by Kevin Walsh

I haven’t got much today in Forgotten New York, so I’ll go back to its roots and talk about what got me interested in infrastructure.

I enjoy seeing overburdened utility poles, carrying dozens of wires, signs, and fixtures. This pole at Dewitt Avenue and Hinsdale Street in New Lots fills the bill adequately, carrying power lines, telephone lines, a finned mast carrying what must be its third or fourth light fixture, a Cooper VRDN LED, installed in 2014 or so, complete with a “top hat” fire alarm indicator that is lit bright red all day and night.

There’s also a bracketed stoplight mast, standard issue in NYC for stoplights mounted on telephone poles since the 1950s at least, and the piece de resistance is the scrolled mast carrying a pendant orange fire alarm indicator. The city decommissioned all of these about 12-15 years ago when the “top hats” arrived. To me, the small orange cylinders did a much better job, since the red lights in the top hats tend to get washed out in close proximity to the brighter LEDs.

I’m not an engineer, though, and they don’t pay me the big money to write about lamps, I just enjoy it.

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



Alan October 15, 2020 - 10:15 am

Note the cable TV cables are above the telephone cables. This is standard “hierarchy” on utility poles. The telephone cables were there first. To ensure minimum clearance above the ground would not be compromised, the cable TV cables (which came much later) are always mounted at the next level above the telephone cables.

I have also been interested in “infrastructure” since I was a kid (although I did not know that word in those days). I gave names to all the streetlight poles, masts, and lamp styles. For the most part these names bear no resemblance to the names used in Forgotten New York. When incandescent streetlights were being concerted to mercury lights in the ’60s, I would ride around Brooklyn on my bicycle looking for the utility trucks so I could watch the workers make the switch.

John October 15, 2020 - 10:46 am

I used to look for those fire light brackets on S.I. when I was young. There were quite a few on the old north shore.


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