by Kevin Walsh

I was tipped recently about a surviving sign from the subways’ earliest days in the 33rd Street IRT station (#6 train) which opened in 1904:

“There is a very old, almost illegible and invisible, sign on the downtown platform at 33 Street station on the 6, across the tracks on the middle poles almost directly opposite the turnstiles. It warns about the hazard of getting on the tracks, and is signed Interborough Rapid Transit.

The lettering is white on black and it’s in a sort of Wild West poster font – I don’t know the name of the typeface.”

Unfortunately both the MTA and Department of Transportation are relentless about taking down substandard signage when they find it, and when I investigated this on 7/19/15, I found that it had been painted over.


However, I do have a photo of that very sign in the vast, cobwebbed Forgotten NY archives, and here it is. I also know of where another one has, or is still, located, but at this point I’m not sure if I can reveal that.



Sal July 20, 2015 - 10:14 am

painted over, I’ve seen these are all over the system.

tacony July 20, 2015 - 11:18 am

Isn’t there one on the uptown side at 33rd, also now completely blackened? Or when I see it on the uptown side am I actually looking through to the downtown side? I’ve often wondered what it says. Thanks

ron s July 21, 2015 - 10:41 am

Doesn’t look painted over…looks removed, unless they are using wood grained paint.

Kiwiwriter July 21, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Why didn’t they just take the sign down and give to the Transit Museum? Jeez.

Kevin Walsh July 21, 2015 - 4:27 pm

Because that’s not how it’s done.

Al Trojanowicz July 24, 2015 - 8:08 am

From my 1950s High School print shop class, I thought that typeface was called “Hidalgo”, but that doesn’t work in today’s internet search. Memory must be slipping – I was always good identifying graphics.

Patrick July 24, 2015 - 10:49 pm

Wow, thanks for following up on that Kevin. It’s a real shame that they painted it over, but as you point out, “that’s not how it’s done.”

Tom Melody July 26, 2015 - 11:47 am

Another possibility: some “enterprising” transit employee took it to sell on eBay…

Tim December 21, 2015 - 12:06 am

I remember these very well.


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