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I’ve got a couple of signs that, living next to the Hudson Valley’s Hudson River, I find of great interest and hopefully you will too.
Prior to bridges and tunnels, the only way across the river (if you wanted to bring your car) was by Ferry. And if you were driving around looking for a ferry, you’d probably have spied one of these signs…
This particular sign is a bit odd. Embossed by soldering/brazing all the raised parts to a steel plate. It has the manufacturer’s stamp on the back, a company in Carteret, NJ. I’ve only seen a couple of signs like this. It seems quite labor intensive.
The Nyack/Tarrytown Ferry first started service in 1834 and continued on until the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge in 1955.
Here’s a pic of the Rockland which served the route in the early 1900s:
And just a little over 30 miles North was the Newburgh/Beacon Ferry:
This sign is a very heavy, cast iron job in the shape of the NY State shield signs of the 20s and 30s.
The Newburgh/Beacon Ferry began service in 1743 and continued until the NY.52 bridge was built in 1963.
Here’s a pic of ‘the Orange’ which was built in the Newburgh Shipyards in 1918 and served the route for over forty-five years.
As a wee lad growing up in and around NYC, I often marveled at the tiny glass windows set in the sidewalk in front of older stores. I thought them to be coke bottles buried upside down in the concrete. Then I saw one broken out and was able to peek into a wonderful and mysterious underground cavern (AKA basement). When I got older and was gainfully employed making deliveries of heavy boxes to different stores in Manhattan, I had the opportunity to venture into some of these vaults. They were fascinating areas (as far as storage basements went) animated by people walking over the frosted glass prisms up on the sidewalk overhead. Casting temporary shadows like fast moving clouds on a sunny day.
Basically basements that extended out under the sidewalk, they were designed with glass prismed roofs so as to utilize as much natural light as possible. Once a common design element, they have long since fallen out of favor. And though some remaining examples are embraced and restored, most are replaced with regular concrete or plate steel. Yet another bit of history slowly but surely being lost to time. :-(
A nice pic of an backlit bank of lenses can be seen here.
And you can read more about the preservation of these beauties here and here.
Here’s a link to some excellent photos and documentation of examples in Victoria, British Columbia.
“The shape of traffic lights has barely changed since they were invented—there have always been three round lights: red, yellow and green. Initially, the sections were round simply because this allowed the spherical bulp inside light the glass evenly.
Today traffic lights use superbright light diodes that can be arranged in any way. And the sections are plastic, which also means any shape can be created.
Our idea is to produce square traffic lights. This can make the signals more easily noticeable and recognizable, with larger lit area for the same overall dimensions. ”
Art Lebedev’s Traffic Lights
It makes a lot of sense and I like it. Although I do foresee a day when all the signal heads will essentially be small OLED video screens capable of indicating a bright red square for STOP or an animated arrow or even live video. And how soon after that will we be forced to watch commercials while waiting for a light? :-(
In today’s age of modern ideals and social empathy, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that things were not always so. Women have had to fight tooth and nail to gain the rights that men have always had. So it’s always heartwarming to see pictures from long ago of pioneers in the field of equal rights.
Here’s such a picture of two women from the KKK women’s auxiliary helping direct traffic in 1943. Now try to tell me that there was no such thing as tolerance and equal rights back in the old days!
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Some might say that Art Frahm was a perv with a very narrow kink. There are others who say the moon landings weren’t faked. With such conflicting and diverse opinions, who are we supposed to believe?!
Well rest your weary brains right here my friends. No further thought is necessary. Just look at the pretty pictures…
More of this bizarre celery phenomenon here at Lileks:Art Frahm.
I hope to never be in the place where they found it necessary to erect the following sign…
Although I imagine this would be a great way to keep the neighborhood kids quiet. Of course you’d have to stage the odd hornet attack or two to show it’s not an empty threat…
Anyway, I came across this website that has collected pictures of oddball signs from around the world and found some of them to be enormously funny (although you do have to look for them).
One of my favorites: ‘P’ is for …
This is just a lovely piece of work IMO. It’s clear that the GE people really did find their new lightweight signal to be quite fetching. Then again, I’m a huge fan of this type of 1950’s advertising art showing utopian societies with their happy, shining people…
And if you do happen to surf over to Plan59’s site (and I highly recommend that you do - if for no other reason than to check out their Demonic Tots or the Truck Ads page), make sure you queue up Donald Fagen’s Kamakiriad as your background music (life’s all about the experience man).
One of my favorite infrastructure ads because of its wonderful simplicity:
The workman carrying the huge metal pole that is light enough to be carried because…. it’s made from Alcoa aluminum
An intersection tucked away in a corner of Englewood has no less than SEVEN Chinese arrows in use (at least as of 09.23.08).
Englewood does have quite a few interesting artifacts still in service, hiding in plain sight. Across from the park, I spied an old Electro-Matic controller cabinet, still embedded in what looks to be its original 1920s sidewalk concrete.
I wonder what’s inside…