39th AVENUE, Little Neck

I’m going to have some fun for awhile displaying the results I got sifting through piles of snapshots I got between 1998 and 2005 when I was still using 35MM film to shoot photos for Forgotten New York. There’s just something about film that makes colors jump better than digital cameras or what you have on phones. When going through the pile, I selected images of things that weren’t there anymore. A lot of these photos have already appeared in FNY, but in 1999, I had to scan images quite small — 5″ at most — because everyone had a dial up modem and I didn’t want people to have to wait all day for the photos to resolve on screen.

It’s 2017, nearly twenty years since I began work on Forgotten New York, and I’m surprised at how much hasn’t changed in 20 years especially in out-of-the-way areas I frequent. Other, more heavily populated areas have changed beyond recognition such as Williamsburg or Long Island City, especially the Hunters Point area.

This sign was once at 39th Avenue and Glenwood Street along the Long Island Rail Road tracks. I took the picture long before I knew I would move to the area. It depicts a 1964-vintage Queens street sign, which were white with blue lettering between 1964 and 1984-ish. The MTA had somehow overlooked it until 1999. The sign was replaced by a conventional green and white sign soon after I got this shot.

“Comment…as you see fit.” FNY Comments are once again open!


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4 Responses to 39th AVENUE, Little Neck

  1. Tom Padilla says:

    Grew up in Bayside in the ’60s & ’70s so I remember these. In my mind’s eye they were off-white. And they blue was a blue-green. I wonder what the original color specs said? And what the sun did to
    some of them over time. The one pictured is yellowish. With the film, did the colors fade since taking the shot? Or is that pretty true to the colors it was?

  2. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    The color coded street signs were a great way to know what borough you were in. This was especially handy along the long irregular land border between Brooklyn and Queens. I realize that the City of New York had to switch to street signs with a green background with white lettering to conform to Federal regulations, and to avoid risking the loss of Federal funding for road related projects. I think it was a sad loss for borough pride and identification.

  3. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    Another thing that I find odd about New York Street signs is their suffix abbreviations. For instance “AV” for avenue versus “AVE” which the standardized abbreviation according to the USPS.

  4. Billy G says:

    Yeah guys, I miss those signs too!

    I have 2 of em.

    One is a 78th St sign from the corner of 78th St & Woodside Ave by where I grew up.

    The second is a Manhattan black & gold.

    I got it from the corner of William & Wall while standing on the roof of a van!


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