NYC’s King of Lampposts Bob Mulero found this 1970s MTA subway stanchion, complete with a silver metal post and old MTA “M” at West Brighton Avenue and West 1st Street in Brighton Beach recently. There aren’t a lot of these poles left around town: today the subway indicator stanchion of choice is actually a retro-style green pole that first appeared in the 1930s at IND stations, but now used for the old BMT stations as well. In the 1970s, streamlining was all the rage and various city agencies cooked up these modern-looking poles not only for the subways, but also for fire alarms. Neither design really caught on but they can be found lurking around here and there. As I’ve said before in FNY, you can find a lot of unusual stuff lurking beneath elevated trains.
West Brighton Avenue is a relatively new street; before the 1950s, the el was carried above a right of way with no street beneath it, but in the 1950s the construction of Trump Village (by Donald’s father Fred) spurred a wholesale razing of a lot of the small houses and bungalows in the area, and West Brighton Avenue was created presumably for better access to the el.
The stanchion marks this entrance to the Ocean Parkway station, one of the relatively few concrete-clad el stations of importance in the 4 boroughs with els. Note the red band on the stanchion. That used to indicate the entrance was unpersonned by a token booth attendant and did not allow access all the time. Today, it indicates that you need a MetroCard (and sooner than you think, an OMNY swipe) to get past the turnstile bar.
I’ve said you can find the darndest things under els, and here’s one, a curved-mast octagonal pole. When such poles were first installed in the early 1950s, all of them had these curved masts which came in handy under els, as they could get past girders that straight masts couldn’t. By 1955 or so new ones were phased out but you still see them around here and there, some with their thin brackets, some without.
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