On 6th Avenue looking north at West 14th Street, a changing of the lamppost guard is imminent. A brand new set of aluminum octagonal-shafted poles have just been installed, sporting new General Electric Form 409 mercury lamps that gave a greenish-white light (instead of the prevailing yellow incandescent lighting at the time). You can see a remaining cast iron Twin with a globular fire alarm indicator on the corner.
The Form 109s, common in other cities, were only used in NYC on 6th Avenue and were relatively short-lived. By the mid-1960s, most had been replaced by NYC’s more common lighting, GE’s M400s and Westinghouse’s OV-25 Silverliners, the two models that would joust for NYC street lighting supremacy until 1968. That year, bright yellow sodium would be introduced along 6th Avenue and the braced masts would be replaced by higher, curving cobra necked masts. That style would come to dominate NYC streets until the LED Revolution of the mid-2010s.
In addition, in 1945 6th Avenue had been renamed Avenue of the Americas, with all official letterheads and street signs carrying the ungainly name. In 1960, the avenue received the Medallions of the Hemisphere, metal signs carrying coats of arms of the members of the Organization of American States in North, South and Central America. Most remained until the 1980s, when another lamppost replacement program (this time to retro bishop crooks) forced their removal. Today only a brief run of medallions in Greenwich Village and near Central Park along 6th Avenue remain.
Elsewhere in the photo is the neon sign of Smith’s Bar. Today, there is a Smith’s, complete with ancient neon sign, on 8th Avenue and West 44th. I wonder if this place was connected to it. On the corner, the bank building, most recently a branch of HSBC, was recently demolished.
You can also see that 6th Avenue was two-way. NYC avenues were converted to one-way, with a few exceptions, in the mid-1960s.