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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Al Ponte's Time Machine - New York

Exploring subchat, I came across a posting for "Al Ponte's Time Machine - New York" on Facebook.

Here is a great collection of very good photographs from various sources, many of which I did not see before, particularly concerning our beloved Church Avenue Trolley.  The photographs seem to cover the following areas:

  • Bronx street scenes some with streetcars.
  • Brooklyn street scenes some with streetcars.
  • Manhattan street scenes, particularly downtown, Times Square, Columbus Circle, some with trolleys.
  • Queens street scenes, particularly showing airports, the 1964 World's Fair, Shea Stadium, Flushing Line, Queensborough Bridge and Astoria.
  • Some Staten Island photographs, some showing trolley tracks.
  • Stadium construction scenes.
  • Subway car pictures, particularly old IRT equipment.
  • Some el scenes from Manhattan and the Bronx.
  • A series of shots showing the Church Avenue Trolley in Brooklyn, some you saw before, some you did not.

There is a focus on Times Square and Radio City Center through several decades.

I was not able to view all pictures, but one impression is that many of the street scenes in the Bronx shows a great deal of streetcar trackage.  The streetcar system, in the five boroughs, including Staten Island, was more extensive that I thought.  What a waste that it was totally destroyed.  Of the 100's of present day bus lines in New York City, would not one of them meet the engineering criteria to be converted to streetcar?

  In this undated picture from Al Ponte's Time Machine, a Church Avenue trolley bound for First Avenue is running west on 13th Avenue. It just crossed under the Culver El at 37th Street.  The black "things" under the el are wooden holders for the South Brooklyn Railway trolley wires.  I posted a picture taken facing the opposite direction in this blog.  The red building at the south west corner, adjacent to the trolley shows up in pictures of the area before the el was constructed in 1919-20 and it exists today.  

  In this undated picture, probably in the 1950's a street picture near Gimbel's at 34th Street and 6th Avenue.  The focus is on the sign that says "Independent Subway".  This sign shows classic IND styling and probably is from the 1940's.  The "Hudson and Manhattan Tunnels" refers to the current day PATH system between Manhattan and New Jersey.  33 Street is the terminal for the PATH train as well.

In this undated photo, from the same source, we are inside an IRT subway car perhaps in the 1940's.  The type of car may be a "Low V".  Notice how carefully the passengers fold their newspapers.  Notice also the sign system used then:  A series of metallic plates show terminals and routes.  This is a 7th Avenue Express running between New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn and 242nd Street - Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.  The box below the plates, I called it (as a child) an index box where all the plates are kept.  They even had indexed tabs.  It is surprising that no one took them.  There were two sets per car.  The car had  overhead fans as well.

  In this undated photo, a Church Avenue Trolley bound for First Avenue and headed west on Church Avenue just cleared the Ocean Parkway Tunnel and is about to pick up passengers.  This is near East 5th Street.  I showed in the blog other pictures of the area taken from different orientations.  The date must be between 1951 and 1956.  On the horizon, if the tree was not there, you would see the gas tanks on Clarkson Avenue and the Kings County Hospital tower.
  This picture I never saw before.  This is what I believe a Bristol Street Church Avenue Queen Anne special car #1000 crossing 10th Avenue and 39th Street under the West End Line (presently the D train).  This structure here does not show the cat walk.  It is curving to approach the Ninth Avenue Station on the surface.  The trolley support pole on the right I believe is on the northern side of the street like elsewhere along the route.

Another undated photo from Al Ponte's Time Machine.  This appears to be in the IRT subway based on the IRT style map, which did not show BMT or IRT routes. The map does not include the 6th or 9th Avenue Els, so this had to be after 1940.  Notice that the IRT Queensborough subway had two branches:  Flushing and Astoria.

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