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I took this photo on Montague and Clinton Streets in Brooklyn Heights, where a quartet of old-style subway entrance lamps have been preserved (or, as I suspect, made new to match the old styles). At one time all subway staircase entrances carried lamps like this, with the BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) marked with green and Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) marked with dark blue. I was shooting for the ForgottenBook and was using black and white film.

In the 1980s, remaining lamps of this type were re-fitted with red or green globes or half-globes. Green meant the entrance was open 24/7, while red meant it was closed part of the time, as of the 1990s, you could get in with a MetroCard.

At first, there were also yellow lamps, which indicated you could get in part of the time, but after the rise of the MetroCard they were dropped.

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Categorized in: One Shots Subways & Trains


  1. Old Skool says:

    Kevin, I like the B&W, very old school. Ha Ha.

  2. chris says:

    In 1966 that station was closed for a bunch of construction work.One night I snuck into the station and found these emergency stairs that zigzagged down and down and down………..and the workers drew obscene pictures on the walls!!!!
    I finally gave up and went back up the stairs to the street.Took me 10 minutes to finally reach streetlevel.

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