Sunday, June 10, 2007

Long Island Railroad Track

I was visiting a friend in Astoria last week and we went for a walk through the Astoria Park before heading out to dinner. On the way to the restaurant, we came upon this structure, which is one of the foundations for the elevated Long Island Railroad (LIRR) tracks high above.

Notice the tip of an apartment building at the middle left of the photo? We wondered how noisy it was living under the railroad tracks. Then a train roared by and it was deafening. The residents who live here must not get a lot of sleep especially during the day when the trains come by every 30 minutes or so.

Most Americans do not use the train to travel from one state to another except maybe in the northeast of the country. I have never been on a train until I moved to New York City. And the longest train ride I ever had was the 10-hour trip from New York City to Toronto, Canada.

Have you ever been on the Orient Express?


Helen said...

I have never been on the Orient Express but I have taken the train from California to NY and back again. I have done this several time. I enjoy train travel!

Oh for the love of food! said...

Gosh, I can imagine the vibration the tenants feel not to mention the noise when the train passes by! I remember my husband once saying how much he appreciates the serenity of the place we now live in compared to where he used to live in singapore where he could hear traffic outside his bedroom window at 6.30am. He now sleeps in till about 9.45am and doesn't take calls from clients before 10.00am.
I recall taking an over night train ride some years back. It was so unmemorable I can't remember the details!

GMG said...

Hi Ming,
Don't think that many people travelling on the Orient Express will be around browsing blogs, though Peter has made a chartered portion of it; I've never been there, but I wouldn't mind catching the next August 31st, 2007 Paris-Istanbul train! Anyhow, I took twice another famous train - the Sud-Express: Paris-Lisbon in 1969 and Lisbon-Paris in 1979. It took around 28 (twenty eight) hours each way, by the time… Great fun!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I suppose that close would create noise. And I am guessing the land was cheap. Or, the railroad paid the owner for the inconvience of sound.

It doesn't much matter to the residents. I would bet if you asked that they would say they don't hear the noise you heard.

I lived about 40 feet from a railroad track in my youth and never heard the trains. I never even felt the house tremble but sometimes I heard the dishes in the cupboard rattle.

I like your photograph of the elevated tracks and tried to guess the age just by looking at the ivy growing up the wall of the foundation. I am guessing about 75 years.

Surprise, surprise, surprise. It's me!
Brookville Daily Photo

Zsolt said...

it can be very noisy to live there..I live like 500 meters away from the railway..but thanks god I cant hear anything:)

Strangetastes said...

Hi, Ming. A couple of things:

There is a Sunnyside reference in my post today with a little question for you.

When I was a kid in Sunnyside, one of my school friends lived on the fourth floor of the building on the northeast corner of 41st Street and Queens Boulevard. His bedroom window faced the el. The family was used to the train noise and they hardly noticed it.

Never done the Oriental Express but my wife and I once took the Palace on Wheels, a train tour that leaves from Delhi, wanders around Rajastan for a week and swings by Agra for the Taj Mahal on the way back. What a blast.

Been meaning to ask you - was your June 1 picture looking to the south across 43rd Avenue?

Are four things a couple?


St. Louis Missouri Daily Photo Blog

Sonia A. Mascaro said...

I have never been travel on the Orient Express and in New York either! But I would love to know both!

What a place to build a building! I like so much those vine on the building!

GE said...

We did a 500-mile round day trip by rail last year - see

Lavenderlady said...

Not the orient Express...but I did use trains a lot when I lived in German in the early 80's. It was a great way to go.

Dsole said...

oh I just love how the green is "wlaking" creeping over the pilar... amazing against gravitity!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I have never been on the Orient Express. No really long train rides either-just local into NYC.

I think if I could run away, I would go to the southwest part of the country. I love the weather & the beautiful colors of the rocks, etc.

jules said...

I did the California to Michigan on Amtrak. That was an quite the adventure, the scenery was great and we got to see a lot of the New Mexican desert because the train broke down and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere til they could sent another engine to move us along. I've also done Southeast Michigan to Chicago a few times.

isabella said...

I travelled around Europe on trains, including the Eurostar (Paris - London). I really enjoy this mode of transportation.

I also took LIRR many times from Westbury to Flushing, NY ;-)

tigerfish said...

I'm always puzzled why most Americans do not use the train to travel from one state to another.
I like how London is connected to Paris by Eurostar and the relatively good connectivity among other European countries such as Belgium, Amsterdam etc.

Is it a chicken and egg problem?

Ex-Shammickite said...

I have never travelled on the Orient Express, and probably never will. The longest train trip I have been on was from Vancouver to Toronto. 3 days I think. The GO commuter train passes the end of my garden 6 times a day (3 there, 3 back) and hoots its horn VERY loudly in the evenings just before crossing the main street, it drives me MAD!!
You asked where I stayed in Queens, the answer is I have no idea, it was about 30 years ago!!!

Sally said...

Longest train trip I have done is Sydney-Perth.

Haven't been on the Orient Express, but have been Istanbul - Alexandropoulis (Greece) by one of the world's slowest trains - I thin it is better now; also several overnight, and really long train trips in China.

And, the Lawnguyland Railroad, and over this viaduct!

Sally said...

Say Happy Birthday to The Queen in Sydney!

Belinda said...

I love train travel - did it quite a bit through Italy and it was a beautiful way to experience the countryside vistas. And the motion of the train always makes me so sleeeeeeepy and relaxed ;o)

But living THAT close to a railroad track would be unbearable I think, or maybe you do zone out if it's just a part of everyday life.

I've not been on the Orient Express either. Where exactly does it travel?

stilettoheights said...

lately in my brain I have been very obsessed with moving to Long Island...I have no idea why, I juts keep thinking about it...sigh

Anonymous said...


happen to be following some links about LIRR and found your photograph.

used to live in Islip, and am a bit of a train nut.

You actually have there a photo of one of the support pillars for the Hell Gate Bridge, which today is used by Amtrak and New York Atlantic RR (the freight railroad of long island)

I can't recall who built the bridge originally but it was used by the New York, New Haven and Hartford RR, the Pennsylavania Railroad, the Penn Central and now Amtrak. Its the way that trains bound for and coming from New England get to Penn Station.

Its a very impressive structure, holding a record for a period of time. Its named after the section of East River it crosses (called Hell Gate because of dangerous currents during certain tides)
The reason its so massive a structure is because it carried heavyweight Locomotives and Passenger cars, as opposed to Elevated subway lines, which were not subject to as heavy Loads.

As I say, being a train nut, I would find living under such a bridge to be very desirable, and would find the sound of passing trains overhead symphonic and soothing, but thats me.

And although i have traveled on many trains in my day, sadly i have not been on the orient express

Bob Flood
Minneapolis, MN