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Construction update: The remnants of streetcars on Vestry

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I guess we all knew we could count on James. And maybe we also knew we could count on the city to NOT do its homework. The Department of Design and Construction told me they were delayed and surprised by trolley yokes on Vestry. Yet it took James about three minutes to send documents, links and photographs of … trolleys on Vestry. Ergo, the yokes should have been no surprise.

And because the pictures are so cool and because I can then have these tagged and organized as a post, here are excerpts and images from James’ comments, assembled:

The 20 miles of downtown lines were originally owned and maintained by the Dry Dock, East Broadway & Battery Railroad Company, incorporated in 1863 (as recorded in the Electric Railroaders Association bulletin from 1971). The company was later acquired by the Third Avenue Railroad Company in 1897; the Grand Street line, which ran a route from the Grand Street ferry via Grand, Sullivan, Vestry, Greenwich, Washington and Desbrosses, was then abandoned in 1932. The map below from 1920 shows the routes.

The Tribeca North Historic District Designation Report by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission also records the routes of the streetcars:

“Around 1864 the Desbrosses Street Ferry to Jersey City initiated service from the foot of Desbrosses Street; soon a ferry terminal with two slips for steam ferry boats was constructed. The following year the Grand Street Ferry railroad line was extended to the pier, thus creating a network of passenger ferry and street car service…. In addition to the freight line, the area of the district was crossed by a number of passenger street railways. Two lines linked the Desbrosses Street and Grand Street ferries, an electric line that ran on Vestry and Desbrosses Streets and a horse-drawn one that operated on Watts Street between Canal and West Streets.”

Below is another image of a 1875 Vestry Street horsecar, but this one is a model, made by John Stephenson, and restored by the New York Transit Museum, on loan from the Museum of the City of New York.

 



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