Brooklyn Union Gas Co. Maspeth Holders 1 & 2, Methane holder tanks on
Maspeth Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
#1 (the thinner one) built 1927...1st rigid construction tank (oil or gas)
in US, maybe the world
#2- (250 foot circumference, 385 feet high, 395 with the "cupola" at
top)....tallest gas tank in the world, built 1946..at the top is the outer
marker light for LaGuardia international Airport...
I hope planes don't crash into Elmhurst now because Keyspan (Brooklyn Union
Gas being no more, these are after all the "B.U.G. Maspeth Holders") is
imploding them this morning 7/15/2001 at 7 AM...
The best spot to view them and one that the police could never think of is
in the first photo-from east across Newtown Creek from the tanks in
Maspeth....Note in this photo in the foreground, the pilings and a bit of
the toll house foundation for the Maspeth Plank Road bridge that collapsed
in 1875 after the plank road abandoned it earlier that decade.
Newtown Creek was the first dead waterway in 1859 already, and wood doesn't
have enemies in such water, so it survives. The channel was widened but
somehow these relics were spared, this small piece of land was once a small
island so maybe that is how it survives, just wildflowers and gravel and
manhole covers fit on this archeological site, on this tiny bit of history
from 126 years ago, surviving in this big city, surviving in a waterway
that was the second busiest in the world for almost a hundred years..Until
the 1950's it was called the Little Mississippi. But it does survive. The
tanks will not.
The second photo looks north at the doomed tanks, guardians of the
Brooklyn/Queens border for so many years, from the Montrose Avenue
drawbridge over English Kill. The first of this estuary system to be
channeled. This is the 1917 swing bridge (fixed in place since 1962) over
the Kill just 40 feet from its dead end to the south. The route of the South
Side RR, the Bushwick Branch. Under my feet the huge rusting gear, the other
way the curved ratcheted structure where once the bridge swung open on.
English Kill curves to the right in this photo and eventually enters Newtown
Creek. Peter Cooper began his career rendering animals here, The Manhattan
Beach RR had a station near where the Metropolitan Avenue bascule bridge is
today, just south of these tanks, and the NY&MB ran through the property
that these tanks are/were on, possibly through the big one
so-to-speak...(Greenpoint Division of LIRR until 1893)
I was at this site today and there was actual freight movements, though the
"locomotive" had some sort of tractor wheels on either side to help it
although it also had wheels on the rails. This strange tractor rail vehicle
did not, I am not sure it can't, cross the bridge...There are freight cars
in Bushwick yards and even on a siding a block away, a true loco pulls
them...I have seen that too. No passengers ever saw these tanks as the last
passenger train ran past in 1924. Many cattle may have, though.