APARTMENT TO LET, Williamsburg

by Kevin Walsh

It’s interesting that the phrase “TO LET”, as in “for rent”, seems to have passed out of English completely. “Let,” in this sense, and “lease” have the same roots in French and before that, Latin and the Indo-European root languages that preceded it. This one is on Havemeyer Street between Broadway and South 5th, and is considerably set back from the street; clearly, it’s meant to be seen mainly from the Marcy Avenue elevated platform serving the J and M trains.

It’s set to fade completely in the next decade; I can’t make out the top line, and the bottom simply says SUPT. [superintendent] ON PREMISES.



Roger the Shrubber March 17, 2016 - 6:31 am

The term “to let” a property is still common in the UK.

steve March 17, 2016 - 3:59 pm

I’ve long wondered why To-Let was so often hyphenated.

Jim Beau March 17, 2016 - 5:50 pm

You still occasionally hear people in the South and semi-South using “let”- although it is pretty rare (15 years here now, and I heard it used by a local for the first time just this year).

As long as Roger Miller’s song King Of The Road is still around…the term will never completely die…

“Trailers for sale or rent.
Rooms to let, fifty-cents.”

Ellis March 20, 2016 - 12:03 am

My dad used to say that kids, back in the old days, seeing a “to let” sign, would gleefully write in the letter “i” between the two words. Maybe that’s why landlords inserted the hyphen, and why the term has fallen into disuse.

Janet Gamble March 26, 2016 - 4:02 pm

I have two faded ads, that are located on Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn. Is there anyway that I can send them to you? I also hope that you could take pictures of the older part of Long Island College Hospital…before it’s turned into, Gov. Cuomo’s Condos for the rich and filthy rich.

Kevin Walsh March 27, 2016 - 4:52 pm

send to me at erpietri@earthlink.net. Please save for web. Thanks!


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