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In Long Island City, a Community Seeks to Reclaim an Urban Wilderness

Welcome back to Camera Obscura, Curbed's series of photo essays by Nathan Kensinger. This week, a look at the possibilities for the Montauk Cutoff in Long Island City, Queens.

Up on the old Montauk Cutoff, the last freight train has passed and nature is now having its way. Pokeweed, mugwort, and white snakeroot have sprung up between the railroad ties, mimosa trees and oak saplings are growing from abandoned sidings, and feral cats sun themselves along the line's six bridges, which connect the Newtown Creek with the Sunnyside Yards. Constructed in the early 1900s, the cutoff runs just one-third of a mile, traveling above some of the last industrial streets in Long Island City, Queens. After a slow decline of many years, it has now been deemed inefficient and unnecessary, and most of its length is being decommissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has put forth a call for ideas, hoping to find someone to reimagine its future. "It's pretty rare to have a segment of track like this one," said Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA. "We'd love to see a broad, creative range of ideas come forward."

Head on over to Curbed NY for the full story. >>