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Caution Optional

Despite my weekly visits to Forgotten-NY, I never knew that Mr. Walsh (the site founder) had once had a blog. For three years from 2003 to 2005. Each year has a different page link but they start here:
Forgotten-NY Blog (year 1)

Definitely worth checking out if you’re an FNY fan.

Here’s the second part of our thrilling tale. The first part can be found here.

In this installment, I’ll be showing you the roadway as I found it in early March of 2008, 51 years after it last saw traffic.

From the lookout, you can see many of the native eagles and hawks who make the cliff face their home, soaring over the river.
Hudson Hawk

Looking South from the lookout, you can see ‘Indian Head’ (upper right corner of the pic), a rock formation that looks like a man’s face. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see what used to be ‘Forest View Park’ (and the Forest View Jetty pilings in the water) - a popular park and beach area built in 1900 but finally abandoned in 1960 (not too many people wanted to go swimming in the Hudson River after WWII). This area is now referred to as the Three Ghosts of Forest View.

Indian Face

Much more after the jump (click on “Continue Reading” below)

Continue Reading »

I recently came across this site - Gribble Nation: Lost 9w and was immediately excited beyond all reason to have a section of abandoned historic roadway less than five miles from my driveway. That I never realized it was there (and I’ve been to that exact area before) is a moment of personal shame. :-(

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There’s a lot of material to cover here, so I’ll be splitting this up into two parts.

NY Times thumbnail lost9w

Much more after the jump (click on “continue reading“)…

Continue Reading »

Is the Modern Mechanix Blog perhaps the best blog ever? Maybe, maybe. It’s certainly one of the best justifications for the internet (after this blog and midget porn of course).

What I find so compelling about it is that not only does it document a time when the ‘anything is possible’ attitude prevailed, but does so through the rose colored glasses of the Modern Mechanics and Popular Science magazines, favorites of mine when I was but a wee lad.

And look, it even touches upon SoCal AutoClub road signs!

ACSC Sign Gypsies

Continue Reading »

Here are two newspaper articles from the Chicago area, separated by only three years time.
From the June 18th, 1930 Hamilton Daily News - Chicago:
Hamilton Daily News - June 18th, 1930

And from the October 22nd, 1933 NY Times - Chicago:
October 22nd, 1933 NY Times

The first article details how this lady fires upon four policemen (emptying her gun) who have come to arrest her for some prior crime, sending them diving out windows and running for their lives. After returning with reinforcements and forcing her out of the building with tear gas, they finally detain the lady and charge her not with four counts of attempted murder or even with aggravated assault. No, she gets charged with disorderly conduct.
Meanwhile, poor Mr. Neilson get shot dead for running a red light…

NYC Subways

www.nycsubway.org
nycsubway.org logo

Just one of the fascinating accounts of the dangers of subway construction at the turn of the century:

    “The first accident occurred in 1905 during the construction of the Battery-Joralemon street tunnel of the first subway. As frequently happens, a “blow-out” took place. That is, the compressed air found a weak spot in the roof of the tunnel and began escaping. In such cases the usual treatment is for the men in the tunnel to heave bags of sand or clay into the vortex and thus stop the leak. On this occasion Dick Creedon, a workman employed by the contractor, attempted to plug the air hole with a bag of sand. The pressure of the air was so strong, however, that the “blow-out” sucked both bag and man into the vortex and forced them through thirty feet of sand and silt up into the waters of the river. On reaching the surface Creedon began swimming and was soon picked up by a boat, apparently none the worse for his marvelous experience. The “blow-out” was repaired by dumping tons of sand from scows immediately over the break.”

Holy crap!! When I would have a ‘blow out’ at work, it usually had something to do with the secretary not specifying “no MSG” on my lunch order. These poor bastards would come home with river mud crammed into every orifice, missing a couple of fingers and were probably ticked off that the foreman docked them three hours pay for when they were floating in the river unconscious not working.

Lots of very interesting early 20th century infrastructure stuff on this site. Definitely worth a look-see.

Okay, on the surface, this may seem like an even further departure from this blog’s charter than normal, but I assure you, it’s not. I’m often asked why I collect the things I do. The castoff and outdated traffic equipment, signs and ephemera that should by all rights be actively biodegrading, I have saved from destruction. Why? Because these items have value beyond their original purpose. They hearken back to a simpler time when quality and design were more than just advertising buzzwords but instead, were necessary qualities evident in even the most transitory and utilitarian of items. What purpose do the fins on a CH AD adjustable serve? Or the plating on the old Newark signal tower? Or the embossed Conestoga wagon on a Nebraska state route sign? They serve no quantifiable purpose other than satisfying the original designers’ sense of aesthetics.

Continue Reading »

LOCFlickr.png

One of the best sources for researching the United States’ transportation history is the Library Of Congress. And one of their very best resources is their online photo gallery which can be found here - LOC-PPOC (Prints & Photographs Online Catalog).

While extensive and very useful, they seem to be made available way too slowly. But really, when you consider the sheer scale of the undertaking of digitizing and cataloging a nation’s photographic history, it truly is remarkable how far they’ve already progressed.

But today, the LOC announced that they were going to be using Flickr in an an innovative new way to help bring more photos online. By using Flickr, they’re going to have the users help tag and categorize the photos of two of their most popular collections. And even though the full-sized version isn’t available on Flickr, you can find it on the PPOC site by following their ‘persistent URL’ link.

So without further adieu, LOC on Flickr.

tokyo-traffic-control-ce-2.jpg

Unfortunately Tokyo has the serious traffic issues you would expect from such a densely populated city. Fortunately they are working towards improving that (the traffic situation that is).
Kilian-Nakamura blog

Over 17 thousand vehicle detectors!! A commenter on that blog pointed out that currently this command center really doesn’t do much commanding, but rather is an information center where the traffic conditions and patterns can be viewed. Active traffic flow control (as is being developed here in the U.S.) is ultimately what these systems aspire to be. Well, at least until we all have our own automated and remotely controlled hover cars.

Quite a bit has happened in the last ninety years since the time of the gas powered AGA beacon…

Talk Signal, talk!!

Came across this site the other day that retasks traffic signals for use in noise mitigation in schools and such:

tl-bigger.jpg

www.talklight.com

Hideously expensive though. :-(

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