Around 2000, the Department of Transportation installed distinctive black and white signs developed by the Alliance for Downtown Manhattan that featured easy-to-read street names, house numbers found on the block where the sign was installed, and a stylized representation of a local landmark. The signs went from the Battery up to about Fulton Street. After the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by terrorists, the signs showing them were permitted to remain.

The Alliance has also installed information kiosks featuring maps, local highlights, and historical buildings.

These are the best street signs to ever appear in NYC and I wish they could have been used as a template for signs all over the five boroughs.

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9 Responses to THE BEST SIGNS

  1. ew-3 says:

    Now the federal government is forcing NYC to replace all it’s street signs to meet it’s standards.


    • KevinJWalsh says:

      I hope that doesn’t mean the end of the signs.

      I just came back from Brooklyn. On 3rd Avenue, the signs read “3 AVE” with a big 3 and little AVE. They replaced the sign and now it says:

      “3 Ave” with a big 3 and a little “Ave.”

      Now THAT’S what I call government overspending.

  2. Gary Dunaier says:

    Some of the signs in Lower Manhattan now show the 9/11 Memorial.

  3. Neil says:

    I was just thinking that the old humpback design should have been re-introduced, and the street numbers placed in the hump, which might have been more useful than the name of the cross street, since one was already at the intersection.

    Anyway, look what popped up when I did a search:

    • KevinJWalsh says:


      I picked one up in a flea market in 1988 for $50.

      • Neil says:

        I trust you noticed that the $1,250 was four the set of four, and that he will take $375 for ONE. I suppose that’s not so bad given the inflation of the last twenty-three years.

        But what I really found ironic was that one of the signs was for RECTOR ST.

  4. john says:

    NYC is spending alot of money trying to follow federal regulations. First with the green and white signs and now changing the signs with new fonts. waste of time and money. They need to get creative like they did in the sixties with the different colors for the boroughs. instead of the brown signs depicting historical streets, they should use the color sign of that particular borough. If it was up to me I would go back to the color coded signs of the past. Those signs were fun. Do you know where I can get an old Brooklyn or Bronx sign?

  5. Carl G says:

    I like the ALL CAPITAL letter streetsigns. At least you can read them from a distance.

    Use these links to report streetsign problems:

    NYC 311 Missing Street Signs –

    NYC 311 Damaged Street signs –

  6. arthur lee williams, jr. says:

    well, it’s just another example of runaway governmental regulations. conformity is a disease…

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