A bit late on this notice, but Steven Gembara, author of New York City’s Red & Green Lights – A Brief Look Back in Time  informs me that this last “humpbacked” Brooklyn street sign has finally been removed by the Department of Transportation.

The stretch of Willoughby past the University Towers between Fleet Street and Ashland Place contained Brooklyn’s last remaining “humpbacked” street sign, designed to show both the street you’re on and the cross street. This sign also determined a lost cross street as well.


Willoughby Street was formerly crossed by Hudson Avenue here. The north-south avenue now exists only in two short pieces for a few blocks in Vinegar Hill and a one-block stretch Downtown beteen DeKalb Avenue and Fulton Street. It was carved up by the construction of Farragut Houses, Ingersoll Houses, University Towers and LIU.

A driveway on the University Towers campus was built over its former route. What would become the Fifth Avenue El also traveled over Hudson Avenue between the Myrtle Avenue El and Flatbush Avenue from 1888 until 1940.

The two brackets hanging from the sign formerly held an arrow-shaped white “One Way” sign.

Like the passenger pigeon and the dodo bird, the old “humpbacks” have now disappeared without trace.


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  1. Steven Fallon says:

    Living somewhat close to it, I’m glad I saw it a few times before it disappeared. A few years ago I went to take another look and it was gone, very saddening. Probably on display in someone’s garage. I have a few humpbacks, love them.

  2. Kiwiwriter says:

    Did you reach out to the Communiations guys at DOT to find out what they did with it? Maybe it can get saved for a museum in Brooklyn.

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