VESEY-WASHINGTON, Greenwich Village

I found this sign affixed to a courtyard fence on Washington Street and West 10th in the Village, a mile north of where it was found originally in what was named Tribeca long after the sign was removed from that location. In the 1960s, most of the area was torn down for the new World Trade Center complex. Oddly enough  a short piece of Washington Street was allowed to remain between Vesey and Barclay Streets as a pedestrian path, so the intersection still exists, though it’d be unrecognizable to people who were around when the sign hung there.

Navy blue and white signs like this first appeared on Manhattan street corners in 1913. They were also used in the Bronx, since until 1914, Manhattan and the Bronx were the same county (New York County). I have one such sign in my possession, purchasing it from a flea market on 6th Avenue and West 28th (the location remains an empty lot!) in 1988 for $50. I’m told these signs run in the hundreds these days.

Unfortunately it seems that the property owner has altered the sign (see Comments)



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4 Responses to VESEY-WASHINGTON, Greenwich Village

  1. David says:

    I think you have confused Vesey Street with Vestry Street.

  2. Michael says:

    This sign has unfortunately since been vandalized by the owner, who decided to paint the address number of his property over the Vestry St. portion of the sign. It now reads ’28’ or some number like that. While it is his property, it seemed a pretty callous thing to do to a piece of history simply to show your address.

    You’re correct about the prices in the hundreds–and that’s conservative! I’ve seen signs priced at well over $400-500, and speciality locations along with landmarks tend to fetch even more. I recently bought a sign for Lexington Avenue and 113th Street for about $200, which I think was a relative steal considering that that intersection hasn’t existed for about seventy years and never will again (housing projects eliminated the block). I don’t think the seller knew that at the time. In any case, beautiful signs.

  3. Tom Merolla says:

    I’ve passed that sign a number of times on the way to the High Line from the PATH station at Christopher Street. I purchased a blue/white sign from the Bronx for an intersection close to where my Dad lived back in the late 1930’s. Heavy metal and porcelain – very cool. Cost was about $100. Cost for similar signs from Manhattan on Ebay seem to go for $200 or more. One for an intersection at Wall Street near the Stock Exchange was going for close to $1000…..Any idea what type of signs were used in Queens during a similar time frame? I assume there had to be a lot of changes in the 1920s when the streets were changed from names to numbers.

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