You’re looking at an increasingly vanishing lamppost specimen located at 5th Ave. and E. 61st Street, in front of the Pierre luxury skyscraper hotel. Slotted Donald Deskey lampposts, designed by the interior Radio City Music Hall industrial architect, began appearing on NYC streets in a pilot program in 1958 and by 1962, were beginning to make major inroads, especially on expressways. The main feature was a shaft with two slots, enabling add-ons like additional masts, some in different sizes, and stoplights to be installed easily.
In 1965, special, bronze-colored Deskeys with two S-shaped masts were installed on 5th Ave. between E. 32nd and E. 61st Streets, so this is the last one in the northern run. They replaced the ornate cast-iron twin lamps that had first appeared in 1890. This twin Deskey has recently had Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps installed on it.
SLECO, which manufactured the Deskeys, stopped producing them in the 1970s, and so while hundreds still remain, new ones haven’t appeared for decades. On 5th Ave., when one of the Specials fails, it’s replaced by whatever the Department of Transportation has available in its lamppost yard in Sunnyside.
It’s time for 5th Ave. to receive a new, unique design of distinctive lampposts!
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