Here Be Dragons (1)
When I explore New York City it's at the slow, deliberate pace of a long-distance jog. Most of the more obscure parts of the city that I've managed to scuff with the soles of my shoes, I first saw on the third or fourth or fifth or sixth mile of a Saturday run. One of the most memorable is a brief stretch of Eliot Avenue in the heart of Queens.
Eliot Avenue runs from Queens Boulevard in Rego Park to Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village. Rego Park is a bustling residential area full of markets and large apartment buildings that cluster around the intersection of 63rd Drive and Queens Boulevard, one of the borough's major thoroughfares. As Eliot slices through central Queens the clamor of the cars fades, the towering postwar apartment buildings give way to squat, brick row-houses with porches and basement apartments. The trees become somewhat more frequent and the sidewalks a bit less busy.
With little warning, as the avenue crests a hill deep in the neighborhood, the brick and cement and glass give way entirely to a vast cemetery. Gravestones and crypts, knobs of grass and stone memorials; the only hint of the city glistening at the tip of One World Trade Center past miles over miles of faint car horns and the murmur of urban life.