For years it was, for me, the Holy Grail of ancient lamppost photo opportunities: an original Corvington lamppost trapped behind the gates of a Con Edison substation like a bug trapped in 10 million year old amber. Years ago I requested access behind the gate to the guard, who almost laughed as part of his negative response. No doubt, trying to shoot through the cyclone fence would also get me shooed away.
But there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
I stood in the middle of Hudson Avenue at Water Street and zoomed in looking north and got a damn fine view of the post, which is on Hudson and the demapped Marshall Street (named for the 4th US Supreme Court Justice). Con Edison built the substation in the 1950s, taking over all properties north of John Street facing the East River between Jay Street and the Navy Yard Basin.
This is about as good a picture as I can get. I notice that the glass diffuser bowl on the Westinghouse AK-10 is missing, as well as the pair of street signs (either “humpbacks” or enamel) that the post once carried. When the lamppost was first placed at Hudson and Marshall in the 1910s or 1920s, it was surrounded by the low-rise dwellings seen to this day in Vinegar Hill, the neighborhood south of Plymouth Street.
The East River and Manhattan’s East River Park can be seen in the background.
“Comment…as you see fit.”