ROCKAWAY CORVINGTON, Springfield Gardens

by Kevin Walsh

Original specimens of the Type 24M cast-iron lamppost, what Jeff’s Streetlight Site‘s Jeff Saltzman (he abdicated his crown of King of NYC Lampposts to Bob Mulero after he moved to North Carolina) dubbed “Corvingtons” are few and far between these days, with the only remaining numbers found in streets surrounding the Manhattan entrance/exit of the Hugh Carey Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. There are some similar Type G posts to be found on the grounds of Stuyvesant Town and the Botanic Garden in the Bronx, but that’s it.

New Yorkers are quite familiar with the style, though, since hundreds of reproductions have found their way to routes in every borough.

I located this beauty on the north side of Rockaway Boulevard just west of Guy Brewer Boulevard in Springfield Gardens in 1999. Bob Mulero had found it a bit earlier and got this shot in 1993. By the time I found it, the pole had begun to list a little. I have no idea if the incandescent Bell fixture lit up at night. By 2001, just the base remained; there may have been an accident, or the Department of Transportation took note of the list and removed it. No trace of the pole exists today.

As an added attraction, the pole still had its decades-old signage pointing traffic to the Queens Midtown Tunnel and Triborough Bridge. When the signs were installed, the Belt Parkway, a few blocks west, was probably your best bet to attain both, though different roads would need to be accessed in between. 

These signs were shape and color-coded. Signs pointing to bridges were arrowhead-shaped or triangular, and in red, white and blue, while signs pointing to tunnels were spherical and in white and black or gold and black.

Rockaway Boulevard was built in the 1800s as the Rockaway Plank Road and connects the undefended Brooklyn-Queens border at Eldert Lane with the Five Towns area on the Rockaway peninsula. Amazingly it was a NYC “lamppost graveyard” in its southern stretch, with a few poles like this one scattered along its length as recently as the 1990s. On a bike ride from Bay Ridge in 1975, I found an army of short Type F poles on the stretch bordering Hook Creek Park and JFK Airport. At that part of the road, the city was using shorter poles to avoid lights resembling airport runways. 

This was way before the days I started carrying a camera everywhere, and the memory is burned into my brain cells. I doubt anyone ever photographed that remote stretch of Rockaway Boulevard, which is unremarkable in every other aspect.

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JD October 2, 2018 - 2:48 pm

Springfield Gardens…where I went to junior high (JHS 231) and high school. Ahhh…memories.

Patrick October 3, 2018 - 6:50 am

Love the deteriorated signs to Queens Midtown Tunnel and would that be Whitestone Bridge? Both are a long ways from this location!

William Mangahaas October 3, 2018 - 3:57 pm

I remember that stretch of Rockaway Blvd in the 70’s.

It was like a forgotten time warp in a city full of mercury and sodium vapor streetlights.

Andy October 4, 2018 - 9:39 pm

Remember the dwarf Type Fs on Rockaway Blvd. even in the mid-1950s (yes, I’m old enough). When I was young I did not make the connection between the dwarf lampposts and the proximity to the airport. When I got my driver’s license in the mid-60s I remember driving on the Grand Central alongside LaGuardia, where the lampposts (the newer aluminum types) were also dwarf style, and then it all made sense.


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