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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trolley Wire in Manhattan

This photo above comes also from the New York Public Library Digital Archive.  It was taken in October, 1934 by P.L. SPerr and is facing 464 West 155th Street in Harlem.  You are looking at the south east corner at Amsterdam Avenue.  As a result of the Blizzard of 1888, overhead communications and power lines were banned from the lower parts of Manhattan.  Because of this, most of the streetcar track that was constructed consisted of expensive conduit type, that was difficult to maintain and at certain strategic areas, plow pits had to be constructed.  In upper Manhattan, where Bronx trolleys crossed into Manhattan, small segments of trolley wire existed.  Other areas that probably had trolley wire for very short distances was around 125th Street and the East River and the area around East 129th Street.   Willis Avenue streetcars in the Bronx ran under trolley wire.  There was a plow pit on 125th Street between First and Second Avenues.  This implies that from the Willis Avenue Bridge to that point, trolley wire existed on First Avenue from the river to 125th Street. Boston Road trolleys used overhead and a loop existed at 129th Street and 3rd Avenue under trolley wire.  Another area is 145th Street between the Harlem River and Lenox may have had trolley wire for cars coming and going into the Bronx.  There was a plow pit on 145th Street near Lenox.

 Some small segments existed in Washington Heights as well.  Other areas, in lower Manhattan, also had trolley wire.  Namely the BMT trolley loop at Park Row at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, a small off the street loop at the Manhattan end of the Manhattan Bridge for Manhattan Bridge Trolleys from Brooklyn, the Delancey Street trolley terminal at Essex Street (underground) and probably the trolley terminal at the Manhattan end of the Queensborough Bridge for Queens Trolleys.

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