One thing I’ve noticed while walking around Bayonne, Hoboken and Jersey City (I haven’t attempted Newark, Union City, Weehawken etc. yet) is that while you do see modern green and white street signs, in many places the porcelain and metal signs of the 1940s and 1950s have been allowed to remain in place…because they do the job just as well as they ever did. In NYC, by contrast, there’s an almost obsessive desire by the Department of Transportation to relentlessly ferret out nonstandard signs and eliminate them.

Here at Willow and 9th are two signs from what I presume are two different eras, one blue and white, the other white and black.



Categorized in: Out of Town Signs Tagged with:


  1. Chee Ef says:

    How much does the city spend (annually or whatever) on removing old signs, and purchasing and installing replacements?

  2. Allan Rosen says:

    Before the 1970s, in NYC street signs were only replaced when they fell off. I guess when the larger Borough color coded signs which were in introduced in 1970, were put up, it was believed they could be seen easier from moving vehicles, which was why the older ones were removed. Before then the street signs were really designed for pedestrians so that’s why they were smaller in size and sometimes placed at a lower height.

    However, there was no reason to replace them again unless they were faded or fell off. Also, I don’t remember ever seeing the old small signs fade. So why are the new ones prone to fading?

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      They’re cheaper and made of vinyl.

      • Mark says:

        Yup. That white sign seen above is porcelain over metal. It will last until the porcelain is damaged and the metal underneath starts to rust…as seen in the sign above. Signs like that can last for decades. The vinyl signs breakdown from UV rays, UV has very little effect on porcelain.

  3. Someone says:

    I’ve seen functioning street signs in NYC being replaced within only 5-10 years.

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