The Uplifting Loopy Quarterloop Uplift Mast Arms

left qloopright qloopThe uplifting tale of the soaring, quarter rounded uplift street lighting mast arms that swooped in on New York City like a flock of steel tubed locusts from the early 1960s through well into the 1980s, coupled with the mass invasion of mercury vapor cobra head street lighting.
The world was a fairly predictable place prior to my 6th year. Every day I went to school and every day I returned home to Booth Street in Rego Park, Queens, New York City. My block on Booth Street never changed.
Then one day I returned home from kindergarten, and there they were...where only that morning, as I left for school, my old familiar tapered elliptical "crook arm" masted incandescent Westinghouse "cuplight" street lights still held sway... The infamous Quarter Loops streetlight arms and their evil partners in crime, the "Disgusted" (GE M400) mercury vapor fluorescent fixtures.
quarterloop with ge m400 Ironically I don't believe I missed the cuplights as much as the crookarms. I was aware that other streets had mercuries and since kids usually want the latest new toy, I wanted my street to have the latest new light. I'd cry over the demise of the cups in later years. What I never took well to was the quarter loop arms. Why the city saw any need for them, I have no idea. Like their stainless aluminum standard contemporaries, the Donald Deskey designed "Bigloops", the quarterloops sprouted in the 1960's, like some luminous fungus. Why did I take such a dislike to the Q-loops? They probably suffered guilt by association to the Disgusteds. It didn't help them that I was also very attached to the familiar crookarms.

I loved the crookarms the best over all other poles. I drew them all the time. Maybe at six, I couldn't draw curved lines good, rendering me unable to master the drawing of the new loopy arms. That would've been a good reason to hate them. I think I just didn't like them, because. At six, you don't need much more of a reason to dislike something.
The irony is that I was not usually averse to new things, but I was hostile to unusual things and asymetrical things. The crookarms were usual. They were everywhere when I was little. A new, shiny crookarm pole would be a welcome new thing. The still uncommon loop was unwelcome. It made my block wierd, in a crookarm world. I might face discrimination someday, for being a Loopian.

van wyck quarterloop I was always on the lookout for things that set me apart from the mainstream. We lived in a building that was not evenly divided on each side, with an elevator in the center and 2 staircases at each end, like the neighboring buildings had. Therefore, I hated my asymetrical building. My street wasn't a two way street, which made it seem somewhat stigmatized to me. I didn't hate the street though, but I did want to live on a two way. At least there were plenty of other one ways around.
In retrospect, all thing considered, I blame the fixtures for my anti-loopiness. As the loops and I near our 40th year, I've grown accustomed to them and would miss them if they disappeared. They've become sort of a symbol of NYC. Kojak fans saw plenty of them in stock footage used, whenever Kojak had to jump in a car and rush somewhere. Though the Q's were usually attached to hexagonal or round galvanized poles, they had the dubious distinction of kicking the Whitestone arms off their poles on a couple of highways. Except for that, the Q's were rather predictable. I never saw one attached to utility poles and they never held incandescent lights.

qloop with westinghouse cuplightAlmost never had incandescents, I should say. There was one single solitary q-loop that I know of, that had a cuplight. As usual, it was the Belt Parkway that provided the stage. The Belt itself had no q-loops, but its erstwhile service road in Queens; Conduit Boulevard did. Near Aqueduct Racetrack, just before Conduit swings away from the Belt, I spied one Q-loop with a cuplight back in the early 1980's. That stretch of Conduit was late ditching the incandescents, as was the Belt Parkway that it served as a service road, but that cuplight was just one of a scattered few still left in the 1980's. Why each of those lights were missed in the sweeping vaporization of those roads, I'll never know. It's possible that some DOT workers, who think like me, strove to save a few for sentimental reasons.

Some background on these mastarms was provided me by an early StreetlightSite contributor, Sanders Saltzman. It is from the 1963 handbook put out by the Welsbach Corporation for it's field crews. Welsbach at the time was the primary servicer of street lights in New York City and for all I know might still be as I update this in 2018. One type of this arm was intended for use with the Type 8S (Welsbach designation) 20 foot hex lighting standards. Although the q-loops would later hang on 25 foot poles, it appears they were originally intended to supplant the tapered ellipticals on the shorter light poles.
Another 2 versions of the q-loop, which I've apparently never seen and may never have been used, were ironically intended for use on wood utility poles. Welsbach referred to them as the Type 6'x7'x6" and Type 8'x7'x6" Brackets.
The fact that an extended 8' span was planned is also of interest, because of the many mast types used in New York City, the q-loop is one of the few not to have a longer, or braced version, in use. The 6' span is the q-loop standard.
Many thanks again to Sanders Saltzman.

Originally written in 1996.