WHITE TOWER, Woodside

Commuter and intercity rail connecting NYC and New England has run over these elevated tracks at Northern Boulevard and Broadway since the Hell Gate Bridge was constructed in 1916-1917. Here the line has just emerged from the Sunnyside Yards and the tunnel to Penn Station. It will soon join with the NY Connecting Railroad at 25th Avenue and cross the bridge across Randalls Island and into the Bronx. The supporting columns here were clad with concrete when it was built — but the concrete is now crumbling off.

The trestle is part of one of the most amazing transportation projects ever built: the tunneling of the Hudson River; the construction of the cavernous original Penn Station, bulldozed from 1963-1966; and the Hell Gate Bridge, completed in 1916, a relative golden age of railroading in NYC.

In the early 1920s a series of “White” themed fast food restaurants began to pop up all over the country. There was White Castle — still going strong and, in fact, the one at Northern and Bell Boulevards a few miles to the east is in one of the original locations. (I like the fare, but it tends to give your webmaster the repeats). There are the White Manna and White Mana hamburger shacks in Jersey City and Hackensack. In the early 2010, hamburgers are bigger then ever with Five Guys and Shake Shacks popping up like weeds all over the metropolitan area. Then, there was White Tower…

The Orange Hut at Broadway and 54th Street still carries the outlines and contours of its former life as a White Tower hamburger chain restaurant. The last White Tower closed in Toledo, OH in June 2008; the chain originated in 1926. There were about 230 White Towers at the chain’s height in the 1950s.

The restaurants have operated in at least 14 states, including New York, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

The interior of the Orange Hut still contains some hints of its origins, such as swivel stools adjoining a counter.

1/28/15


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6 Responses to WHITE TOWER, Woodside

  1. Larry says:

    As a kid, I remember having a burger and coke at the White Tower at 168th Street and Broadway where the NJ buses had their parking lot terminals prior to the Uptown Port Authority bus station being built…The burger was just great…

    • Danny S. says:

      I remember one on the NW corner of 207th St. and Broadway. The building has now been torn down and it is currently a construction site.

  2. John says:

    Do they still have Orange Julius stands? This reminded me.

  3. Mike says:

    My grandmother lived about two blocks from there in the 60’s and into the 70’s, and we used to walk right in front of that White Tower whenever we went to visit. Although we were all burger fans, we never ate there – it didn’t smell very good, and even the windows were greasy. I can remember taking her deposit bottles back to the supermarket that was in between the White Tower and the elevated line shown in the pic, sneaking looks in the door and trying to puzzle out why White Castle and White Tower were so different.

  4. steve says:

    Another: Western Canada has White Spot family restaurants.

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