I have begun to pay more attention to platform lighting on elevated subway stations, which comes in a variety of posts from the earliest ornate ones, to the purely functional ones installed from the 1960s to the 1990s, and the newer ones that have begun to lean toward ornamental again. It took a change in my thinking. I never considered them “lampposts” because they lit subway platforms, not streets. I have had to become more ecumenical, more diverse, in my mindset. why shouldn’t I consider them lampposts?
Take this variety, on the side platform at 242nd Street-Van Cortlandt Park, the last stop on the #1 train. It’s a freestanding post mounted on the railing equipped with one incandescent bulb. No doubt, these were standard issue when the el was extended up here in the 19-0h’s and remained standard until they were replaced with brighter sodium lights, which still dominate subway platforms despite the LED incursion everywhere else. When the MTA overhauls stations, the new lighting is invariably of the LED type.
It’ll take me a long time and plenty of subway fares to do a complete survey of elevated station lighting but I may need to suck my gut in and just do it. Meanwhile, the public can’t get anywhere near these original platform lamps at 242nd, since they’re in a barricaded area used only by MTA employees. Nevertheless, you can see that it’s still regularly painted and gets a new bulb when needed. Hopefully, someone working at the station appreciates these over 100-year old lamps as the true artifacts that they are.
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