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Re: Nighttime Shot of 3rd Ave El at 67th Street (1953)

Posted by JOE @ NYCMTS - NYCTMG on Thu Nov 30 03:53:52 2017, in response to Re: Nighttime Shot of 3rd Ave El at 67th Street (1953), posted by Elkeeper on Wed Nov 29 19:47:28 2017.

Hello El Keeper

As I remember, per the two 3rd Ave EL Local stations in my E. 80's neighborhood I was daily exposed to (and used) - I know the lights were dark on both the platforms and the station houses and stairways.

ALSO, the station agent (one for each station house) -- a number whom I became friendly with at those stations, after dealing with the revenue collection train usually operated just before or after the last train -- had to hit the master switches for the platform, station house and stairway lights, lock the station house doors, descend the stairs, and swing closed and lock, a new wood slatted 2 section swinging gate installed and located on the first "landing" located usually one third of the way up the (each) stairway. So as to prevent pedestrian access up the stairways to the station house after revenue service closed for the night or weekend. This was more so for indicating visually that the station and service was CLOSED at that time, rather than for security purpose.

I would 'expect' this was the operating procedure for all stations.
Money was saved by not having hundreds of thousands of light bulbs burning electricity 12 hours each night when the line was closed nights and weekends !!

Here is a 1954 photo at the E. 59th Street UPTOWN EL station stairway at the S.E. corner of 3rd Ave & E. 59th Street, somewhat before 7 AM showing that 'gate' in closed position and passengers waiting for the agent to walk down the stairs and open it.

I would expect that the agent got to the station by bus or automobile
some time around or just after 6AM. (many agents actually lived in the areas near their stations - at least a few on my station did ) -- They opened and re-closed and locked the stairway gate, went up to the station house, unlocked all entry doors and entered his booth, and if dark out (winter morning) -- turn on all the light switches, get his monies and tokens arranged, paperwork started, etc., and at 7 AM descend to the closed gate(s), to unlock and open and latch the two halves of the gate fixed, secured, in open position, and have the waiting passengers follow him (or her) upstairs to pay their fare and await the first train arrival.

In the photo, note the light bulb under the stairway landing canopy is lit -- meaning the agent is already up in his station and lights are on - and the agent will shortly descend the stairs to unlock and open the gate-halves on each of the stairways at his station. Stations that had an on duty porter, said porter would assist this task.

The El station on my street had one porter who worked both station houses, and frequently crossed the tracks on the EL to get from one side to the other !!

Here is a 2009 Google street view of the same location -- link

West in 2009 to 3rd Avenue on E. 59th Street

ALL original buildings on each corner are long gone except the NW corner with the modernized facade of the old Bloomingdales Store, and the original building at foreground (S.E. corner) left but with modernized facade.

The original building at left will be gone by 2017 - replaced by a huge hi-rise. The El station stairway landing / footing seen in the photo was about where the bank of outdoor pay telephones are (remember them, heh!)

regards - Joe F


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