April 15, 2020


Waterside Station postcard, circa 1907. 
Venturing slightly afield of Tudor City's borders, today the Wayback Machine goes back in time to 1901, when the New York Edison Company opens the Waterside Station power plant along the East River between 38th and 40th Streets. It fits right in with its industrial neighbors, a ragtag mix of slaughterhouses, coal yards and freight depots along First Avenue. 

Designed in the Beaux Arts style, the mammoth edifice actually houses two power stations, the second arriving in 1905. Producing both electricity and steam, the plant undergoes numerous renovations over the years to keep up with advances in power technology. The New York Edison Company is renamed Consolidated Edison in 1936.

Above, an aerial view from 1926, when Tudor City was still on the drawing boards. Waterside Station was powered by coal, which burned pungently and abundantly. Soot would be a problem in the enclave for decades, even after coal was replaced by natural gas in 1958. 

Although most of Tudor City turned its back on the East River, No. 5 offered industrial-chic riverside views. 

The red-brick power plant as seen from Queens around 2000.  It was decommissioned on April  29, 2005, after 104 years of continuous service.

Waterside Station was sold by Con Edison to real estate tycoon Sheldon Solow for $680 million, and demolished in 2007. The property is a vacant lot today.


  1. If you are interested, there is a really fascinating book about Thomas Edison, AC vs DC, J.P.Morgan, Westinghouse & Tesla and how it came to be Consolidated Edison. The book is "The Last Days of Night".

  2. AnonymousMay 04, 2020

    How come building 5 was constructed to not "turn its back on the East River"?

  3. Nice building pictures and history of old new York city, thank you for sharing them.

  4. Paul Vincent ZecchinoDecember 29, 2020

    Around 1980, had occasion to speak with Bob Nunnelly who worked at the ConEd Waterside plants. Combined output of the two was around 225MW. Waterside I had one boiler which produced 1600 pounds per square inch of steam at 950 degrees F.

    Waterside II had six boilers exhausting into the two stacks. Both plants underwent numerous changes of boilers over the decades, culminating in the described arrangement above.

    The buildings were architectural treasures.

    Paul V. Zecchino
    Manasota Key, Florida
    29 DEC '20

    1. AnonymousMay 08, 2024

      I wonder if Bob Nunnelly know my Grandfather Joseph Kelly he was a boiler engineer for Con Edison at the waterside station I have his badge says he retired in 1953

  5. I'm a former employee there called asbestos cancer 10 years later after working there