NOT ENOUGH TEARDROPS, Broadway Flushing

by Kevin Walsh

Since I moved to Flushing in 1993 (and then Little Neck in 2007) I’ve been aware of this vintage Type F lamppost illuminating a driveway at 158th Street and 33rd Avenue in Broadway, Flushing, at the edge of Murray Hill.

The Type F and its variants, introduced in the early 1910s, is the passenger pigeon of NYC lampposts — once they were ubiquitous on city side streets and some avenues, but starting in the 1950s there was a persistent program to slay them, and most original Type Fs have vanished except for a few select areas. But a revival has begun. According to NYTimes’ late Christopher Gray they were reportedly designed in the 1910s by Charles F. Lacombe, at the time the city’s chief engineer for light and power (he has an avenue in Soundview, the Bronx, named for him).

Type F had many variants — there was the usual 11-foot tall model, which pretty much held down the Manhattan side street franchise for decades, and the F3 which was a foot taller and did duty on avenues, including Seventh.  Only a few originals are left around town, including one on West 13th in the Village, two on a Belt Parkway pedestrian overpass at 26th Avenue in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, and another on a pedestrian walkway in Maspeth, Queens.

Retro-Type F’s have begun to appear in city streets such as Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick, Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, and West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. These are taller and more massive than the shorter 17-ft Type F’s of old.

More Lampposts by the Letter

And there’s this one in the hands of a private homeowner. This one still has its teardrop pendant lamp fixture, which was standard issue on NYC lampposts between about 1915 and 1938, when they were replaced by other luminaires including the Bell and later, Westinghouse cuplights.

I’m happy to see it still here — would enjoy a word with its owner!

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

2/21/20

5 comments

S. Saltzman February 21, 2020 - 5:16 pm

Might want to get more photos of the poles on the 27th Avenue overpass. DOT just closed on bidding for the reconstruction of
the two overpasses on the Belt Parkway. Low bid was just under $32,000,000.

Reply
Kevin Walsh February 22, 2020 - 8:13 am

I’m wondering if those two poles are landmarked.

Reply
Anonymous February 28, 2020 - 2:22 pm

They are landmarked. See the designation report: http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/lp/1961.pdf

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Vince P. February 25, 2020 - 9:42 am

I’ve got to take a look at this light pole in North Broadway. Looks like the Homeowner is a light pole afficionado like you?

Reply
Kiwiwriter March 3, 2020 - 3:31 pm

I’d like to see this Type F pole and ask the property owner how he acquired it.

I am VERY familiar with the Type F pole on West 13th Street. I grew up on that block. It was installed in 1931. Not it’s surrounded by reproduction bishop’s crooks, but with the help of its solar cell, it gives off light. The base is surrounded by a nice little garden.

Reply

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