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No one got this last week’s photo puzzle (below) but we received a history lesson in the bargain. Since the Island has no traffic lights, our correspondents — Councilman Peter Reich, Jane Roberts, Mildred Case and Va Racer (who weighed in here on our website) — all said it must be the traffic light that was used when Bridge Street was being repaired.
“It was the winter of ‘93 or ‘94 as I best remember,” Mr. Reich wrote. “First bridge had failed many years prior and was temporarily replaced with a metal section from Bruckner Blvd. [in the Bronx]. When the state finally replaced it with the current structure, during the 6 to 8 month process, the bridge was only one lane and you had to wait for a green signal to cross.”
The traffic light was photographed about 200 yards from the South Ferry landing and located at the site of the original South Ferry landing, where boats used to come in before Route 114 was built. It was also the site of Skip Tuttle’s boatyard.
Skip told us a tale going back 40 years or more of friends of his who owned a bar and restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens.
One day a man came in and wanted to play a practical joke on a friend, using a traffic light. A patron of the bar who worked in the traffic department of New York City, got his friend the stop light, while another rigged the box to work it. “I had it at my boatyard and then gave it to my cousins,” Skip said. “I thought it should stay in the neighborhood.”