Take a look at this Google map excerpt in Tribeca, specifically, a short street wedged along a Holland Tunnel exit ramp that connects Laight and Vestry Streets east of Hudson Street. The map doesn’t identify it, but Street View, if you click on it, gives it as Varick, as does Open Street Map. I’m perplexed by this, since Varick is on the east side of the tunnel approaches, and this is on the west side. The short street itself is Belgian-blocked, as is both Laight and Vestry, which most likely indicates it hasn’t been repaved for many years. The Holland Tunnel was built in the mid-1920s, and this may have been the western end of a once-wider Varick; the tunnel approaches have been reconfigured a number of times over the years.
But the wider abiding mystery is the presence of a thick, rusted pole. It has some very short crossbars, which indicates it once carried wires of some kind…but what wires? Telephone wires were banished underground after the Blizzard of 1888. Trolley wire? Equally unlikely, as Manhattan trolleys were also served by underground wires unlike the outer boroughs where trolleys ran on overhead catenary wire; some of the supporting iron poles are still scattered around if you know where to look for them.
So was this a part of Varick? And what function did the pole have? The floor is open in Comments.
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