Uruguay has, perhaps, the most wonderful of all of South America’s countries’ names; in the native Guarani language, it means “river of painted birds.” The warlike Charrua Indians successfully ended initial colonization of the area during the first great wave of European invasions in the 1600s, but the city of Montevideo was established as early as 1723. Though Uruguay was an Argentine colony by the 1820s, Brazil and Argentina contested over the valuable territory, with the Rio de la Plata containing important harbor waters. After Brazilian annexation in 1821 and a revolt in 1825, the British created the independent state of Uruguay in 1828 as a buffer zone between their interests in Argentina and Brazilian expansion from the north.

The Uruguayan flag consists of nine alternating stripes of white and blue, with white at the top and bottom, and a white field containing the golden Sun of May. Its coat of arms features a quartered oval containing scales representing justice, a city on a hill (Montevideo) and a horse and ox for liberty and plenty. The symbols are contained in alternating blue and white cantons, or backgrounds. The Sun of May overlooks all.

This is one of the dwindling number of hanging medallion signs on 6th Avenue in association with its avatar as the Avenue of the Americas. The sign were installed in 1960 and feature the member countries of the Organization of American States, or those countries in North, Central and South America. The signs were installed on lampposts running the length of 6th Avenue, from Church Street to Central Park. Most of them disappeared when new lamps were installed in the 1980s and 1990s, but there are still some caches of them left, in SoHo and just south of Central Park. The city doesn’t seem inclined to care for them or replace them, so when they go, they go.

A full accounting can be found here. Excuse the typos on the page, I forgot to use the spellcheck on it.



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3 Responses to URUGUAY, SoHo

  1. Pat Collum says:

    Did anyone ever call it Avenue of the Americas? I remember when they installed the signs but no one used the new name, it was just Sixth Ave

    • Jordan Allen says:

      Growing up outside of NYC, all the Nickelodeon (and many other) commercials informing where to send our submissions to always said Avenue of the Americas.

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