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Thursday, May 29, 2014

More About the Municipal Building in Manhattan

  In the Google Map shot above, try to find the lamppost (green) and see a heavy set man in uniform entering the North Wing of the Municipal Building.  Notice at his feet the glass circular dots.  These are glass disks that provide natural light to the former north entrance to the Chambers Street Station (BMT).    That entrance has been closed and the space may be now used for the city archive.

Here is the same shot but taken further west from Centre Street.  Notice that the left section of the building is not an archive but it is occupied by the "City Store".


Here the Google shot is taken facing northeast towards Foley Square.  You see the north wing of the building and some of the famous court houses in the area.  The pointed white building toward the left side of the picture is the "Tombs" just north of Worth Street:  the location of the abandoned IRT Worth Street Station.  Foley Square and its surrounding buildings, courts and steps is the backdrop of many TV crime related programs such as (Crime Scene Investigation)?

The IRT Brooklyn Bridge Station is just below the street while the BMT Chambers Street Station, which was the last stop of the Culver Line and some other BMT subway routes at times is underneath the Municipal Building.

Monday, May 26, 2014

An unusual "D" Train route in the 1950's

In an interesting article about IND subway service in the late 1950's, an article written by Alex Friedlander, Arthur Lonto and Henry Raudenbush in the "Bulletin" of the New York Division of the Electric Railroaders' Association ( Vol II, No. 3, July-August 1959), p.3, point out an interesting fact that I forgot about after so many years.  In those years, most "D" trains ran from 205th Street in the Bronx to either Coney Island or Church Avenue ( on the present day "F" train, or Culver Line) in Brooklyn.  On Saturday's, some "D" trains operated to Kings Highway (and McDonald Avenue) .  What is more interesting is this route:  205th Street Bronx and express stops along the Concourse (AM southbound and PM northbound), express 125th Street to 59th Street, 7th Avenue,  all local stops on Sixth Avenue, and along Houston Street, York Street and to Jay Street, Brooklyn, then Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, Nostrand Avenue, Utica Avenue, Broadway-East New York and finally to Euclid Avenue.

This was not a reroute but  followed the following schedule:

Leave 205th Street:  7:23, 7:39, 7:55, 8:07 AM; also a 8:53 from 200 Street.

Leave Euclid Avenue:  3:08, 3:32, 3:47, 4:02 and 4:52 PM.  The train had 10 R1-9 cars and the markers were Green-White.  (  The first marker is on the motorman's side ).

 I remember being in such a train and we had to disembark at Jay Street for a Church Avenue bound "D" train.  The problem was this was in the afternoon and according to the above, the afternoon service was northbound only.  The signs were normal except where the destination was Coney Island or Bklyn- Church Avenue, the sign said ( I believe Fulton-Euclid Avenue).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Far Away from Home: Vancouver's Brill Trolleybuses.

  These eight Brill Trolleybuses are being lovely restored by a Mr. Wright 700 km to north
 east of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Vancouver Trolley Bus Fleet Lives In B.C. Ghost Town
The Huffington Post B.C.  |  Posted:   |  Updated: 05/22/2014 7:59 pm EDT

The small town is Sandon, BC.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Old Plans for the BMT Chambers Street Station

Source:  "Chambers Street Station, or Sec. #1 of Route #9-0, BMT Division" by David E. Rogoff, in
NY Division Bulletin, Vol. 2, No.3, July-August 1959.

A discussion regarding the very interesting map will hopefully follow in the future.

  This hand drawn map appeared in an early edition of the NY Bulletin many years ago.  The New York Municipal Building and the large subway station underneath have interesting facts about them and they are tied somewhat with an interesting transport policy at the time.  Construction started in 1907 on the building but the station contractor experienced difficulty due to a water and soil condition.  Construction of the station had to be stopped but resumed in 1911.  It seems that building construction took place before the final plan for the station was decided upon.  More about this in the future....the building opened in 1914.


  The page above, written by David E. Rogoff,  (reference sited above) provides very interesting information regarding the previous track diagram.  For example, the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge was built but never had tracks on it and when the southerly extension to the line was built (To Broad Street), it was via Nassau Street and not William Street..  Notice the unusual platform layout to the station as well.  In the diagram above, the "N"'s represent entrance platforms while the "X"'s represent exit platforms.  Also note that today, Park Row does not exist on the eastern side of the building because Police Plaza is in its place.  Not shown above, but the IRT Lexington Line Brooklyn Bridge Station is under Centre Street, a few feet to the west.  I will try to write something about the transportation policy of linking the three bridges by loop lines in the future.
 This picture was taken a few days ago.  You are facing east on Chambers Street.  To the back of the photographer is Broadway.  The building to the left with the green scaffold is the historic "Sun Building".  Mrs Lincoln, the president's wife used to shop there.  To the right, the building with columns is the "Tweed Court House".  Behind it is "City Hall".  Notice the Municipal Building has a large arch.  Years ago, traffic ran through it.  I believe I posted a map showing that one of the downtown streetcar lines passed through the arch.  The line that did pass under the arch had only one track going through and it was never electrified with a conduit rail.  The line in later years had to be run with battery cars.  In front of the building is Centre Street with the Brooklyn Bridge Station under the Street and the BMT Chambers Street Station under the building as shown above.  The Third Avenue El's "City Hall" station was on the other side of the Municipal Building.  To the right (south) of the Municipal Building is the Brooklyn Bridge and here existed many years ago the BRT BMT Park Row Terminal for Brooklyn El trains and streetcars.  The "basement" of the Municipal Building was the last stop of the BMT Culver Line (Subway Section) for many years.

   Notice the arch in the Municipal Building.  The building is separated into two wings, a north and South Wing.  I believe the south wing is 1 Centre Street while the north wing is 100 Centre Street.  The south wing has a arched roof arcade at street level that leads to a mezzanine.  A similar arcade existed on the north side as well.  In 1937 and 1938,  a new mezzanine and street entrances were opened at Reade Street, at Foley Square. This is a very picturesque area of court houses that appear as backdrops on many criminal TV shows.  The former north arcade was closed of and sealed.  City offices or stores are found now at street level on the north side of the building and the underground section is now an archive.  When you enter at the north entrance, if you look near the City Store, you can see glass circles imbedded in the sidewalk that provides natural light to the archive.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Transit Anniversaries: End of the Culver Shuttle and the Manhattan Portion of the 3rd Avenue El- Also about the Municipal Building

Hi Folks:

  I almost forgot, but yesterday and today is the anniversary of the end of service on two elevated lines here in New York, namely the Third Avenue El ( From Chatham Square to 149th Street ) on May 12, 1955 and the Culver Shuttle on May 11-12, 1975.  I do not remember the Third Avenue El that much because we lived in Brooklyn and did not need to reach the Bronx by the Third Avenue El. We used the Lexington Avenue Subway.  The Culver Shuttle, however, was my portal to the world and I remember service stopping at Ditmas Avenue.  I remember shuttles going from Ditmas Avenue to 36th Street - Fourth Avenue in non rush hours and to Chamber Street at other times.  I remember the Staten Island equipment on the line and also the BMT standards and modified Lo-V IRT cars. More to follow in the coming days.

  On some of the old BMT Standard equipment, those with bigger destination signs (not the very small signs in the door pockets... had the following interesting setting:


The West End Line also had a similar setting but I was told, was in the reverse direction.  What is going on here?   The Culver Line and West End line had these unique through Nassau Street Loop routes.  I did see this setting as a small child on some equipment, but this was before I learned how to read.

An interesting "Bulletin" comes to the help explain what is going on.  In fact, it is a very old one dated May, 1959 (Vol. 2, No. 1)   In " A Summary of Services of the BMT Division, NYCTA as of April 15, 1959 by Alex Friedlander, Arthur Lonto and Henry Raudenbush, the Culver Line was given the number 5.  At various times of the day, different services were offered.  An interesting route, called the Nassau Street Loop Express ( Not listed on destination signs) ran only during rush hours consisting of 6 B-type BMT standard cars or 5 Staten Island Cars.  The markers was Red-Red.  It ran from Ditmas Avenue on the Culver Line making all stops to 36th Street - Fourth Avenue, ran express to Pacific Street and probably skipped DeKalb Avenue and Myrtle Avenue (station closed 1956) and via Manhattan Bridge on the south side  to Chambers Street (track connection destroyed in 1967).  After Chambers Street, Fulton Street, Broad Street and via Montague Street tunnel  to Lawrence Street, DeKalb Avenue, Pacific Street and express to 36th Street and all stops to Ditmas Avenue.  So it appears that this train operated as a continuous loop.  The time envelope for this routing from Ditmas Avenue was from 6:37 am to 8:29 am and from 4:30pm to 5:52 pm.  From Chambers Street, the time was from 7:02 to 9:01 am and from 4:45 - 5:56 pm.  A similar route ran on the West End Line but local and in the reverse direction to 62nd Street or Bay Parkway.  Here, the line ran via tunnel to Chambers Street and then via the Manhattan Bridge to DeKalb and all stops to 62nd Street or Bay Parkway.  On weekday, non rush hours, the Culver Line made all stops between Ditmas Avenue and Chambers Street via the Montague Street tunnel to Broad Street, Fulton and then Chambers Street.  Return over the same route.  At other times, on nights, weekends, a shuttle operated with 2 Staten Island Cars or 3 B Type BMT Standard Cars.

Notice that of all the BMT southern services, only the Culver Line had a regular downtown destination for many years (since the 1930's) to Chambers Street.  The Chambers Street station was at the base of an very interesting building.

More to follow about this destination of the Culver Line in the future.  Notice the 3rd Avenue El in the background meeting the Park Row station of the BMT Elevated Lines that crossed the Brooklyn Bridge.  (Old Photo)  Notice the two IRT Subway Kiosks for the Brooklyn Bridge Station.

Building looks familiar?  Where did I see it before? In Warsaw or Moscow?

More to follow in the future.  The above picture is in Warsaw.  I believe the Metro runs very close to it. 

How about the University of Moscow Building?  In fact, the Municipal Building in New York influenced architecture all over the world.  I think it is called "Wedding Cake" style.

Photo taken off the web.  By UggBoy UggGirl.

National Cultural Palace, Warsaw, Poland.  I believe it is near the "Centrum" station on the Metro near Marszalkowska Ulica.  Does this Palac Kultury have an entrance to the Metro?

  What is underneath the New York Municipal Building at Center and Chamber Streets?

Do not ask, but a Chamber of Horrors according to a interesting web site called " Forgotten New York" .  Forgotten New York deals with some of the stuff that I love, such as streetcars, stations and street lamps.

See Below:  This shot was taken from the "Forgotten New York " website.  The Chambers Street station is very interesting and it directly below the Municipal Building.  A few feet to the west is the four track IRT Brooklyn Bridge Station which is the terminus for the Number 6 subway line.  Express trains 4 and 5 also stop at the station.  Somewhere in this blog I have a video of the City Hall Loop and the Brooklyn Bridge Station.  The Brooklyn Bridge Station has been extended and modified throughout the years.  Not so for the Chambers Street station on the BMT a few feet away.

From the "Forgotten New York" web site.  You are looking at the side abandoned platform.  more to follow.

Above ground, the Municipal Building was the center of much elevated activity.  In the undated picture below, our friend (the Municipal Building) is in the background framed by the 3rd Avenue El.  It looks to me that this is the "City Hall" branch of the line after abandonment after 1950.
More to follow in the future, hopefully. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What is a R-38 Doing in Moscow?

Hi folks:

   I got to see this recently posted video in Subchat  from Moscow.  The viewed Moscow subway car is very similar to many of the R-32 to R-38 series subway cars in terms of their interiors.  As mentioned in subchat, the startup noise is similar, however to a  Lo-V IRT car.  Elsewhere in this blog, I have pictures of Lo-V cars.  Take a look at this incredible video.  The camera person is taking a big chance sticking his/her head out into the tunnel.  In the New York City subway, various wires, pipes and other objects are few inches away from the side of the subway car and they can occur at any location.  Please do not lean against the doors!

Photo by: Wayne Whitehorne

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sumner Avenue Line

Source:  Linder, B. In New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 23, No. 7, July, 1980.pp. 2-3, 6-7.

  The Sackett Street Line  was associated at times with the Sumner Avenue Line.  The line started (Sumner Avenue) at a Horse Car Line and was originally called the Yates Avenue Line.  The line was renamed to Sumner Avenue in 1882.  In 1894, the line was electrified.  After looking after many maps of streetcar trackage, I learned something today that I overlooked.  According to the very interesting blog called "Sheepshead Bites" and a featured article about Bob Diamond and Red Hook trolleys ,
the writer stated that streetcar lines are very flexible.   And it is true, as will be detailed in the future.  The Sumner Avenue Line and the Sumner - Sackett Line had its terminals switched a few times.  To do this, you need an extensive track network with a lot of switches and turnoffs.  It is ironic according to the editor of the above site that diesel buses in the southern part of Brooklyn did not have their terminals changed in many years to meet changing demands, but the "inflexible streetcars" did have many changes.   More to follow about this later.  (Additional Maps to be added)

Notice how the terminals shifted throughout the years from Hamilton Ferry in Red Hook to Delancey Street or to Bristol Street at the end of the Church Avenue Line.  Although not shown on the map, some cars crossed the Williamsburg Bridge to the Delancy - Essex Street  terminal.  I will get dates about this in the future.  This means that a long line, like Church Avenue could have begun at 39th Street on the waterfront and go to Bristol Street and continue via the Sumner Avenue Line to Delancey Street.  This would make a very long line that perhaps few people would need to ride the entire line.  The key point is that even though streetcars are restricted to their tracks and wires, if there are enough interchanges and crossovers, they can be quite flexible.... but you need a big network.