by Kevin Walsh

A pair of black and white Brooklyn street signs in East Flatbush. These were standard issue between 1964 and about 1984.


Tal Barzilai August 19, 2012 - 2:12 pm

Now, let’s hope that the DOT doesn’t take this down after seeing this.

Kevin Walsh August 19, 2012 - 11:06 pm

They have already.

Tal Barzilai August 20, 2012 - 4:33 pm

When were these taken down?

Kevin Walsh August 20, 2012 - 5:29 pm

A few years ago

Mitch August 20, 2012 - 2:50 pm

I always liked the color-coded signs. You knew which boro you were in just by looking at the signs. This was especially useful when traveling between Brooklyn and Queens. Once the white on black signs changed to blue on white, you had left Brooklyn and entered Queens.

Terry August 21, 2012 - 9:17 am

Ya shoulda put a Where am I? tag on on this picture.

Bryan August 21, 2012 - 10:22 pm

I just noticed a little after seeing this picture, on the Queens/ Brooklyn border there are 2 signs for Highland Blvd & Vermont Pl on the street light pole by the park that have the queens color scheme to them that are in decent shape.

Paul Ruoso August 22, 2012 - 10:04 am

They were obviously well made. Clear, unfaded. What’s the deal with some of these street signs that I would guess due to sunlight, have faded to near nothing? I came upon one along Parsons Blvd. yesterday.

W.B. October 12, 2014 - 4:13 pm

Don’t quote me on this, but whatever they used in the 1960’s, however they were “built to last,” may’ve had stuff in the material used to print the signs that were taken out by Federal regulations prohibiting certain types of chemicals, to be replaced by not-so-effective agents that did not “keep” the colors as much, if at all.

But besides that, there are different variants of signs of certain street names. Manhattan’s Avenue of the Americas, for instance, had two major ones in the “color-coded” era: 1965 (the one most seen on Midtown streets, with a small “AVENUE OF THE” on top and large, open-spaced “AMERICAS” at bottom) and 1969-70 (the one-line “AVE OF THE AMERICAS” seen mainly south of West 23rd Street, and possibly on its southwest corner near West 49th Street at the northernmost end of what started out as the McGraw-Hill Building (the “Y” building in the X/Y./Z setup between 47th and 50th Streets). Naturally, had it been co-named the once-and-future Sixth Avenue “back in the day,” the variants seen on Brooklyn’s Sixth Avenue would have been the same, only with the black print and amber yellow background.

Roger_the_Shrubber August 24, 2012 - 3:46 am

All together now….. ebony and iiiiiiiiiivory…..

alfonso April 7, 2013 - 3:53 pm

i miss those days

W.B. September 30, 2014 - 11:43 am

Though the then-Department of Traffic first instituted the color-coded system by borough in 1964, these particular signs actually dated to 1969-70. Signs with 3″ high Highway Gothic D for such designations as “HWY,” “ST,” “AV,” “PL,” “RD,” “DR” and “BLVD,” and names set either in Highway Gothic B, C or D (in this layout, all 6″ high) first showed up around summer 1969 in lower Manhattan (i.e. at Broadway and Chambers Street) and spread to the other boroughs by 1970 (an old-style sign set at 89th Avenue and Merrick Boulevard in Queens was in place as of April 1970, it wasn’t until later in the year that the street corners received newer signs with the type as in this photo, albeit with blue type on off-white background). Besides, all signs, regardless of length of street name, were initially 24″ long at the time of the 1964 change in signage; the first 36″ long signs didn’t show up on NYC streets until 1965 (with some intersections, such as Broadway, being laid out in open kerning in 5″ high characters). Not until the mandated change to all green signs with white lettering in the ’80’s did 30″ signs begin to be used for streets too long for 24″ and too short for 36″.

Incidentally, the ‘E 57 ST’ sign layout seen here, would have been the type seen east of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan (albeit with black type on yellow background) had not that street had their signs changed in the 1964-68 period as they were.

Also, as of 1968, Surf Avenue in the Coney Island section had the old-style (1950’s) porcelain signs still hanging, not to be replaced by the newer style until about 1970. As well, one photo taken at Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue South facing south with Christopher Street in sight, back in 1969, still had the 1910’s humpback signs in that corner; by the time another pic was taken there in 1970, the newer signs of this type of design layout had replaced them.

Alfonso Green June 5, 2019 - 9:45 pm

I miss those color coded street signs


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