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What actually divides Queens and Brooklyn? There’s no great wall or border patrol to mark the line between Brooklyn and Queens. The Queens-Brooklyn border issue has been confounding the two boroughs, especially residents of Ridgewood and Bushwick, for hundreds of years.

Image source: Google Maps

Back in the day, street signs were color coded per borough, so all you had to do was look up. If the sign was blue, you were in Queens and if it was black and white, Brooklyn. Especially useful for those post-bar late night taxi rides. This was phased out in the 1980s when the city ruled all signs must be in reflective white lettering.

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A group of researchers from NYU Polytechnic has sent a roving, camera-equipped robot into the Gowanus Canal to capture images and collect water quality data from the sewage-laced Superfund site. Now Brooklyn Atlantis has posted its latest set of panoramic images on Google Maps, enabling anyone to take a look at construction sites along the waterfront, like the Batcave or Lightstone’s 700-unit project on Bond Street, or just see what it’s like to explore the canal from water level. Check it out here, and take a look at the water quality data and find out how you can help with the research.

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Brooklyn Paper created this awesome interactive map of construction in Downtown Brooklyn, which has 62 buildings under way, according to a report from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. The neighborhood will have 18,701 new apartments when all the planned construction finishes, and 43.5 percent of apartments in the pipeline will be affordable. But only 9.9 percent of completed apartments are subsidized now.

Public schools in the area are already crowded, and there aren’t any new public schools planned to support the residential boom, according to the paper. Also under construction are six hotels with a planned 1,730 rooms. If Brooklyn hosts the 2016 DNC Convention, only half those rooms will be ready in time.

Map: Downtown Construction, All of It [BK Paper]

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Over on Pinterest we caught sight of this cool mapping site via Queens Mamas. Stamen makes it easy for anyone to create a map with different textures – Toner, Terrain, Watercolor, Burning Map, and Trees, Cabs & Crime (only available in SF right now). We decided to check out Queens (of course!) with the various options. First is Toner (“These high-contrast B+W (black and white) maps are featured in our Dotspotting project. They are perfect for data mashups and exploring river meanders and coastal zones.”):

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Rockaway firehouse a landmark

We learned that last night the Landmarks Preservation Commission scheduled a vote on city landmark designation for five firehouses throughout the city. One is Engine Co. 268/Hook and Ladder 137 on Beach 116th St in the Rockaways. It survived Hurricane Sandy. LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said about the firehouses, “Each of these buildings is a clear expression of civic spirit and pride of purpose that existed at the time they were built and continue to this day in our city’s municipal architecture. The FDNY has done an exemplary job of protecting these structures that have a vital role in protecting New Yorkers, and we’re grateful for its support of the proposals to landmark them.”

Congratulations, firehouses, you’re now landmarks!

Blast from the past – Broad Channel in 1903

The Rockaway Emergency Plan Facebook page posted this great image of Broad Channel on the front of the NY Tribune in 1903. Click to enlarge. The rowboat feels very Dawson’s Creek.

 

Image source: Rockaway Emergency Plan Facebook page

Valentine’s Day deals in Sunnyside

Our friends at Sunnyside Shines alerted us to all sorts of Valentine’s Day deals – drink specials, prix fixes, and sales, all in Sunnyside. Check it out! And remember, if you’re looking to celebrate in an unconventional way, check out our list of alternative Valentine’s Day dates in Queens.

Innocents Abroad hit Corona at Tortilleria Nixtamal

Two young Manhattan-based women, Kate and Nora, travel around NYC (they’ve been globe trotters, too), learning about various cultures through its food, and recently landed in Corona, Queens, where they ate delicious noms at Tortilleria Nixtamal. They even learned how to make tamales from the folks at Nixtamal! Nice.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59381853]

Maps, maps, maps galore

We love maps at QueensNYC and like to feature interesting ones from time to time. We did a roundup of maps we’ve shared over the past months, including those having to do with voting patterns, top dog names, dating issues, and transit outages, among others. And if there are maps you love that you think we should know about, email us.

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Over the months, we’ve featured a number of maps on QueensNYC – what can we say, we think maps are pretty interesting, especially the interactive ones. Here’s a roundup of maps that have caught our eye – we hope you enjoy them a second time around!

1940s New York: See what your neighborhood used to be like with this interactive map

Using this interactive map, republished by the CUNY Graduate Center from a 1943 “NYC Market Analysis” newspaper feature, we can see snapshots of what life used to be like back in the day. The roads looked a lot calmer, with only a few cars and no lane markings; vertical store signs were abundant on commercial streets, too. The original population statistics and real estate information are viewable on the website as well.

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If you’ve paid attention to the flooding in the Rockaways from Hurricane Sandy, it’s probably not a surprise that much of Howard Beach (GMAP) is now considered to be in a flood zone in the new FEMA maps, which were released last week. The Queens Chronicle reports that the flood zone includes “the entire neighborhood south of the Belt Parkway and a section of Lindenwood west of 84th Street are now considered flood hazard zones.”

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Image source: NY Observer

The NY Observer reports that new “wayfinding” signs – big laser-etched glass maps – will be installed in four neighborhoods in NYC, Long Island City being one of them. The other three neighborhoods are Midtown, Chinatown, and Prospect Heights/Western Crown Heights. A total of 150 signs will be installed in these neighborhoods starting in March 2013. Hopefully this will help both tourists and locals figure out where they are/where they are going – DOT estimates 1 in 10 of us get lost each week, 1 in 3 New Yorkers can’t tell in which direction they’re facing, and 1 in 4 visitors did not know what borough they were in when queried.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons – long gas lines

We’ve come across some online resources that may help you in your search for gasoline, whether it’s to power your car, generator, or whatever else you need to handle life in this post-Sandy world.

A collaborative document from Hackpad (“small collaborative documents”) called hurricanesandy-gasmap-projects, holds a lot of info and is a bounty of links to online gas finding resources. You may edit it yourself with helpful, applicable info, but please be careful to not overwrite anything else on the page.

Here are some links directly to the gas finder pages:

Need Gas? This is a collaborative map document indicates Open, Sold Out, and Charging Station with green, red, and yellow map markets, respectively. The page was created by Scholars Organizing Culturally Innovative Opportunities, a youth mapping initiative that gained popularity at Franklin High School in Franklin County, NJ in 2010. Their Facebook group is located at Find Gas Stations?