WESTINGHOUSE AK-10, Kew Gardens Hills, 1999

In 1999 I was walking on the north side of Union Turnpike where it splits in two and becomes the service road for the Interborough (Jackie Robinson) Parkway and then the Grand Central Parkway. I was walking west and had just passed Park Drive East (there is no Park Drive West) and there I saw it in a parking lot, a 1950s-era octagonal lamppost equipped with a Westinghouse AK-10 lamp, or as some call it a “cuplight,” as it appears that you can drink coffee from it if you removed the reflector bowl and tipped it over (it’d hold a couple of quarts). The “cups” were originally incandescent and shone bright yellow.

There was a brief period between the eras of cast-iron lamps and the advent of greenish-white mercury-based lamps in which this variety of post dominated main streets in NYC but its reign was mostly between 1955 and 1960, and this lamp was clearly a leftover from that era in an out-of-the-way parking lot. Soon after I got the photo, the “Westy” was replaced by a bright yellow sodium luminaire.

Today, the Van Wyck Expressway has had a ramp added and this parking lot has been mostly obliterated, except for a narrow driveway.

That car is vintage too, what’s the make? 

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4 Responses to WESTINGHOUSE AK-10, Kew Gardens Hills, 1999

  1. John Shea says:

    It’s a Cadillac, not sure of year, but it is late ’70’s

  2. Mitch45 says:

    The vintage car is a late 1970’s Cadillac Sedan De Ville. Might be a Biarritz model, not sure.

  3. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    I believe the car is a 1980-1984 Cadillac Sedan de Ville or Fleetwood.

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