DISAPPEARING CLASSIC SIGNS

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The Department of Transportation, in its unceasing effort to expunge all remnants of vintage street signage (taking time off from building more bicycle lanes or pedestrian plazas in heavily trafficked parts of town) has eliminated two more nonstandard street signs on its hit list, both in my neighborhood of Little Neck.

The sign on the title card was attached to a post at 54th and Thornhill Avenues since the 1950s at least, and the sign may be a bit older; the octagonal shaft lightposts like this one were first installed in 1950, and caught on gradually as remaining castirons were grandfathered out. It’s hard to think of it now but there was about a 10 year gap spanning the time between the first appearance of the “octies” and their complete takeover. These signs had a nifty hand-lettered quality that was replaced by the next generation of signs…

By the next generation of vinyl and aluminum signs represented by the sign at right, which was installed at Van Zandt Avenue and Morenci Lane in the early 1960s and made it all the way to 2010, 25 years after its brethren had been mostly repalced by uniform green and white signs. The lettering is in Highway Gothic, and the sign is in the blue and white livery Queens signs were assigned.

Page completed June 1, 2010





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