Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Botanical Garden

I have a little confession to make – as much as I crack jokes about the younger generations of Vanderbilts and their amazing ability to spend their grandfather’s money, I must admit that despite all that some of them really have left their mark on the New York area. Outside of the railroad, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, grandson of the Commodore, had positions in all sorts of organizations. He held titles of Vice-President and director, was on the board of a few different hospitals, and was also a finance manager for a church or two. But one particularly noteworthy organization, of which he served as president, was the New York Botanical Garden. Vanderbilt, along with Andrew Carnegie and J. Pierpont Morgan also contributed monetarily to the gardens, which were formed in the 1890’s.


Postcard view of Botanical Garden station

The Botanical Garden station itself is located slightly less than ten miles from Grand Central, and mere steps from the gardens for which it was named. Although commuters do use the station, it is also frequented by tourists going to check out the gardens. Metro-North probably is one of the easiest ways to get to the gardens, and if you had any question about that, there is even a video on youtube that explains how easy it is to get there. The video does highlight the lack of consistency when it comes to the name of the station. All of the platform signs refer to it as “Botanical Garden” but the ticketing machines call it “Botanical Gardens”. I suppose it is not that big of a deal, but for the purpose of this post I am using Botanical Garden, as it is visible as such in my photos.

 
   
 
  
 
  
 
   
 

My longtime readers will recall the crazy idea that I had back in April or May of 2010, to photograph every Harlem Line station, and get at least one panorama photograph at each. I’ve spent the months since then photographing, and then posting a new station every week. Today my goal has finally been completed. Botanical Garden is the last station to be featured in my Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line. Next week I’ll feature a little bonus, a station we all know. After that Tuesday posts will be on hiatus – but as soon as spring weather comes I can assure you that I’ll be out taking more photos.

Read More

Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Pawling

Nestled in the rolling hills of Dutchess County lies the small village of Pawling, connected to the thriving city of New York by the railroad. When the New York & Harlem Railroad reached Pawling, the village had a population numbering in the 500’s. Today that population is a bit over 2000. It is the first station along the line in Dutchess County, and is roughly 64 miles north of Grand Central. When the line continued all the way up to Chatham, Pawling was approximately the midpoint. Historically, the station thrived due to the dairy industry. A factory visible from the platform today was once a milk plant – after processing the milk it was sent out via the Harlem. Located slightly north of the station was a yard, a small engine house, and a blacksmith and carpenter shop. There was once a turntable too, but that was later replaced with a wye.


Facilities at Pawling, circa 1920. Diagram by Lou Grogan

  
The original station, built in 1860, burned down in 1984. Photos by Lou Grogan

Today the station is, like most of the current Upper Harlem stations, rather quiet – except for the sound of a passing diesel engine. The station is past the zone of electrification, and unless you manage to board one of the few express trains, you’ll have to change at Southeast. The station is one of two in the town of Pawling – the other is the Appalachian Trail, which is a very limited service station.

That is about all I have for Pawling… next week I’ll be bringing you the final station on our Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line, Botanical Garden.

 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 

Read More

Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Williams Bridge

Located 10.5 miles from Grand Central in the north of the Bronx is a little station that as of yet has not been featured here, Williams Bridge. It is a bit hard for me to believe that I’ve spent quite a while sharing a different Harlem Line station each week with my readers. Not counting Grand Central, Williams Bridge is one of the last three stations we will visit.

Williams Bridge is like quite a few other Harlem Line stations, relatively quiet in comparison to the past. There was once a turntable here, but of course that has no use anymore and is long gone. The platform here is a bit smaller, and accommodates only four train cars.

By the time I had gotten to Williams Bridge on my last train outing it was rather dark, so I hardly think that these photographs are anything spectacular. In the dark with the graffiti it probably looks more grungy than it does normally. There are also a few photos of the station after the snow, which I took from inside a train that had stopped at the station. Next week I’ll have some better photos, I promise :D

   
 
 
  
 
  
 

Read More