Thursday, October 4, 2007

Paper Trams and Tram Light Fixtures

Last year my younger child attended twice a week a mommy and me class at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery. While there I saw what might may the last cardboard / paper tram on Roosevelt Island that is publicly displayed.

In 2003, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society sponsored a contest and exhibition of paper trams decorated by kids of all ages. The black and white photographs mixed among my own of the Day Nursery Tram are taken from the June 23, 2003 issue of the Main Street Wire. These photos were taken by Vicki Feinmel who still lives here on the island.

I still hope to recreate these paper trams so that they again can be given away to the children of Roosevelt Island and also to kids visiting the RIHS Visitors Center at the Kiosk at Tramway Plaza here on the Island.

These paper trams were made available by Colgate-Palmolive and its supplier Rock-Tenn Corporation. On the day the templates were delivered to the RIHS they were delivered by truck laying flat on a pallet by the hundreds just waiting to be assembled and brought to life each by its own operator. Supposedly Colgate had a few of the good people at Rock-Tenn visit the island and they took pictures and measurements of the actual tram before designing these paper trams. Rumor has it the metal master that cut the templates still exists at Rock-Tenn but that is just a rumor.

So until a current day model maker designs a new template which can be used to again give the island’s children another go round at making their own trams enjoy the above photos.


For a more substantial tram model just stop by the Tramway Diner at 60th Street at Second Avenue to see their Blue Trams hanging from their ceiling. At one time these trams lit up the diner and were joined by a red tram light fixture that used to hang in their window. The red tram photo is used here with permission and was taken by the Kodak Girl, Martha Cooper, and was found at NYC Snaps.

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