Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Type 24M Corvington Longarm

This is a replica Type 24M Corvington Longarm lamppost at the Northwest corner of Prospect Park. 

When I do these on-site urban sketches, I often do a little Googling to see if there's any interesting history or trivia about the subject. I didn't expect to find so much information of New York City lampposts! There are multiple posts on the cool site Forgotten NY, a very, very comprehensive site run by a guy named Jeff Saltzman, and several others.

Gas streetlights were introduced in New York City in 1823, and electric ones follolwed in 1892. Once the technology stabilized in the late 1800s, lighting companies began to pay attention to the ornamental design. The original "Corvingtons" were cast iron, and the "long arm" style was found on wide avenues and boulevards, to place the fixture further out into the wide expanse. There were many other types of lampposts suited for narrower streets, sidewalks, intersections, et al, with names like the "Bishop's Crook", the "Classic Twin", the "Type G", the "Type F," and the "Reverse-scrolled Type F."

In the 20th Century, they began to be replaced by simpler, cheaper aluminum and steel poles, like the Deskey Cobra and then the Westinghouse MO-8 lampposts, and only a few of the original cast-iron poles still exist. But in the 1980s, a movement started to retrofit lampposts in some areas with retro replicas, like this one in Park Slope.

The term "Corvington" was apparently coined by Mr. Saltzman after a similar model he'd seen in a catalog, and it was adopted by other "street mavens," of whom there are apparently many. "Type 24M" is from a code number given to every type of streetlamp in use by the NYC Bureau Of Gas and Electricity in The System Electric Companies: Photographs of Street Lighting Equipment As Of November 1, 1934. This is what I love about the internet. There are nerds for everything. No matter how particular or esoteric the subject, there is someone out there who is fiercely passionate about it, and they will build a website about it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Happy Batman Day

Today is apparently "International Batman Day." There is also a "Wonder Woman Day," dedicated to raising money and awareness for domestic violence programs. It would be awesome if "Batman Day" was for victims of gun violence, but as far as I can tell, it's just a day for DC Comics to remind everyone how awesome Batman is.

The illustration above is a recreation of the cover to Batman Family Number 4. This comic is dear to my heart because it's the first comic book I can remember. I have the distinct memory of my father coming home with this comic for me. It was 1976. I was 4 1/2 years old. I don't think it was the first comic book I ever saw because I remember thinking "Cool! A new comic!" rather than "what's this?"

Somewhere in my mother's house I still have it, now tattered, missing its cover and several pages. A few years ago, I came across an intact copy at some comics show. I bought it, but didn't actually re-read it, because I'm sure the contents are not great. I remember bits and pieces of the stories. The Batgirl story had criminals after a guy who was going into witness re-location program and at the end he had plastic surgery to get a new face, a concept which blew my four-year-old mind. In the Robin story, he was running around in the snow at Christmas time, and at one point mentioned how cold he was in those short sleeves and green hot pants. Fatman was clown who spoofed Batman. I don't remember the Phantom General story, but the internet tells me that he was a Nazi war criminal with a hypnotic monolcle.

There was also a truly awesome spread of fan costume redesigns for Robin.

Unfortunately, the scene on the cover - three rogue Santas in a toboggan cold-cocking Robin and shooting at Batgirl on her Bat-sled - does not actually occur inside. This comic is dated April, so would have been on the stands in Spring or early summer. I have no idea why it would have had a Christmas theme.