MANHATTAN STREET SIGNS

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This is the street sign style used in Manhattan and the Bronx beginning in the mid-1910s, and surviving in some cases until the early 1960s. They were navy blue and white, with the cross street placed above the main identifier street in what came to be called the ‘hump.’ That serif lettering was exquisite — someone really ought to digitize the letters and numbers and sell them as a font.

From the collection of Lawrence Rogak.

9/11/12





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10 Responses to MANHATTAN STREET SIGNS

  1. Sherri says:

    I really love the lettering !! really nice…..

  2. Danny says:

    Dorothea Place, a tiny street in the Bronx, had a sign in that style in the early 1980s.

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      I know where that is but didn’t get there till 1999. Any pictures?

      There was also one on Allen Place in the 1990s that has since gone

  3. Francis Khoury says:

    How neat to have the matching pair…that’s not easy to do!

    I also love the look of these old signs. My happy contribution is this Washington Sq. N. sign. The mounting hardware is actually from Easton, PA, but it is the same as those used on some NYC corners.

  4. pre war walt says:

    Back in the late 1960s early 1970s United House Wrecking had hundreds
    of these signs, all laid out in rows on the bottom edge outside, and they were for sale for $5 each , your choice. I bought 2 still have one.
    Rochester , N.Y. used a similar sign, and size and I have a pair from this city along with the cast iron holders and bit that mounted it to the lamp pole. GREAT STUFF.

    • marianne says:

      am from Rochester, NY and our neighborhood is looking to put these old style signs back up (we have one left). What one do you have?

      Thanks!

  5. chris says:

    Had a 42nd and Bdwy sign in its frame courstesy of the Dept. of Public Works,City of NY,and tossed it into the east river

  6. jim says:

    the lettering is similar, but not exact, to the Copperplate family of fonts that are easily available…great stuff!

  7. Pingback: Cities 101: Why Are Some Street Signs Brown and Others Green? | Untapped Cities

  8. W.B. says:

    Actually, some pockets of Manhattan had these old signs up as late as 1970 (such as a picture of Mayor Lindsay with some young’uns around the time of the first Earth Day at East 14th Street and Union Square East where the humpbacks were still in evidence; and a pic taken the same year at Fulton and South Streets). Furthermore, later examples of these sign styles (from what I’ve seen in old photos) listed “Avenue of the Americas” rather than Sixth Avenue, and “United Nations Plaza” which evidently came up prior to the 1950′s yellow and black signs. Those signs on the lower end of Manhattan would have been the ones replaced in the 1969-71 spurt of sign replacement whose dating had been misidentified as “1964.”

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