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Monday, January 28, 2013

Horse Cars, El Trains and Gas Tanks, Oh my!

In doing research regarding gas tanks in Brooklyn, I came across this old map of the 12th Ward in Brooklyn showing the gas tanks and horse car routes near Smith Street Brookyn.  Very interesting 1892 map.  It will be interesting, in the future to see if the horse car routes shown on this map match the historical information provided by Bernard Linder in his series of streetcar history maps.  The Gowanus Canal is still poluted and is the former site of the gas works shown in yellow. It is still unbuilt upon probably because it is a toxic waste site.  I believe last week, a sick whale entered the canal and died an hour before high tide.  The toxic water did not help in the survival of this sick whale.

In this 1924 aerial of the area around Belmont and Alabama Avenues in Brooklyn, we can see a non rigid height adjustable gas tank (holder) with the familar lattice around it.  We can also see four blocks to the left the trackway of the BMT Carnarsie Line and one avenue north of the tank Pitkin Avenue with the BMT Pitkin Avenue City Line Elevated.  The el makes a sharp 90 degree turn north to join with the Carnarsie Line.

In the 1924 aerial, the east side of Manhattan is shown with the 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue Els in view.  Notice how the 2nd Avenue El, which runs near the tanks on First Avenue, swings west on 23 rd Street.  The "tank farm", which is shown as located east of First Avenue between 20th Street and 23rd Streets, is presently the site of Peter Cooper Village.  The large tank is at 20th Street just east of First Avenue.  Since many gas tanks were at the location of gas production, it is possible that the soil under present day Peter Cooper Village is toxic.  I saw this at a web site that deals with former gas production locations.  I did not know that production of gas is very toxic and leaves a residue after many years.  At any rate, it would have been interesting to be in the lead southbound car of a 2nd Avenue El train making the curve on 23rd Street unto First Avenue and seeing the tanks.  Notice that the tanks are of various heights depending on the amount of gas stored.

A more recent picture of the area:

1 comment:

  1. Test of the system. January 29, 2013 from last posting