Looking At Woodhaven


We all see Woodhaven in our daily travels. Whether that be on walks to Jamaica Avenue to shop or strolls with the dog to stretch our collective legs. It’s easy to take notice of things that seem out of place or new. It’s programmed into our internal mechanisms. The new store that just opened or the longtime favorite that just closed down. There’s the new family that recently moved on the block. The person or persons too causally walking down a street where you know they don’t live. We all do it.

But this Labor Day my wife and I took a page out of Ed Wendell of ProjectWoodhaven.com’s book and hit the streets of Woodhaven with a camera in search of unique but recognizable photo opportunities. You know, the ones you say “that’s cool and I’ve seen it somewhere before”. Now we tend to like film rather than silicon but after today I can see the benefits of a nice digital SLR.

If the truth needs to be told, we were looking for shots that would look great framed and in any of our neighborhood homes. Pictures that would be a daily reminder of the uniqueness that is our community or would conjure up memories for those who may have left but still hold a place in their hearts for Woodhaven.

So we loaded a 24 shot roll of 400 speed Fuji Film into the Canon and hit the streets with only a vague idea of where we would go. The task made all the more difficult because, in our mind’s eye, so much has changed in Woodhaven that hardly an alumni of 11421 would remember it.

As we turned off of Atlantic Avenue onto 85th Street we thought why not take a picture of St. Thomas The Apostle Church. We’ve all seen pictures of STA with the telephone and electric lines draped across the front but we wanted to capture something different. We had left the house with only the 70-210mm optical zoom lens (eat your heart out mid-range digital camera folks!) so we were limited in our ability to frame the shot. So off we went to the corner of 88th Street and 88th Avenue to expand the range. And there it was, a great shot limited to just the steeple and cupola. Same church but a different interpretation.

Time and again we approached memorable and new landmarks that just looked so different when you actually had to stop and see them through focused eyes (or lenses). All in all we were quite happy with all 24 of the pictures we had taken. Unfortunately, film needs to be developed, so we will not have them for a few days. But rest assured we will post them when the CD comes back with the prints.

So next time you’re dashing to shopping or taking care of canine business, slow down and absorb some of your surroundings. You’ll be surprised what you might see and you’ll appreciate it all the more.

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