Archive for ‘Murray Hill’

January 28, 2012

Bell Labs got solar panels!

Solar panels at Bell Labs! I mean Alcatel Lucent.

Bell Labs Alcatel-Lucent installed solar panels over the summer! So the shot I got last December, with nice clear lawns…

Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, December 2010

…is no longer possible. Here’s how it looks from the road now:

Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, January 2012

According to and Lucent’s own corporate blog, the solar system is expected to provide 10% of their power needs, cut energy costs by $2.5 billion over 10 years, and help Alcatel-Lucent meet its goal to reduce its carbon footprint 50% by 2020.

Back in June, when the panels were first officially switched on, Berkeley Heights mayor Joseph Bruno said:

I applaud them for going green, but putting them right on Mountain Avenue appears to be a little bit of an eyesore. It’s a mixed thing for me…. I hope the shrubs they put in front of them grow in because people slowing down to look at the panels can cause a traffic problem.

Well said. I think that’s kind of how we’re all feeling. But it’s for the greater good, and we’ll get used to them eventually. 🙂

June 25, 2011


There's a Schoolhouse Rock song about electricity! You should hear it if you don't know it.

This is [one of?] New Providence’s electrical substation[s], at 11 Floral Avenue. It’s right next to the New Providence Firehouse, which is in an area of Murray Hill primarily comprised of giant sprawling corporate buildings (not residences).

I like electricity. Don’t you? Here’s a song about it.
(Electricity – Schoolhouse Rock)

March 7, 2011

Murray Hill Station 2

Murray Hill has HISTORY

The Murray Hill train station (in Murray Hill, which is still part of New Providence) most likely opened around 1872, along with the rest of the New Jersey West rail line.

According to the arsenal of historic maps I’ve collected, the station was called Murray Hill probably as soon as it opened in 1872, but definitely by 1879.

Murray Hill Train Station... sometime in the early 1900s, I presume?

HOWEVER: this is not the original station.

The current Murray Hill train station, pictured in both of these photos, was built in the early 1900s, “a short distance west of the original station.”

Just remember: when people say “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” be glad that’s the case—the original structure only lasted 30 years or so!


Vintage photo and quote from:

Gonczlik, J. & Coddington, J. (1998). Images of America: New Providence. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC.

February 27, 2011

Here come the geese

Here come the geese

Many of us who have grown up with Canada geese— which I suspect is most people in the United States, or at least most of us on the east coast, or at the VERY least most of us in the northeast— see a field of Canada geese and think, “Oh no, I hope I haven’t already stepped in $#!t.”

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February 5, 2011

Cold rails

Feel the cold sun on your face!

Seriously, what IS it with this blog’s focus on all things train-related? For whatever reason, I think they’re kind of neat, and I hope you do too.

(For whatever reason.)

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January 27, 2011

Railroad crossing!

Train crossing!

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first place between New York and Murray Hill (about an hour out of NYC) on the NJ Transit Morris/Essex line (on the Gladstone branch, anyway) that actually interferes with traffic at all. From here to the City, every traffic crossing involves a bridge over everything or a tunnel under everything.

(For a more in-depth history and 19th-century rail company drama, read the Wikipedia article.)

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January 18, 2011

Murray Hill Station

Murray Hill Station

This is the Murray Hill train station, located just a mile or two beyond the New Providence station. I don’t know much else about it.

Edit: I found more things to say about it,, including what it looked like about a hundred years ago:

Murray Hill Train Station... sometime in the early 1900s, I presume?

Vintage photo from
Gonczlik, J. & Coddington, J. (1998). Images of America: New Providence. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC.

A few additional notes, unrelated to Murray Hill:
1. I am ashamed to say I missed posting yesterday. I was sick, and I thought I had enough backup posts to last me until I felt better. I was wrong.
2. There is some kind of ice storm happening right now. The plows are going, and the trains claim to be on schedule, so I dunno how bad it is. It’s still dark out, so I don’t know what it looks like, but I’ll try to find out for you.

January 16, 2011


HP Financial Company Headquarters

Did you know the world headquarters of Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company are/is in New Providence? It’s true!

Before you get too excited, the HP Financial Company is a just subset of Hewlett-Packard proper. But that’s still neat, I think!

January 6, 2011

Bell Labs: Part II

Up close and personal! and possibly trespassing. I was looking for a visitor's center.

According to a pamphlet I picked up at the library (In & About Union County… From Berkeley Heights to Winfield. 2010. Presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; p. 13):

The 1941 establishment of Bell Laboratories, the research facility, had a tremendous impact on development in the area. Subdivisions rapidly consumed farmland.

Architecturally speaking, although Bell Labs was established in 1941, this grand front entrance wasn’t built until about 30 years later. Here are some links to other people’s old aerial shots of the campus (not mine!):

1959. No grand entrance! Early 1960s? I'm guessing by the slight tree growth from 1959. Early 1970s? I'm guessing by the cars.

It’s actually been interesting to note that most of the manhole covers in New Providence are (A) dated, and (B) almost entirely from the 1940s-1960s, presumably when families were pouring into New Providence and new housing developments (and, consequently, extensions to the sewer systems) were being built.

(Side note: I have a thing for manholes. 🙂 )

On a completely different note— this is just according to Wikipedia, mind you, so take it with a grain of salt— those two big chimneys aren’t chimneys at all. They’re Yagi antennae currently in use by the New Providence school district to link its own wireless LAN computer networks together. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but that’s what I’ve got.

January 5, 2011

Bell Labs: Part I

I swear this is almost entirely natural lighting (not Photoshopped).

I hate to drag this out to a two-part series, but I’m running low on photos! So: part one: The Official Bell Laboratories Headquarters in Murray Hill, NJ!

HERE— within this very complex— is where the transistor and the laser were invented.

…No way.

YES I AM TOTALLY SERIOUS. Transistors were invented here in 1947 (and officially documented as such), and lasers in 1957.

(Murray Hill, as far as I can tell, is a sort of unofficial bit of land that straddles New Providence and Berkeley Heights. Technically, Bell Labs may be in Berkeley Heights; I’m not too sure where exactly the municipal boundaries are, but the sewers all say “New Providence” on ’em.)

(P.S. I actually grew up in a Bell Labs area; Monmouth County is/was home to the Saarinen-designed Bell Labs and the majority of the other NJ locations (including Deal Test Site), as well as Fort Monmouth. As far as I’m concerned, telecommunications research rawks.)

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