The Twin, originally produced for use on 5th Avenue at the dawn of the electrified lamppost era in the 1890s, originally had a different design (the mast of one of those originals can still be seen at the NE corner of 5th Avenue and East 23rd Street at Madison Square). Later, a modified design that set the template for subsequent Twinlamps appeared on 5th Avenue, and by the time 5th Avenue’s Twins were torn down in 1965, it was about 50/50 between the originals and the modifieds.

Both the original and modified Twin designs can be seen scattered around town throughout the 20th Century. The Twin was a favored design for roads with a separated median, and was used on roads that had them such as Queens Boulevard.

By the late 20th and early 21st Century, older Twins had become rare and could be found on occasion on 5th Avenue and City Hall Park, with lone wolves on 6th Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue uptown (the latter a monumental Twin that was only used at major intersections).

However, the City began installing new Twins on a limited basis, like this one on West 42nd Street in front of Bryant Park, and also on Central Park West from Columbus Circle north to West 81st Street. These new Twins have garlands winding around the shaft, which wasn’t in the first Twin designs.


Categorized in: One Shots Street Lamps


  1. The retro Twinlamps on CPW were placed after the Cat In The Hat balloon accident, replacing the fake Corvingtons that proved to be less than sturdy in an accident. To give the balloons extra clearance, these Twins are placed sideways (parallel to the sidewalk). They extend from Columbus Circle all the way to West 81st Street.


    • Glen Norman says:

      A few years ago, when the Macy’s Parade route was switched to Sixth Avenue, I recall the mast arms on the retro twins between 40th and 42nd Streets being rotated 90 degrees so that they too were now parallel to the street. (The corner-most poles at 40th and 42nd were not flipped). Yet last year when I went by, the arms had been rotated again, back to their “normal” positions. Anyone recall that? (Or, was I just having another one of my episodes)?

      • Ken B says:

        While you may also be having another episode you are correct about the rotation of the mast arms. Immediately before the Macy*s Parade the DOT rotates all the arms to clear the streets of overhangs on the parade route. Sometimes this will require contractors to make temporary changes to existing sidewalk shed protection to make the arms accessible. Immediately after the parade the process is reversed, including restoration of any modifications to sidewalk sheds.

        • Glen Norman says:

          And this year, my walk-by in mid-December revealed the mast arms had been rotated again–parallel to the street. This time, the corner lights were flipped, too. NYCDOT is a little late in returning them to their normal position. Then again, I guess the City has more important matters to deal with these days.

  2. Roger_the_Shrubber says:

    The old-style lamp posts are aesthetically pleasing and make the city a more attractive place to live.

    It seems the word “progress” these days means anything new that is uglier, blander and more soulless than what came before. I am always suspicious of anything described as “progressive.”

  3. Eric says:

    Those are not “acanthus garland winding around the shaft”. They don’t wind nor look like that.

  4. D.B. says:

    Why aren’t this type used instead of the clumbsy, stupid looking twin Corvington design?

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