by Kevin Walsh

In the 1980s, NYC’s King of Lampposts Bob Mulero acquired this shot of a rather forlorn Twin version of the GE Whiteway at a lot on 12th Avenue (in Hells Kitchen, I think). The Whiteways combined three GE mercury vapor lamps three pair of 80 watt fluorescent tubes beneath one extended reflector cover and first appeared in the 1950s, when they replaced Bishop Crook lamps that were under the 3rd Avenue El when it finally was razed from 1955-1956. The Whiteways also had a brief run in the Bronx in Dwarf versions beneath the 3rd Avenue El (it survived in that borough until 1973. They could also be found on 9th Avenue, Park Row in the City Hall area, and other locales.

Unlike other defunct lamppost designs around NYC, I never got to photograph them in “action” because they were rather short lived. In the early 1970s, when yellow sodium vapor lights became universal, the Whiteways were quickly replaced, and when I started Forgotten NY photography in 1998, there was nary a one remaining. There are lampposts from 1915 still in working order in NYC but not one Whiteway!

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Alan July 20, 2022 - 7:31 am

I remember seeing them all over Manhattan, not so much (if at all) in other boroughs. They often had “special” black-lettered yellow-background street signs, larger than the traditional street signs common at the time. By the way, I thought the Whiteways used fluorescent tubes.

chris July 20, 2022 - 4:00 pm

Hmmm…Pier 63.Does that mean we’re looking at a part of the old West Side Hwy up above
or are we the last of the Mohicans?

Dan S. July 24, 2022 - 4:49 am

I also thought that those were fluorescent tubes. Didn’t they have those at the World’s Fair (1964-5)? Maybe I just thought so because they had a “futuristic” look (but were not necessarily too practical, and so have disappeared). Anyway, I only see two tubes/lamps on that pole.

Stuart S. July 25, 2022 - 8:01 am

I recall them as having three pair of 80 watt flourescent tubes (80W x 2 tubes x 3 sets for a total of 480 watts), not Mercury vapor lamps. I don’t remember seeing them at the World’s Fair, nor anywhere in Queens or Brooklyn for that matter – only Manhattan and Bronx. And weren’t they made by Westinghouse? I also remember them frequently dimming or flickering in extremely cold weather.


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