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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1931

From Brooklyn Daily Eagle 10/2/1931

This citation came to my attention on March 29, 2016 in subcat.  The above photograph was taken on 10/2/31 and answers some questions concerning the link between the IND subway at Church Avenue ( on the current F and G) routes and the former BMT Culver Line at Ditmas Avenue.  If memory serves correct, the Church Avenue station of the IND Prospect Park line opened in 1933.  Through service through the link above did not open until October, 1954 when the IND subway "captured " the BMT Culver Line to Coney Island.  I have posted pictures showing the area above around 1951 in which the three western tracks were not constructed.  I saw a photo showing only one track, that is the northbound local track in existence around 1951 entering into the subway from the three track Culver Line at Ditmas Avenue.  The photo above, facing south from Avenue C and "Gravesend Avenue "  now McDonald Avenue shows the warehouse and part of the Culver Line structure at the extreme right of the photo.  The retaining walls for the incline and the trolley support poles are already in place by 1931.  We can thus say that at least for the incline, the incline was in existence by 1931.  This is logical because part of the yard tracks are under the ramp tracks for a portion of the the incline.  When was the ramp iron work joined to the Culver line to the south?  This I do not know but pictures taken in 1951 shows PCC cars running in the area under the new structure that was untracked, except for the northbound local track.  Probably the iron structure was joined after World War II was metal shortages were eased.  Somewhere in the literature, it was described by an old timer in the 1930's or 1940's that a huge tree, that typically grows in lots in Brooklyn, and described in a "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" was growing in the middle of the ramp during this time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On A Clear Day...You Can See Flatbush Avenue

This photo comes from a Real Estate Site: YIMBY ( Yes in my Back Yard )

 The view shed map below was produced using ARCGIS  online and the analysis feature.  As said earlier, it is sooo... easy to use.  No x, y, coordinate?  No problem.  Bring up some reference layer, either a subway map, street map, building plan and click the point.   340 Flatbush Avenue Extension is the first supertall planned for Brooklyn, compared to the lower developments around it.  Current plans for this supertall to be 1,400 feet tall with 95 stories.  This building will be much taller than anything else in  Brooklyn. Will it be built?  I do not know the amount of NIMBY's here or if the project is monetarily feasible.  Using ARCGIS on line, I added the point by looking at a map.  Height is 1,400 feet and the range is 9 miles.  The observer I choose was 6 feet.  The green areas below means that if there were no other buildings in the area, the new building would be visible from the green  areas, or, at the top of 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension,  an observer may see the surface of the green  areas.  ARCGIS on-line treats shape files differently than ARCGIS desktop.  The shape file here is kept in a feature listing MY CONTENT and must be exported to be used by ARCGIS desktop.  The domed structure at the base is the former Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn at Albee Square and Dekalb Avenue.   This spot is rich  in transit history:  The elevated lines, subways, trolleys came all together here.  I believe that at this location, in the 1930's the first models of PCC streetcars were on display.

This photo was taken from Al Ponte's Time Machine.  This is a 1948 shot of a older Brooklyn Streetcar (Peter Witt?) in traditional BMT colors at Albee Square in Brooklyn.  This is at or near the proposed supertall at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension.  This streetcar seems to be a bi-directional one because it has two sets of trolley poles and doors.  In the proposed drawing above, you can see the bank building shown here in the background at the base of the proposed building.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Manhattan Municipal Building Water Shed

   Several of my last postings dealt with the ease of creating a watershed map using ARCGIS on-line vs. the difficulty of doing it several years ago in GRASS.  One blog that deals with streetlamps and New York and various forms of Transportation (Forgotten NY) had a posting on the mysterious and perhaps haunted Chamber Street subway station at Chambers  and Centre Street Manhattan, under the Municipal Building.  That station has what is called a "water condition" and the site where the Municipal Building  is located was once the site of a pond or some sort of collect pool, according to old maps.  I ran a watershed analysis in ARCGIS on-line and the results are above for a focal point of Chambers and Centre Streets.  The watershed is shown bounded by the red line..  It is interesting to note that in the bounded region, there is a park called the "Collect Pond Park" and is one source perhaps of the water.  The range was set at 1000 feet.  Larger ranges over 2000 feet creates a watershed that goes to Brooklyn, which is an impossibility because of the East River.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Sea Beach Line (N) Watershed Area

Calculation of watershed area using ARCGIS on-line facility.  The first map is from the Avenue "U" station of the "N" Sea Beach Line in Brooklyn.

  Several years ago, a few days after Hurricane Sandy struck NYC, a picture was shown of either the 86th Street Station or the Avenue U Station in Brooklyn on the "N" Line ( Sea Beach ) showing the open cut completely covered with water almost up to the platform level.  This water came from the bay I thought because the open cut elevations at track level was probably near sea level values.  I was introduced recently to ARCGIS on line that has a nice analysis section dealing with various operations such as view shed analysis and watershed analysis.  What would happen if I would enter a point at the Avenue U or 86th Street Station on the N Line?  First, I would need to bring up a base map that shows subway stops and lines.  Surprisingly, the Watershed Analyzer here is very simple to use.  If you do not have a point shape file, you can add a point by "hand" and just select a range, let us say, 2000 feet.  To my surprise, the resultant layer was not south of the 86th Street Station but Northwest.  And now I can see why.   A watershed is an area that provides water to a selected point.  I believe that for this to work, the watershed has to be at higher elevation than the selected point.  A very interesting resultant shows that the watershed for the 86th Station (theoretically), if there were no buildings and sewers in Brooklyn, would be along the "N" train all the way to Sunset Park!

Water analysis in GRASS is more difficult to use.  The resultant "layer" can be zipped to ARCGIS maps and used in your favorite style maps, as shown below.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Smith-9th Street View Shed Again: But this time with ARCGIS On-Line

   ARCGIS ESRI has a on line service that although you have to pay for it, has  many interesting features.  One of those that I stumbled across is their analysis section is that of viewshed analysis.  Will the object in question be visible, let us say a power windmill 9 miles away?  How tall shall we make a windmill so less people will object?  How about the Smith-9th Street station, the highest in the NYC subway system?  I used GRASS to calculate this before, but it is cumbersome: You need an X and Y coordinate and getting the resultant map in the proper format is hard.  In ARCGIS on line, you can go to the analytic section and locate Viewshed.  Pan the base map that you choose to the location that you want.  You can use a pointer to add the point of interest.  Add the height of the object, this time the Smith-9th street subway station.  You can get the location by bringing in a NYC subway stop shape file that you need to zip.  The second height is that of the observer.  In the first map above,  I used the default value of either 0 or 6 feet, the size of a person.  You can add a range.  In the second map, I ran the analysis but I added that a ground viewer would be on a 40 foot building.    The results of the first and second analysis is shown on the joint map above.  Being on a higher location will result in a larger range.  In Manhatan, very high buildings will block your view and you will not be able to see the Smith-9th Street station.  The reverse of this analysis is also true:
"If I am at the Smith-9th Street Station, what can I see?"  If the city consisted of 40 foot buildings, the map above is what you can see.  Check out ARCGIS on line if you have an account or if you have a free one.
Tramway Null

Sunday, March 6, 2016

That's Some Large Gas Tank!

This photo shot was taken from Al Ponte's Time Machine.  This photo is showing West Fordham Road and Loring Place in the Bronx.  This photographer is unknown and the date is probably from the early 1950's.  Notice the trolley tracks on the street.  Many of the Bronx trolley lines stopped running in 1948 but I believe some Westchester County routes into the Bronx lasted until 1952.  Though it is hard to tell from the photo, the frame for this movable type gas tank is huge.

Bronx gas tanks are rare, at least for a Brooklyn person!

The aerial photograph below was taken from the City of New York DOIIT and is a 1924 map.  The wide street running horizontal is West Fordham Road.  You can see the gas tank on the left side of the photo.  From the photo above, the picture was taken about two blocks away from the gas tank at Loring Place.   Based on a 1951 aerial photograph, (not shown), the gas tank was still in existence.  According to a 2012 street map, the site occupied by the former gas tank is a baseball diamond.  According to the street plan, West Fordham Road takes a sharp left turn and ends near the river.  Notice the shadow of the tank in the aerial below.