At some point in the Super 70s — I forget which year now — the Department of Transportation thought that some Garment District side streets needed some extra illumination for the sidewalks. This part of midtown features block after block of tall masonry towers erected in the 1920s and 1930s, and much of the Garment District still looks like it must have looked in those years. I’ll never hear the end of this (firstname.lastname@example.org) but for my intents and purposes, the Garment District runs between Broadway and 8th Avenue and between West 27th and 39th Streets. As it happens, I’ve worked in the Garment District frequently, first at a foreign language typesetter on West 29th called ANY after the initials of its founders (I handled everything but Cyrillic type); I worked nights at a long-gone firm on West 38th called Line & Tone; as a copywriter at Macy’s from 2000 to 2004; and more recently, freelanced for a short time at Fitch Group, a legal publisher on West 28th.
What the DOT did on West 35th through 38th between Broadway and 8th was place white mercury bulbs inside large, bulbous, white globular luminaires, the better to reflect the white glow a considerable distance. They were mounted on the sharply curved masts used in Donald Deskey posts or the more gradual curved masts used in cobra neck posts, and in each case, the shorter models used under elevated trains.
Well, as the years went on the DOT gradually switched out the big white globes in favor of high intensity sodium lamps, or in the case of West 35th, installed both retro Bishop Crooks or in some cases, the abominable posts installed by the 34th Street BID (I suppose if these ever get rare, I’ll change my tune).
However, a pair of the Globes are left, here on West 36th near Broadway, and another one over on West 38th. As you can see, this one’s a bit wobbly, as it needs tape to keep it in place.
I’ve always ignored these Garment District lamps…but now that they’re rare…well, you know the score.