Motion and Emotion
by Josh Lehman
Sunnyside may be secluded, but it isn't isolated.
I fondly remember my father lifting his Rudge - Whitworth "English racer" from our basement, to be joined by neighbor Phil Pinkus and his vintage BSA paratrooper bike. Off they would pedal through the wilds of Woodside, Jackson Heights, and Corona, to the verdant expanse of Flushing Meadow Park.
A less serene image was that of the mighty steam engines powering occasional Long Island Rail Road trains, just past the Sunnyside Gardens Park. They dominated the neighborhood with their thunderous noise and billowing smoke, traveling eastward toward the Island.
Other trains evoked distinctive memories. The nightly Canadian National sleeper to Montreal diverged from the Long Island main line adjacent to Sunnyside, continuing towards the Hell Gate Bridge and points north. I still remember its distinctive whistle melody (long long short long) as it changed direction, and its maple leaf markings. Watching that train pass from my bedroom window was pure rail romance, a memorable link to the wider world.
Before the big box retailers emerged on 48th Street near Northern Boulevard, big box warehouses once stood. I passed them twice daily, walking to and from Bryant High. One of the warehouses, for example, handled steel shipments. The Youngstown Cartage rigs hauling beams reminded me regularly that there was another world far beyond Sunnyside.
Motion and emotion were strongly intertwined for me in Sunnyside, then as now.