Blog Post #2

Rockaway Beach 116th Street is the last stop on the A train. There were few people on the train at by this stop. As soon as I got out of the station, I noticed a strange quietness to the place. Was I still in the city? My doubt was quickly broken by a man on the street asking for money, reminding me that I was indeed still in the city. Except for the aircraft flying into JFK, Rockaway beach seemed devoid of the sounds and noises that typify New York City. Although the neighborhood was populated, there was a sense of calmness to the place, the kind I associate with places to retire.

The beach was a short walk from the train station on 116th St. Restaurants and Delis lined the sides of the street. The beach itself was clean and peaceful. I watched and listened to the waves rolling back and forth along the beach. There were people sunbathing and sitting in the sand. I walked along the boardwalk where I saw others walk and cycle by. I continued along the boardwalk until I hit a dead end. The boardwalk stopped abruptly on 126th St. The only options were to continue on the sand, go back to where I came from, or to walk through the residential area.

I opted to walk through the residential area. Both sides of the road were lined with cars. Many homes had 2, 3, or even 4 cars parked in their driveways. I was certain I saw more cars in Rockaway beach than I saw people. Walking across the neighborhood to the other side of Rockaway Beach, there were no pedestrian crossings. Feeling fearful, I looked both ways and sprinted across the road when I saw no cars coming. Drawing on Massumi, the quality of the affect was immediate, and its intensity palpable. My heart rate returned to normal after I reached the other side of the road. After walking along a dirt trail (there was no sidewalk on one side of the road) and catching a glimpse of the New York City Skyline, I headed back to the train station to relieve myself (I did not come across any public bathrooms) and catch the train home.

If I were to capture the overarching affect of my visit, it would be one of eeriness and a feeling of being out of place. Drawing on Brennan, the lack of public amenities and infrastructure in the built environment transmitted the affect of alienation to me as a pedestrian in a overwhelmingly suburban space. This compounded with the supposed public status of the space and its situation in New York City indeed produced several conflicting affects within me.

On the way back, I asked myself, would I go back? Probably not until I get a car, I thought.

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~ by stanleyzuo95 on February 20, 2017.

One Response to “Blog Post #2”

  1. I thought that this was incredibly engaging. I appreciated the creative approach to the idea of affect, and felt as if it conveyed an incredibly affective tone. I thought this was successfully done because I felt very intrigued in Rockaway and its atmosphere.

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