boulevard, passing Alexander's on 63rd Road, and then Queens Center, a still famous shopping center. Back then Queens Center primarily consisted of another, now-defunct, department store, A&S (Abraham & Strauss). We walked, we jogged, we walked some more. Before long the subway was over our heads, and the Queensboro Bridge was directly in front of us. It was a Saturday, so the pedestrian lane of the bridge was open to the public. But we didn't know any better. Heck, this was the first time I had ever crossed this bridge on foot.

In fact, I barely ever going over this bridge at all, even by car. The only time that I remembered by car was one time when my mother was driving into the city. I had to pee real bad and was about to go in my pants (oh shit...err i mean...oh pee).

She bailed me out with a cup and a blanket. The cup was my toilet. The blanket was to cover me while I did it, so that no one stuck on the bridge with us got a free show. To this day, I don't know whatever happened to that cup o' pee.... Cup' O' Pee... LOL. Sounds like Dunkin' Donuts Box O' Joe. LOL...

Crossing the bridge and getting into "Metropolis" was like finding a buried treasure to me. There is quite nothing more spectacular then arriving into Manhattan. The skyscrapers are both wonderful and intimidating at the same time. And I was 12 years old! Hello! Where were the parents?!

We made it down to Sixth avenue because one time I was at the Fifth avenue book fair, and I remembered it stopped at the arch (Washington Square) only. Avenue of the Americas is a very wide avenue, which helped us to see forever. Even on this mildly hot and very hazy day. We got to the Twin Towers & I felt like I had climbed Mt Everest. We rode the lift to the top. It was amazing. Well worth the 12+mile walk/jog/sprint across red lit roads.

Coming back, we hopped aboard the "E" train at the last stop of the train at the time. For some reason I thought it was Chambers Street, but now as I look, it appears that there is one stop further south called World Trade Center (which is no longer there). Is it possible that stop was added after 1979?


DGA said...

Where were your parents? Your father, who had already divorced your mother and had no custody of you, as per the wonderful NY State laws, where the man is zero and the woman has all the rights in a divorce case, was probably working his ass off, as usual. Your mother, without any doubt, changing the wall paper of her bedroom for the umpteenth time in one year. Your stepfather? Practising the infamous salute "Hail Hitler" as if that bastard was coming back.

Does that answer your curiosity?

Tom@RunnersLounge said...

Just came across your blog and wanted to wish you the best preparing for NYC. I've done it and it will leave you with memories for a lifetime.

Keep up the good running and posting.

Alex Gonzalez said...

Thanks for your words of encouragement Tom. I really love what I do and can't wait for that special moment in November!