What Are These Gas Lamps Doing Here?

Photo by Susan De Vries

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While once ubiquitous, gas lamps are no longer an everyday sight on the streets of Brooklyn. A curious baker’s dozen row of them stretches along the north side of Poplar Street from Henry Street and then around the corner along Hicks Street right up to the BQE — creating an interesting visual juxtaposition.

Before construction of the BQE tore out a chunk of Poplar Street, the view would have been of 19th century structures, not a concrete ramp.

sidewalk lighting gas lamp poplar street

Photo by Susan De Vries

In 1987, after decades in bureaucratic limbo, the surviving buildings on Poplar Street between Henry and Hicks were restored and transformed into condos. The urban renewal project included restoration of 57 Poplar Street, the former Brooklyn Children’s Aid Society Orphanage, by architects Wids DeLaCour and David Hirsch.

sidewalk lighting gas

Photo via Google

Infill construction on the block, at 61-75 Poplar Street, was designed by by Charles A. Platt Partners. These nostalgic gas lights were installed as part of the renewal project, and responsibility for maintaining the lamps falls to the property owners.

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