A frequently seen accessory on NYC lampposts in the Fab 50s and on into the Swinging 60s were large, bulky air raid sirens during the height of the Cold War with the Soviets, such as this one seen at Wall and Broad and Nassau Streets, in a different era when traffic was permitted on America’s Main Street of Capitalism. We had one at the 68th Precinct NYPD station at 5th Avenue and 86th Street in Bay Ridge (since moved to 65th Street) and you could hear it sitting in class at St. Anselm School blocks away.

ForgottenFan Wayne Whitehorne:

H.O.R. siren, 5 horsepower model. The very last one was removed in 2006 from the roof of the Sutter Avenue “L” station in Brooklyn, and has been preserved by the Transit Museum. These existed in at least five styles – 2HP (round top), 3HP (three-vane), 5HP (two vane, narrow base), 10HP (two vane, wide base), and “Sirex” (25HP rotating rooftop model). You had to HEAR the Sirex to believe how loud it actually was.

They sounded something like this

Photo: Long Island and NYC Places that are no more Facebook group

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6 Responses to STREET SIRENS

  1. Ed Findlay says:

    Worth noting that the flag there is something even more historic: an extremely rare 49-star flag that existed for just one year: July 4th, 1959 until July 3rd, 1960. The seven rows with seven stars was superseded by the current 50-star design on July 4th, 1960

  2. Earthdog says:

    The towns of Breezy Point and Roxbury in the Rockaways still have a siren system maintained by the local Volunteer Fire Dept. that are sounded at noon every day. You would hear them in Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay if the wind was coming in off the ocean.

  3. Peter says:

    In many parts of the country sirens of this sort are used for tornado warnings.

  4. Lady Feliz says:

    A nice look at Trinity Church before it was cleaned up about 20 years ago. Even congregants who had been attending Trinity for years didn’t realize the Gothic Revival church was really a light brown sandstone color. It acquired so much grime over the years that many assumed it was built with black stone. And dig that 1960 Ford taxi with the red roof!

  5. Steven Green says:

    One on Sheepshead Bay Rd. just west of the subway station. Tested Saturday at noon. May have been a once a month test. Could hear it loud and clear….AND LOUD… about twelve blocks away on East 24th Street.

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