30 November 2010

"Extravagant, Luxurious..." Beekman Gardens

Here are some 1977 ads for the Beekman Gardens and Beekman Village apartments and townhouses.

Rents that started at $260 per month 34 years ago are now at $1000.

29 November 2010

A "most beautiful" Complex

Here's an ad from January 1975 for Hillsborough Gardens, one of the many apartment and townhouse developments in the Triangle Road - Farm Road area.

According to the real estate websites, monthly rents have more than quadrupled over the past 36 years, with an 872 sq. ft. apartment now starting at $985.

25 November 2010

"Bring Your Own Turkey? Sure!"

It's Thanksgiving in Hillsborough, circa 1960. I hope you brought your appetite -and your turkey!

November 1960 Ad for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Town and Country Inn
Click on the image to enlarge the menu.

18 November 2010

Shovel-Ready, 1897

When the members of the Bridgewater Township Committee were roused from their beds by phone calls and messengers just after midnight on October 24, 1897, they probably weren't expecting to hear that they were in the midst of an invasion by "a thousand men from Baltimore", but that was exactly what was happening.

New York Times headline, 25 October 1897

The New York and Philadelphia Traction Company had been involved in a bitter three-year dispute with the Brunswick Traction Company over who had the legal right to build and operate a trolley line between Bound Brook and Somerville. Earlier that evening, a train left Baltimore for Finderne carrying enough railroad track for two and a half miles of road, a trolley car, and 1,000 laborers, foremen, and engineers under the employ of the New York and Philadelphia Traction Company - with orders to build the railway, and let nothing stand in their way.

4 November 1897 Electrical Engineer trade journal

The few police officers the township committee had at their disposal were completely ineffectual, so they called on the Somerset County Sheriff - who quickly recruited 50 "special deputies". He was joined by Edward Radel, the president of the Brunswick Traction Company, who arrived a short time later with 50 men of his own, and an injunction from a Superior Court Judge.

4 November 1897 Electrical Engineer trade journal

The New York and Philadelphia men, who outnumbered the locals by ten to one, kept right on working - digging up the street, setting sleepers, laying rail, and setting poles - despite a pouring rain all day. Fueled by coffee, and the occasional "stronger stimulant", the laborers worked at an incredible pace. By the afternoon, they were already stringing the overhead electric cable.

President Radel made one last stand at a 1,000 ft. stretch of land bordering a farm which he owned, but his men were easily overpowered and the work went on.

Main Street Somerville with Troilley Car, circa 1900
Somerville, NJ circa 1910 showing trolley
New York lawyer John B. Shaw, a supporter of the New York and Philadelphia Company, recently had a large dynamo installed at his magnificent residence in Finderne, supposedly to supply electric light. It was from this location that power was supplied to the trolley line.

By the following morning, the invading army had left for Maryland, eager to be out of the state before any legal action could take place.

And that's how a shovel-ready project was completed in one day in 1897.

17 November 2010

"Next stop Secaucus - Watch the closing doors"

Now that Governor Christie has sunk the ARC rail tunnel, plans are being floated by the Bloomberg administration to turn New Jersey commuters into straphangers by bringing New York's Number 7 subway line under the Hudson.

New York City's 7 train with the Newark skyline in the background

The line, which runs from Flushing, Queens to Times Square, is already undergoing an extension project which will bring the tracks right up to the Hudson River waterfront at 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

The main advantage this plan has over the ARC tunnel is the cost to New Jersey taxpayers. The overall price tag is estimated to be less than half the amount of the NJ Transit ARC tunnel, plus, other jurisdictions - New York City, Port Authority - would be expected to chip in this time.

The disadvantage is that the ARC tunnel promised a "one seat ride" into the city for many commuters, whereas the new plan would have commuters switch to the 7 train at Secaucus.

The proposal appears to be sound. In fact, it really is not very different than the PATH trains that already run under the Hudson in two separate tunnels - and require jumping on and off at Newark or Hoboken.

Hillsborough Township commuters know that potential reactivation of NJ Transit's West Trenton Line is wholly dependent on increasing Hudson River tunnel capacity. This proposal does the trick, and would potentially allow West Trenton Line trains to deliver passengers to Secaucus for transfer to the subway.