by Kevin Walsh

photo: Stephen Gembara

I don’t remember much about my very young childhood prior to age 6 or so but I do remember streetlamps and street signs. A friend has this surprisingly pristine pair in his collection.

When my parents and I would take bus rides out to Staten Island most of the street signs looked like this: small yellow and black porcelain signs in metal frames, in twos, usually mounted perpendicularly one over the other like this on freestanding posts or mounted to telephone poles, or mounted singly. There was also the occasional porcelain and aluminum yellow and black sign mounted on an octagonal street lamp but these were rare in Staten Island. Beginning in 1964 they were replaced by larger vinyl signs, but they retained the yellow and black color scheme, even though Manhattan’s signs were the same color.


Over time the signs that the then-Department of Traffic failed to replace became neglected and rusty. I found this pair in Tottenville in 2000; it’s long gone now.


Another look at the same sign.


This pair in Richmondtown made it until 2005 or so. There’s another surviving pair a couple of blocks away, but its survival is tenuous.

There’s another example on private property in New Dorp — I show it someplace in FNY — but I’m getting so I don’t want the DOT to see where it is…


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