WALKER TWIN RETURNS!

by Kevin Walsh

The Department of Transportation recently removed a vintage Type 24 hybrid Twin at the corner of 6th Avenue and Walker Street in Tribeca to effect street repairs. While I had despaired the classic post was gone for good, it does have NYC Landmarks status, and the Department of Transportation had to put it back or at least try to. They met their obligations and it was back in place in February 2019, with a partial paint job.

Classic “Twins” of the original variety were first installed on 5th Avenue in 1896; only one of those survives, in partial form, at Madison Square, 5th Avenue and East 23rd Street. A newer design first appeared in the 1910s and both the original and the second version dominated 5th Avenue, using a variety of lighting fixtures but ultimately finishing with Bells, until 1965 when special bronze-colored Donald Deskey twin designs were installed. By 2019, only a handful of those posts remain; most were taken out by 34th Street Partnership twin posts.

Type 24 Twins, however, as well as their original design, were used elsewhere in town — they came in handy when a boulevard had a center median (Twins dominated Queens Boulevard until 1969) and were even used in Midtown streets with busy sidewalks; I’ve seen them in widespread use in old photos on 7th Avenue.

6th Avenue, though, doesn’t seem to have been a particular bailiwick for the Twins. Photos from the NYC Municipal Archives, taken in 1940, reveal that the southern end of 6th Avenue employed longarmed “Corvingtons” while uptown, as far as Central Park, Bishop Crooks were employed. I imagine that this number, on Walker Street, was installed relatively late, in the 1940s, and may have been a case of the then-Department of Traffic using whatever they had in the yard. NYC King of Lampposts Bob Mulero‘s archives show that originally the post sported a pair of incandescent gumball fixtures.

This post seems to be a hybrid of a Type 24 Twin and a Type 24-W Bishop Crook, which are recognizable by lengthy unadorned shafts. The DOT did spiff it up a bit, with a new paint job. However, the central section was left alone; perhaps it was too rusted for a new paint job. Elsewhere, the finial at the top of the pole broke off long ago and has not been replaced, and the pair of sodium Holophane bucket lights it was assigned in the 1980s have not been replaced by modern LED Bells.

Also note that its 1980s-era “Avenue of the Americas” sign, with “AVENUE OF THE” emphasized over “AMERICAS” (in the sign shop, the order was, the first line is bigger; the rule was “followed out the window” as people in the type biz say.

It’s sort of a missed opportunity to make this treasure all that it once was and bring it back to glory. At least it’s back.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

Photos: Bob Mulero

2/26/19

2 comments

S. Saltzman February 26, 2019 - 2:31 pm

It looks almost like that unpainted pipe had slid into the bottom section of the pole so the painters missed it. It didn’t appear again until the pole was erected.

Reply
Evan F. Boccardi May 10, 2019 - 11:40 pm

I work right across the street at 32 6th Avenue, and I was in mourning when they removed this. I was elated to see it return!

Reply

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