[LMB] Street Toppings

Harvey Fishman fishman at panix.com
Thu Sep 16 01:49:17 BST 2021

When I was young (the 1940s) New York City streets were topped with 
something called "asphalt". The composition of the street was two feet 
of trap rock followed by six inches of portland cement concrete. This 
was topped with four inches or so of a black stuff called "asphalt". 
This was a powder that was steam rolled to create the final surface. Had 
to be hot rolled (literal steam rollers) under pressure. The City had 
numerous asphalt plants around; at least one remains as The Asphalt 
Green Recreation Center at East 90-91 Street and the FDR Drive. In any 
case, the stuff was not tarry and seemed to be a dry powder. This was 
replaced over the years with macadamized concrete with .25" or so 
crushed rock bound by tar and applied warm and then tamped into place. 
If a large enough area was covered, it might be rolled but not hot 
rolled. These days when they rebuild a street they mechanically scarf 
off the top layer, down to the concrete, and then apply a layer of 
macadamized concrete that is generally rolled.


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