I had gotten on a C train at Franklin Avenue and I was heading east when I wanted to head west (I rarely make that mistake but transferring from the shuttle from Botanic Gardens has some confusing signage) and got off at Utica Avenue to change over to the other side when I noticed this clearly aged enamel sign pointing the way to Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. It’s surprising it has survived, since the MTA usually discards nonstandard signage. I checked on Google Street View the actual building, which is a good five blocks away from the subway stop.

One may wonder why the IND, BMT and IRT, the three original branches of the subway system, pointed out certain locations in some stations such as nursing homes, hospitals, churches, etc. and what criteria made them decide to mark these locations? As far as the older signs are concerned, no one alive, I suppose, can answer me on this.

I should do a page on all of these signs. Currently [August 2015] the Church of the Redeemer at 4th Avenue and Pacific Street, is being demolished, but when the BMT was built in the area in 1915, a beautiful multicolored mosaic sign noting the church was installed at the Brooklyn bound entrance to what is now called the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays station. As it happens, the church is coming down exactly one century after the sign was installed.

More modern signs noting neighborhood highlights in subway stations are gray with white lettering, though I haven’t seen many of these of late.


As it happens Mount Lebanon Baptist Church is a landmarked Richardson Romanesque building built by the Parfitt Brothers architectural firm in 1894 as the Embury Methodist Episcopal Church. The exterior was renovated in 2011. Worthy enough for a subway station sign… but so are so many other buildings!


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