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Artifact: The Last of Its Kind

Findings from the streets, files, and hard drives of New York.

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Kevin Walsh—curator of Forgotten-NY.com, which collates the findings of Olde New-York architecture obsessives—pegs this lamp, located on a tiny West Village street called Patchin Place (off West 10th Street, near Sixth Avenue), as the oldest publicly operated streetlight in Manhattan. Walsh guesses it’s been in use nightly since the 1890s; originally a gas lamp, it would’ve been converted to electricity sometime before 1920. The only reason it hasn’t gone the way of other lamps is simply that it hasn’t broken, fallen over, or been hit by a car. No other ex-gas lamps remain. “There is one other one at 211th and Broadway,” Walsh says, “but it’s just a stump now.”


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