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Question on Fifth/Madison '2' Routes, 1966-1969

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W.B. Fishbowl

Age: 50
Joined: 02 Oct 2014
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Location: New York, New York, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:18 pm    Post subject: Question on Fifth/Madison '2' Routes, 1966-1969 Reply with quote

The question has to do with the one-way conversions of Fifth Avenue to southbound, and Madison Avenue to northbound, on Jan. 14, 1966, and particularly the two Route 2's - ex-NYCO Madison and Lenox Avenues and ex-FACCo Fifth and Seventh Avenues - each of which routes' opposite paths were set at the other avenues.

This is due to the Wikipedia page suggesting the two routes were combined into different branches a la the Convent and St. Nicholas branches of ex-FACCO Rt. 3 - one via Lenox (designated 2) and the other via Seventh (designated 2A). This supposition was based largely on a passage in a Jan. 17, 1966 New York Times article dealing with Traffic Commissioner Henry Barnes' suggestion for express bus routes along Fifth and Madison. The quote is as follows:
The designation is changed from "168th Street-Edgecombe Avenue-Washington Square" to "Fifth and Madison Avenues via Seventh and Lenox Avenues." Southbound the only change will be that the buses will join Lenox Avenue at West 147th Street and turn east on 116th Street to Fifth Avenue for the straight run south. The buses will turn east on Eighth Street for a final stop just east of Fifth Avenue, then continue east to Astor Place for the turnaround.

Northbound, they will form up at East Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue, go west on Ninth, north on University Place, east on 14th Street, then north on Union Square East and Park Avenue South to 25th Street. There they will turn west to Madison Avenue, then north on Madison to 110th Street. The main route then goes west to Seventh Avenue and north to the West 115th [sic - should be 155th] Street viaduct, joining Edgecombe Avenue to continue north to 167th Street and the turnaround at 168th and Broadway.

Some No. 2 buses will continue north on Madison to 116th Street, then west to Lenox Avenue and north on the avenue to 147th Street. Others will start north on Fourth Avenue from Ninth Street and rejoin the main route at Union Square East.

Which raises more questions than answers. Did the southbound route run differently from the northbound? Did both 2's have their northern terminus at 168th and Broadway, with the southbound 2 turning at Seventh onto 146th Street (147th is one-way westbound) towards Lenox and then to 116th onto Fifth, and 2A running straight along Seventh to 110th onto Fifth, and northbound the 2, after reaching 147th and Lenox, turning onto Seventh towards the 168th terminus? Or was it that the 2 always terminated at 147th and Lenox while the 2A (today's M2) did likewise at 168th? And finally, which 2 "branch," past 9th Street, turn west to University Place up to 14th, and which ran straight along Fourth Avenue to 14th?

Also, would anyone be in possession of pictures along the northbound routes of both 2 and 2A taken between 1966 and 1969 which would answer such questions viz their front roll signs? We know that all this came to an end on March 2, 1969 with the 'via Lenox' 2's route, below 116th Street, moved further east to Third Avenue northbound and Lexington Avenue southbound, and rebranded M-101A (today's M102).
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After consulting the May 1972 issue of Motor Coach Age, MaBSTOA The First 10 Years by Bernard Linder I have the following information that I hope it answer your question(s)

There were two route 2...
One was ex-Fifth Avenue Coach, 5th and 7th Avenues
The other was ex-New York City Omnibus, 4th and Madison via Park Avenue

The Fifth Avenue route 2 was renumbered to 2A on January 14, 1966

The New York City Omnibus route 2 was re-routed southbound on Fifth Avenue on January 14, 1966 and it was discontinued on March 2, 1969. It was replaced by route 101A north of 116 Street on Lenox Ave.

The map that accompanies the articles shows the following routing for the 2A
(Remember the article is from 1972)

Route 2A southbound:
East on 167 St; south on Edgecombe Ave; east on 155 St; south on 7 Ave; east on 110 St; south on Fifth Ave; east on 8 St till Lafayette St - layover

Route 2A northbound:
West on 9 St; north on University; east on 14 St; north on Park Ave South; west on 25 St; north on Madison Ave; west on 110 St; north on 7 Ave; west on 155 St; north on Edgecombe Ave; 168 St; south on St. Nicholas; east on 167 St - layover

It appears that MaBSTOA kept most of the southbound routing of Fifth Avenue Coach and combined the layover on 8 St with the northbound routing of New York City Omnibus at least till 110 St.
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W.B. Fishbowl

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Location: New York, New York, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well . . . thanks for the tip, I knew that was ex-FACCo 2A's route all throughout. But if Farnsworth Fowle (the writer of that Times article from which that passage was quoted) was suggesting that ex-NYCO 2 likewise terminated at 167th, albeit via Lenox to 147th, evidently he wouldn't have known what he was writing about, I guess. I presume that it wouldn't have made sense for ex-NYCO 2 to have followed this route in the 1966-69 period:

Southbound - East on 167th Street, south on Edgecombe Avenue, east on 155th Street, south on 7th Avenue, east on 146th Street, south on Lenox Avenue, east on 116th Street, south on 5th Avenue, east on 8th Street till Lafayette Street - layover
Northbound - North on 4th Avenue (or west on 9th Street, north on University, east on 14th Street), north on Union Square East and then Park Avenue South, west on 25th Street, north on Madison Avenue, west on 116th Street, north on Lenox Avenue, west on 147th Street, north on 7th Avenue, west on 155th Street, north on Edgecombe Avenue, 168th Street, south on St. Nicholas, east on 167th Street - layover

. . . now, would it? Because that's what Mr. Fowle, in that Times article, seemed to imply what happened. Clearly he didn't distinguish the two Route 2's if his coverage is any indication. "The buses will join Lenox Avenue at 147th Street" passage about ex-NYCO 2's southbound route, and the "via Seventh and Lenox Avenues" designation he wrote, seems to suggest, north of 147th and Lenox, a parallel routing to ex-FACCo 2A, contrary to what evidence we know of.

Oh, and the 1969 creation of the Third/Lexington/Lenox route 101A, besides being a wholesale rerouting of ex-NYCO 2 below 116th at Lenox, was by all indications (if that 1972 Motor Coach Age look of MaBSTOA's first 10 years is a guide) a de facto revival of the old Lexington-Lenox route 4 that NYCO and then the "Omnibus Division of Fifth Avenue Coach Lines" ran up to the 1960 one-way conversions of Lexington and Third (which led to NYCO's 1 and 2 being extended up to Lenox - the 1 via 135th, the 2 via 116th - in the first place).

It's been awhile since I've last been to the Transit Museum, which has a map of Manhattan (and key MaBSTOA and TA Manhattan Bus Division routes) as of 1968, the year before the discontinuance of ex-NYCO 2 and the launching of 101A. (They also have maps of the other four boroughs from that same period, but that's irrelevant to the answer to this mystery as I'm searching for.) I suppose I should go there one day and find out exactly what was what just before that switcheroo, to get a clearer picture. The Times did tend to be wanting in terms of accuracy in matters relating to NYC buses. And Wikipedia has copied this muddying of such waters.
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W.B. Fishbowl

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was perusing through eBay and saw on a subway and bus map issued by The Chase Manhattan Bank in 1966-67, that the Fifth/Madison/Lenox (ex-NYCO) #2, sure enough, terminated north at 147th and Lenox (#1 and #7 were next to it on that northernmost stub). Alas, the preparation of that map must've been before the TA and MaBSTOA reclassified the same-numbered ex-FACCo Fifth/Madison/Seventh route as 2A, as both routes are referred to as 2. (That alpha suffix was applied around summer 1966 to the ex-FACCo route, given the confusion between the two lines that'd existed, especially along Madison and even from a New York Times reporter, from the point Madison and Fifth were converted to one-way.) On the cover of that map were illustrations approximating the R38 (the first of which entered service in the latter part of '66) and a GM TDH-5303 with a bus number from one of the 1962 5301's ordered by the TA.
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W.B. Fishbowl

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally managed to go to the Transit Museum today to unravel all this. They have vintage dispatchers' maps for all five boroughs' bus routes. For Manhattan, they have one from April 1968 - 11 months before the ex-NYCO 2 was ixnayed and the 3rd/Lexington/Lenox 101A started up.

Reading the map, it would appear based on how everything is mapped out, only 2A and 3, north of 9th Street, traveled west on 9th Street, north on University Place and east on 14th Street to Union Square West. It seems the 2, like the 1, traveled straight north on Fourth Avenue between 9th and 14th Streets. (As well, the 1, on weekends, in its southbound route, turned east on 4th Street then north on 4th Avenue towards its 8th Street terminus - as the 2 had prior to the 1966 Fifth and Madison one-way conversions.) The 2 did indeed terminate north at 147th and Lenox, along with the 1 and 7; while 2A went their own merry way towards 168th.

On a tangent - there is proof that the old FACCo 19, back in '62, was absorbed into the 5, as the map shows the 5 along Riverside both up to 135th Street and up to 157th (the latter route the 19 had gone).

As of April 1968, the route assignments by depot/garage in Manhattan were (all MaBSTOA except where noted):
- 12th Street (405 East 11th Street) - 12, 14 (Ave A), 14 (Ave D)
- 54th Street (806 Ninth Avenue) - 6 (Bway/Ave of Americas), 13, 15 (Fifth Avenue/Jackson Heights), 15 (23rd Street Crosstown), 16 (Elmhurst Crosstown), 16 (34th Street Crosstown), 20 (57th Street Crosstown), M-103, M-106
- 100th Street (1550 Lexington Avenue) - 6 (72nd Street Crosstown), 17, 18, 19, 20 (116th Street Crosstown), M-101, M-107, TB (M-101A would have been assigned here after 1969)
- Amsterdam (1381 Amsterdam Avenue) - Bx-30, M-100, M-104
- 132nd Street (605 West 132nd Street) - 3, 4, 5, 11 (Ninth & Amsterdam Avenues), probably 10 (Broadway; pull-in and pull-out line only)
- 146th Street (101 West 146th Street) - 1, 2, 2A, 7, 10 (8th Avenue/Central Park West) - (take out 2 after 3/2/69)
- 126th Street (NYCTA Manhattan Bus Division, 2460 Second Avenue) - M-1 (Madison/Chambers), M-3 (49th & 50th Streets), M-7 (65th Street), M-11 (York Avenue), M-15 (1st & 2nd Avenues)
This should be handy in identifying which depot would have stored certain buses as per the routes they traveled in old photos. (However, would anyone know which depot Rt. 21 - Houston Street-Avenue C would have been based out of - 12th Street, perhaps?)

As well, at the time the SB route 4 - Fifth Ave.-Ft. Washington, turned west on 33rd Street towards Penn Station; at what point would its WB turn have been moved to 34th?
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