A 1920-30's style
twinlamp cast iron pole, one of two styles contemporary to that
period, sporting a rare matching pair of bells. Careful eyes
can see the differences between this pole and the other 2nd generation
twin from 5th Avenue.
The spike atop the center of the mast was meant to either evoke the grandeur of the Imperial German military helmets, or to make fun of them, since this pole probably dates from shortly after the end of WWI.
I suppose it
might of also been intended to discourage birds from roosting
on it. This stood at Canal Street's western terminus at West
Street, at least as of this photo in 1983.
The archway in back of it once carried the West Side Hwy, built in the 30's and more formally known as the Miller Viaduct, over Canal Street. The rest of that stretch of highway had already been torn down. The arch disappeared a couple of years after this photo was shot. The graffiti message atop the arch shows the lengths that vandals will go to, in order to leave their mark on society.