One of Brooklyn’s oldest street signs is hiding in plain sight in Brooklyn’s premier residential neighborhood (or so the papers and magazines would have you believe). At the corner of 7th Avenue and 1st street on the edge of a landmarked section of Park Slope — indicated by the maroon 1st Street sign — is a black and white 7th Avenue sign, battered and bruised but otherwise intact.
Street signs in NYC from 1964-1984 or so identified boroughs by street sign color — Brooklyn’s was white on black. There was some informal color coding going on before that, but new signs installed in 1964 standardized the color ID. All that went out the window in the 1980s when NYC’s streets signs went to green and white, and you no longer knew what borough you were in by street sign color.
Signs like this, made of vinyl with a metallic holder, were introduced in NYC in 1964, so that’s the date this one was likely installed. The very first one I ever saw, in 1964, was on a new section of 7th Avenue serving as a Gowanus Expressway service road at 82nd Street in that same year.
Of course, posting it here insures its doom. The Department of Transportation is renowned for its obsession with standardization. And this sign, in 2012, is clearly out of uniform… it’ll either receive a green and white sign or a maroon Landmarks sign.