The battery was installed in 1899 to provide backup power the the LIRR's first electric venture, Rockaway's Ocean Electric trolleys which shared the LIRR tracks. The Queensborough Light, Heat and Power Company (LILCO and LIPA's predecessor) had just opened its power plant in the Bayswater section of Rockaway and it was considered unreliable. The battery, it was felt, would provide continuous power for the trolleys.
At the height of the trolley operation two decades later, 6,000,000 fares were collected in the Rockaways during a ten week summer period.
The Long Island Tool
"... overzealously discharges his duties;
...a "tool" of the administration"