Hiding in plain sight on the corner of Broadway and West 211th Street stands a relic of a bygone era when the glow of gaslight illuminated the streets of New York.
The cast iron post is one of only two known to survive in the City of New York—the other sits at the corner of Patchin Place in Greenwich Village.
“The post design,” according to a 1997 Landmarks Preservation Commission report, “that became standard for gas lights was introduced around 1860. Its simple, fluted, eight-foot base and shaft were topped with a short, horizontal bar used as a ladder rest and surmounted by an eight-paned, polygonal lantern, or luminaire.”
Around 1913 the city began replacing nearly 45,000 of the old gas lamps with newly engineered electric lamps. One by one, block after block, city engineers removed the old gas posts.
But somehow the Inwood lamppost survived.
A study of old photographs reveals that the West 211th Street was repurposed as a street sign and thus escaped the march of progress.
Other examples of old area gas lamps