The construction update: Warren, Worth and Vestry

This is the latest from the Department of Design and Construction, with completion dates that have run right past their original estimates. Yes, yes, no shocker. But maybe have just a moment of understanding given that there are trolley yokes under Vestry Street? Who could have guessed that one? (Well, James?) Did a trolley run on Vestry?

On Warren: “DDC is waiting for all Con Edison gas and electrical improvements to be completed on Warren Street at the West Broadway and Church Street intersections before repaving the street on Warren Street from Broadway to West Street. The project is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2020.” Also residents between Broadway and Church were told this week that the water main installation is complete.

On Vestry: “DDC is reconstructing Vestry Street from Hudson Street to the Holland Tunnel Gate due to its poor condition. The hole in the ground is caused by the relocation of telephone lines and Con Edison electric conduits. DDC also unexpectedly discovered trolley yokes from the 1800s, which must be removed to prevent holes in the concrete base. The project is anticipated to be completed in Summer 2021.”

On Worth: “The project on Worth Street is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2021.”



  1. I do miss trolleys.

  2. To start, there are trolley tracks shown on Vestry Street in 1927 photographs located in the NYC Municipal Archives. I would say that’s a reasonably public record.

    Vestry Street
    Looking west from #3 Ve…
    February 13, 1927

  3. Then there is this:

    “#BehindtheScenes with #NYTransitMuseum Registrar Nanci Velez as she works on an 1875 #horsecar model in the curatorial department. Attributed to model-maker John Stephenson, the ‘Grand Street Crosstown Line/Car #200/Grand, Vestry and Desbrosses Street’ is a model of a horsecar from the Dry Dock, East Broadway and Battery Railroad Company, a streetcar operator that serviced 20 miles of track in downtown #Manhattan from 1863 – 1897. Today, the #MTA M8 and M9 buses operate along these routes. On loan from the Museum of the City of New York, the model lives in our ‘On The Streets: New York’s Trolleys and Buses’ exhibit.”

  4. This link shows a reprinting of “Route Map of Manhattan Streetcar Lines – 1920,” which depicts the location of the line along Vestry Street, running east from Washington Street East of Hudson Street, i.e., to Varick Street.


    This is a photo of Hudson Street & Vestry Street around 1900. The view is looking northeast at 182-192 Hudson Street, east side of Hudson Street and north of Vestry Street.

    A train engine is pushing a train south along Hudson Street (photo right) towards the New York Central & Hudson River Freight Depot. At the left edge of the photo is a streetcar traveling along Vestry Street, and trolley tracks are visible on Vestry Street.

  6. Maybe DDC never read the Tribeca North Historic District Designation Report (by NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission).

    “[…] Around 1864 the Desbrosses Street Ferry to Jersey City initiated service from the foot of Desbrosses Street; soon a ferry terminal with two slips for steam ferry boats was constructed. The following year the Grand Street Ferry railroad line was extended to the pier, thus creating a network of passenger ferry and street car service. […]

    “Passenger service. In addition to the freight line, the area of the district was crossed by a number of passenger street railways. Two lines linked the Desbrosses Street and Grand street ferries, an electric line that ran on Vestry and Desbrosses Streets and a horse-drawn one that operated on Watts Street between Canal and West Streets. […]”


    “Men pulling a tram. Historical illustration of men pulling a tram due to a lack of available horse caused by an outbreak of equine influenza (flu), in November 1872. Image from Histoire de la locomotion terrestre, by Charles Dollfus and Edgar de Geoffroy, France, 1935.”

    • Great work James!

      But… men pulled a tram when the people inside could have just walked?

      • The 1872 horse flu had an intense impact on the economy of the U.S. There were plenty of unemployed people who needed even that work if pulling people, freight, and fire engines.

        “During the late 19th century, the American economy relied on horses the way it depends on gas today. Horses unloaded cargo from ports, transported goods from city to city, worked the farms, supported the army, and served as the emergency vehicles of choice. Without them, the American workforce would have ground to a halt.

        “And that’s exactly what happened in 1872, when an estimated 99 percent of all horses in America contracted equine influenza. The highly contagious strain started in Canada and spread through New England to the South in a matter of months, leaving horses across the country too weak to stand and coughing uncontrollably. Street buggies stopped running, paralyzing commerce in the cities. Railroads were stymied because trains run on coal—coal that was hauled out of mines by horses. And as the horse flu spread, U.S. military troops had to go into battle on foot (they were fighting Apache Indians at the time). More tragically, a fire in Boston raged for three days because there were no horses to carry water. The flames destroyed more than 700 buildings, causing an estimated $73.5 million in damages and killing at least 20 people.

        “The ‘Great Epizootic,’ as it was called, spiraled out of control in less than a year. At the height of the panic, as many as 20,000 businesses failed, a third of all railroads went bankrupt, and unemployment spiked to almost 15 percent. The economy took nearly a decade to recover. Ironically, nearly all of the horses recuperated by the following spring.”

  8. From the August 1971 Issue of the Electric Railroaders’ Association “Bulletin”:


    “The operated franchise rights of this company are legislative enactments covering a period from 1860 to 1866. The company was incorporated December 8, 1863 to take over the franchises and property. It was purchased by Third Avenue [Railroad Company] on August 23, 1897 and was an operating subsidiary until the Grand St Line, the last Dry Dock line, was abandoned on Sept 3, 1932. […]

    “8/1/[19]05 Last horse car […]

    “Route– From Grand St Ferry via Grand St, Sullivan St, Vestry St, Greenwich St (northbound), Washington St (southbound), Desbrosses St to Ferry.”