The Harlem Line, in panoramas

I’ve spent many months posting various panoramas of the Harlem Line stations. I’m now excited to be able to post the entire Harlem Line, viewed in panoramas. You can watch as the farmland and rural greenery morphs into the suburbs, before changing into the concrete jungle of New York City. If you want to see more photos from each of the stations, just click on the picture. Anybody have a favorite panorama? I think my two favorites are Tenmile River and Harlem-125th Street – the two of them are polar opposites in terms of the scenery visible while taking a ride down New York City’s oldest railroad.

For those who like maps, I place all of my panoramas on a Google map, which you can see below. I also add photos to Panoramio, which provides the photos for Google Earth.
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Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Mount Vernon West

As a city, Mount Vernon is well connected to New York through the Metro-North system. There are three train stations in the city: Mount Vernon East on the New Haven Line, and Fleetwood and Mount Vernon West on the Harlem Line. The city is at the south end of Westchester County and borders the Bronx. In fact, from the south end of the platform at Mount Vernon West, you can see the Wakefield station, the first Harlem Line station after crossing into the Bronx. Wakefield and Mount Vernon are also historically linked – both of their names come from plantations associated with George Washington: Wakefield where he was born, and Mount Vernon, where he died.

Mount Vernon West’s current station building was built in 1915 and was designed by Warren & Wetmore. The New York Central later sold the station building in 1959, but retained ownership of the passageway to the platforms, and the platforms themselves. Today the passageway contains automated ticket machines, and hung on the ceiling has an Arts for Transit piece. The glass and ceramic mosaic sculptures were done by artist Martha Jackson-Jarvis, and installed in 1991. When I was there I think I was so caught up looking at the ceiling I never even went out to see the front of the station – so whenever I happen to stop by Mount Vernon West I’ll have to do just that.

 
  
 
  
 
 
 
   
  

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Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Tuckahoe

This Tuesday we visit yet another Westchester Harlem Line station: Tuckahoe. Tuckahoe is interesting in both an artistic sense, as well as historical. It is one of the few stations on the line that has an Arts For Transit piece, and the old station building still survives. It may not be used for selling tickets any longer, but it is beautifully restored and is occupied by Starbucks.

Tuckahoe itself is village located in the town of Eastchester, in the southern portion of Westchester county. Although the railroad played a significant part in the growth of Tuckahoe and all of the areas located along the line in Westchester (and further north), it was the discovery of marble in the early 1800’s that led significantly to the growth of the village. (The village was officially incorporated in 1902, the marble quarries were shut down in the 1930’s). Tuckahoe marble was used in many high-profile buildings, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the city, and the Washington Monument in Washington DC.

Tuckahoe’s station building was erected in 1901 and was designed by architects Reed & Stem. Reed & Stem worked on several stations on the Harlem Line, including Chappaqua, Scarsdale, and most notably, Grand Central. An Arts for Transit piece called The Finder / The Seekers by Arthur Gonzales is present at the station. Companion pieces also by Gonzales are at Crestwood and Fleetwood.

The station is located in a commercial area, and there are a few shops and restaurants that surround it. On Sundays during the summer the station’s parking lot also plays host to a farmers market (which you can see in the first photo).

 
   
 
   
   
 
  
   
 
   

As a bonus, here are some older photos of Tuckahoe in 1988. The station building looks a bit run down, and although I’m not the biggest fan of Starbucks, I must admit it looks much nicer today.

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Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Fleetwood

Oh Fleetwood, to me you will always be synonymous with chicken teriyaki. Let me explain. I have the beginnings of a problem – a hoarding problem (Cat Girl now, Cat Lady tomorrow!). I feel just about terrible throwing anything away, even if I don’t really want it. I hate wasting. So when I didn’t finish my chicken teriyaki lunch, I got it packed up and put it in my backpack – I figured the dog would get a nice dinner. Sitting on the train, with my backpack in my lap, that chicken had other ideas. Backpack explosion ideas. As I stood up to depart at Fleetwood, I happened find teriyaki sauce all over my lap. I did manage to take some acceptable photos of Fleetwood, but I was somewhat more concerned about looking like an idiot, and smelling like a Japanese restaurant. And go figure, on the way home a person recognized me. “Hey, you’re the girl with that train site…” never came at a worse time. Now I have readers think that I never washed my clothes after returning from Japan.

In more on-topic seriousness though, Fleetwood is one of the Harlem Line’s train stations in the north side of the city of Mount Vernon. Along with the stations of Crestwood and Tuckahoe, Fleetwood has an Arts for Transit piece by California-born artist Arthur Gonzalez. All three are bronze figures, and in Fleetwood’s case, it is located in the overpass between the platforms. Titled Time Catcher, the piece was installed in 1990, and is a “a tribute to those who built the railroad.”







Thankfully, my chicken teriyaki nightmare is not the most horrible food-related Metro-North horror story I’ve heard. Besides the crazy folks that I’ve actually seen bringing buckets of fried chicken (with ziploc bags for the bones) on the train that I frequently jest about, the prize thus far goes to a Snickers bar. While eating the candy, a piece fell… somewhere. Unable to find it, and ultimately forgotten about, the candy piece happened to be on the seat – which someone then sat upon. When arriving at Grand Central, a friend took it upon themself to inform the unfortunate someone (who I will not name) that they may have had a little “accident” on the train. I guess smelling like food isn’t as bad as crapping your pants.

Perhaps this is a lesson to us all? Leave the food at home? And enjoy these old photos of Fleetwood, taken in the 80’s?

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Friday’s From the Historical Archive: Old Maps and Station Names

Some of the very first things that were added when I created the Historical Archives were maps I found thanks to the Library of Congress. It was interesting to see the network of railroads in the country grow in size exponentially through the 1800’s, and then later in the mid 1900’s crash and quite a few disappeared. There was one map, however, that caught my attention.

That map lists a station along the Harlem Line: Golding’s Bridge. Was it a typo? In the back of my mind I had always wondered about the apostrophe thing. Is Goldens Bridge written properly with an apostrophe, or without? And now, a new question. What is Golding’s Bridge? For whom was the town named, and does the bridge still exist? Why are other stations on this map, or other maps also listed with apostrophes? Brewster’s, Pawling’s? The map also lists quite a few stations that have different names today, such as Hart’s Corners, Whitlockville, and Bains.

In my endeavor to find the answer to at least the apostrophe question, I consulted with the town historian of Lewisboro, of which Goldens Bridge is a part of. She unfortunately told me that she could only “add to the confusion.”

I’m not exactly sure where the original bridge that gave your hamlet its name first stood, but it spanned the Croton River, which is now under the reservoir. The bridge may have belonged to a gentleman called Golding, Goulding, or Colden. I have heard all of these names. That bridge had to have been an important crossing to get to what is now Somers, and points west. It most certainly dates to the Revolution or before.

In 2003, Metro North dropped the apostrophe from the name of the station. Almost all official timetables and signage refer to the station as Goldens Bridge. However, old signage with the apostrophe does still exist. The station listing on M-7 trains still has the apostrophe. Most official town signage also does not have the apostrophe. However the Fire Department for the town still uses it. Google maps still uses it. It is a name still in transition.

Many towns and names along the Harlem Line went through similar transitions. Spellings were changed, apostrophes were dropped. Brewster’s and Pawling’s are both evidence of that. Some names changed completely. So let’s take a little tour through the area and see how some of these names came to be, shall we?

Bronx – Named for Jonas Bronck, who purchased the land in 1639. Originally known as The Bronck’s, in reference to the family, at some point over time the spelling evolved into the current form.
Mott Haven – Named for Jordan Mott, who had an ironworks that opened in 1828. He purchased the land from the Morris family.
Morrisania – Named for the Morris family. Lewis Morris was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Gouverneur Morris was also a prominent member of that family.
Woodlawn – Originally two words, but was condensed into one by 1870.
Mount Vernon – Named for George Washington’s home. Original name was Hunt’s Bridge.
Fleetwood – Named for the ancestral home of John Stevens.
Scarsdale – Named for the ancestral home of Caleb Heathcote.
Hartsdale – Named after Eleazar Hart, who donated the land. Was previously known as Hart’s Corners.
Bedford Hills – Originally named only Bedford, the Hills was added to the name in 1910.
Katonah – Had several previous names, first was Mechanicsville. Later changed to Whitlockville in 1830, for the Whitlock family. Later renamed Katonah from the native word Ketatonah, which translates to Great Mountain.
Purdys – Named for Daniel Pardieus, his grandson Isaac donated the land to the railroad in 1844.
Brewster – Named for brothers James and Walter Brewster, and at the time was known as Brewster’s.
Dykemans – Named for Joseph Dykeman.
Patterson – Named for Matthew Paterson, older maps list the name with only one ‘t’
Pawling – Named for the Paulding (possibly Pauling) family.
Wingdale – Named for the Wing family. Jackson Wing operated an Inn which opened in 1806. Previous names include Wing’s Station, and South Dover.
Harlem Valley – Wingdale – Harlem Valley comes from the name of the railroad (New York & Harlem). Used to be two stops, State Hospital (actual name of the hospital was Harlem Valley State Hospital) and Wingdale (mentioned above). Wingdale station was eliminated, and later Metro-North combined the two and the name.
Millerton – named for Sydney G. Miller, who was an engineer and contractor for the construction between Dover Plains and Chatham.
Craryville – Named for Peter Crary. Station was previously known as Bains, or Bains Corners for hotel owner Peter Bain.
Martindale – Named for John Martin.
Philmont – Previous name was Phillips Mountain, but was later condensed into Philmont. Named for George Phillips, who built a dam and a mill in the area.
Chatham – Named for Lord Pitts, Earl of Chatham, England.

That list does not mention every station on the current Harlem Line, or the rail line in the past. I am specifically mentioning stations that were named after people, or had a name change of some sort. Apostrophes in names often originated because the land was named after, or originally belonged, to a specific family or person.

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Additional Ticket Offices to Close

Two days ago I posted a link to a story on LoHud.com saying that three Metro-North ticket offices would be closing on January 13: Larchmont, Harrison, and Fleetwood. Unfortunately LoHud reports this morning that the number of closures has jumped to seven. The closures are as follows:
Hudson Line: Ossining
Harlem Line: Fleetwood, Hartsdale, Chappaqua
New Haven Line: Larchmont, Harrison, Darien

That brings down the number of stations ticket offices on the Harlem Line down to eight (not counting Grand Central). As far as I am aware, Harlem Line ticket offices in Brewster, North White Plains, White Plains, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Mount Vernon West, Fordham, and Harlem 125th will remain open. But of course this could change as Metro-North looks to cut costs. Apparently none of the employees of the ticket offices will be laid off, just relocated to alternate positions with the railroad. Supposedly this cut will save $1.1 million in 2010.

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Some Metro-North ticket offices in Westchester to be closed

LoHud reported a few days ago that Metro North will be closing several manned ticket offices in Westchester county in order to cut costs. Ticket offices to be closed are Larchmont and Harrison, both on the New Haven Line, and Fleetwood, which is on the Harlem Line. They are set to be closed on January 13th.

I am certain that my friend is going to be thrilled when I tell her this. She often buys her ticket at the Fleetwood station. And she is one of those people that really hates dealing with machines. She wants to buy her ticket from a person. But I guess that isn’t how things work today. Apparently at Larchmont, only ten percent of the ticket sales were through the ticket counter. It is nice to cite numbers, but we aren’t seeing the number of people that used the ticket counter for other reasons, like looking for help or directions.

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