by Kevin Walsh

At some point in the Easy Eighties, the Department of Transportation did a little experiment with the pillars for the Jamaica El on Jamaica Avenue, placing square street signs on them. I noticed them on forays into Richmond Hill by bike from Bay Ridge back then, and finally got a few shots of them back in 2011. Here are a pair at Creegan Square where three lengthy routes, Jamaica Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, and Lefferts Boulevard meet, as well as an overhead (now freight-only) LIRR trestle; I once surmised it would have made a good transit hub, but others have since dissuaded me of the idea. 

The signs appeared on pillars in the immediate area, but the idea wasn’t carried through elsewhere in Richmond Hill or Jamaica or any other elevated train. When the pillars were painted later in the decade, the signs were scrapped.

“Comment…as you see fit.”



Alan Gregg Cohen May 5, 2017 - 10:29 pm

While residing in New York, I never saw such signs, but I hardly ever travelled on Jamaica Avenue. I also had left New York for California before New York had adopted the use of the large major white on green street name signs that hang above major intersections. These type of signs were common in California when I arrived in the late 1970’s. In many California suburbs they not only posted large street signs hanging above the traffic lanes at major intersections​, but these signs would also often contain the city name, and on some circumstances the block number. Kevin, do you know when New York City adopted the use of the large overhead street name signs?

Joshua D May 12, 2017 - 7:08 am

Alan, the large overhead street name signs began only in the last 10 years, from my recollection.

Chris R May 6, 2017 - 5:50 am

These signs date to the late 1980s and were mostly limited to Richmond Hill.

Al Tz January 24, 2019 - 6:39 am

Also odd to note that these signs seem to be mounted with thin wooden strips


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