The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Queensboro trapeze

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oh, how I love it when they forget to close the gates…

recently observed was this aerial ballet beneath the Queensboro bridge in LIC. They seemed to either be ConEd or one of its subcontractors, busily working on some byzantine facet of… what I suspect… to be the steam pipes that follow the underside of the great bridge from the Ravenswood Station (aka Big Allis) to Manhattan.

from wikipedia

The New York City steam system is a district heating system which carries steam from central power stations under the streets of Manhattan to heat, cool, or supply power to high rise buildings and businesses. Some New York businesses and facilities also use the steam for cleaning and disinfection.

The New York Steam Company began providing service in lower Manhattan in 1882. Today, Consolidated Edison operates the largest commercial steam system in the world, now known as Con Edison Steam Operations, providing steam service to nearly 2,000 customers and serving more than 100,000 commercial and residential establishments in Manhattan from the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan to 96th Street uptown. Roughly 30 billion lbs. (just under 13.64 megatons) of steam flow through the system every year.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pithy comments were overheard from the crew’s supervisor regarding your humble narrator, and I can’t necessarily blame them. Who wants to be photographed by some stranger while at work?

from wikipedia

In 1823, Con Edison’s earliest corporate entity, the New York Gas Light Company, was founded by a consortium of New York City investors. In 1824 New York Gas Light was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it has the record for being the longest listed stock on the NYSE.

In 1884, six gas companies combined into the Consolidated Gas Company. The New York Steam Company began providing service in lower Manhattan in 1882. Today, Con Edison operates the largest commercial steam system in the world, providing steam service to nearly 1,600 commercial and residential establishments in Manhattan from the Battery to 96th Street.

Con Edison’s electric business also dates back to 1882, when Thomas Edison’s Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York began supplying electricity to 59 customers in a square-mile area in lower Manhattan. After the “War of Currents”, there were more than 30 companies generating and distributing electricity in New York City and Westchester County. But by 1920 there were far fewer, and the New York Edison Company (then part of Consolidated Gas) was clearly the leader.

In 1936, with electric sales far outstripping gas sales, the company incorporated and the name was changed to Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. The years that followed brought further amalgamations as Consolidated Edison acquired or merged with more than a dozen companies between 1936 and 1960. Con Edison today is the result of acquisitions, dissolutions and mergers of more than 170 individual electric, gas and steam companies.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 4, 2010 at 9:12 am

2 Responses

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  1. […] Bridge). My understanding is that the gas it is emitting is actually waste steam generated from CONED‘s consolidated generating system at Big Allis, and it is included in this post purely for the […]

  2. Those are actually pipes feeding high voltage electricity between manhattan and queens, not steam.

    john

    September 27, 2012 at 11:02 am


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