Untapped Cities writer Brian Orce sent us this photo of a quirky lighthouse atop a building in the Bronx, which he noticed while stuck in traffic along the Major Deegan Expressway. How did a beacon of the sea come to guide the commuters of New York City?
The building at 950 University Avenue was once the headquarters of H.W. Wilson, a publishing company, known for its Readers Guide to Periodical Literature. The lighthouse was part of the company logo, symbolizing the mission of H.W. Wilson: “To give guidance to those seeking their way through the maze of books and periodicals, without which they would be lost.” Jean Marra, a former editor for Readers Guide tells us “Although it’s hard to see from the Deegan, the lighthouse rests on an opened book and had a working beacon.”
The interior of the building still made use of pneumatic tubes, the once ubiquitous means of delivering mail in New York City, but is unclear if those details were kept after its conversion into the headquarters of Tuck-it-Away storage, who painted the lighthouse orange. H.W. Wilson merged into EBSCO Publishing in 2012, while Tuck-it-Away lost the famous eminent domain battle with Columbia University in West Harlem, forcing the move to the Bronx. The Bronx Times reports that Tuck-it-Away is considering a business incubator in the space as well.
Check out a list of NYC’s most unique lighthouses here.