A CORV-ORIGINAL: Longarms of the dawn

by Kevin Walsh

They once proliferated on NYC streets by the thousands: making their debut around 1910, they lit major avenues and boulevards, and any street that was too wide for their predecessors, the Bishop Crooks, to handle. They are, of course, the Corvingtons, so named by former NYC King of Lampposts Jeff Saltzman, who had to relinquish his title about ten years ago when he moved to North Carolina (Bob Mulero and his collection of NYC lamppost photos from 1975 to the present is the modern-day King.)

The Corvs’ main feature is a cross arm that swings over the street, held by a curved bracket with metal scrolling in between. New Corvingtons began to appear around town, most notably on Columbus Avenue at first and then on other main roads all over, including Allerton Avenue in the Bronx and lower 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge. These new incarnations included Twin Corvs on West Street in Manhattan and Jericho Turnpike in Queens, but Twins were never in the original Corv canon.

A clutch of 1940s-era Corvs can still be seen on Greenwich, Washington and Morris Streets on either side of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The city regularly paints them, and some recently received new Bell luminaires. Hard to believe it, but these are the last survivors of a once-proud race.



butchie b September 13, 2013 - 1:27 pm

Kevin I hope this is an old photo. That sign next to the lampost is certainly not ” P C ” look at all the trouble the NFL is having with the Redskins !

Kevin Walsh September 14, 2013 - 4:57 pm

Actually “Indian” is back in favor, though not the unflattering mascots like Wahoo Sam or insulting nicknames like “Redskins”

Old Skool September 13, 2013 - 6:28 pm

I was wondering how to frame a shot of the 1950ish parking garage in the background. Thank you for finding it for me. It is one of the few parking garage with designer cred.

Tal Barzilai September 15, 2013 - 6:55 pm

Hopefully, it won’t be demolished for another run of the mill glass building, though it could if Bloomberg got his way.


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