NYC Water Tunnel No. 3: Bulova Corporation Site Visit

The contention around building a new valve chamber and shafts near the Bulova Corporation Headquarters in Jackson Heights is well documented. Several articles published in since 1994 discuss the site as an impasse in Water Tunnel No. 3’s continuation through Queens and Brooklyn. Our conversation with Local 147 Union Leader Richard Fitzsimmons led us to believe that the site has nearly been secured after nearly 25 years. Community resistance in an area that has already been severed several times by major parkways, industrial yards, and the LaGuardia airport fly zone is understandable. Walking around the site, I noticed the general disrepair of sidewalks, roads, and other basic infrastructure. The sound of light rain was interrupted every few minutes with the roar of planes swooping in to land just north. Many residences had for-sale signs on them. Despite the rain, however, I got the sense that people did occupy the public realm; well-furnished porches and front yards, playgrounds, and soccer fields indicated a level of community investment. Crossing over the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the atmosphere changed: lights dimmed, life disappeared. St. Michael’s Graveyard takes up most of the block under which the new valve chamber will be stationed. The western edge is occupied by U-Haul and FedEx lots, the vacant Bulova Offices, and other industrial-scale operations. There didn’t seem to be much here to disrupt.
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