6th STREET, Williamsburg

by Kevin Walsh

Deep in the heart of Williamsburg is a remnant of its former street numbering system, as Roebling Street is here rendered as “Sixth Street.” North-south Williamsburg streets were originally numbered beginning at the East River: thus, Kent Avenue = 1st Street; Wythe = 2nd; Berry = 3rd; Bedford = 4th; Driggs = 5th; Roebling = 6th; Havemeyer = 7th; Marcy = 8th’ Rodney = 9th; Keap = 10th; Hooper = 11th; and Hewes = 12th. I can’t pinpoint the date in which the streets gained their current names but the switch was made by 1890. Several buildings over a century old are still standing, and many still carry the old number names.

You can also see two separate methods of marking streets in the days before street signs were mounted on utility poles. Street names were chiseled into walls at street corners, which makes it hard to change them when a street name is changed. The secondary method of mounting signs on walls can also be seen here.

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Andy June 25, 2021 - 5:18 pm

Mounting enamel signs onto building walls, as shown here, is very common in European cities, especially older areas with narrow streets. The first time I saw such signs, in Paris in 1970, I was puzzled because I was looking for pole mounted signs that of course did not exist.

Ginger June 28, 2021 - 9:13 am

I am familiar with the one at the intersection of Fulton Street and Albany Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant!


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