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SI1980

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Large vinyl aluminum street signs have been in use in New York City since 1964 or so, and they were what ultimately replaced their predecessors, which were generally porcelain street signs.

Unlike today's street signs throughout the five boroughs, which have green backgrounds with either white letters or numbers, large vinyl aluminum street signs were originally available in several different pairs of colors, and one pair (with the exception of Staten Island and Manhattan) was used for each borough. These were in use from their introduction until the early 1980s, which was when the universal color scheme first appeared in the picture (what is still in use today).


I collect vintage street signs from New York City, and I have my own set of these "color coded" street signs. One from each borough. From top to bottom, "225 ST" is from Queens, while "E 57 ST" is from Manhattan. Next, "MILL LA" is from Staten Island, while "FOSTER AV" is from Brooklyn. Finally, "MORRIS AV" is from the Bronx.

 

SDC14957.jpg


 

Some of you may remember these at one time or another. Below, is a list of the pairs of colors and boroughs that they were once used in.


Queens...white background with either blue letters or numbers.
Brooklyn...black background with either white letters or numbers.
Staten Island...yellow background with either black letters or numbers.
Manhattan...same color scheme as Staten Island.
The Bronx...total opposite of Queens. Blue background with either white letters or numbers.
 

Edited by SI1980
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These are some of my favorite things in NYC's history, such a shame that these were done away with in the 80s. Of course, I suspect twenty years from now we'll be looking back on today's all caps signs as 'the good old days' whatwith the current conversion to lower case occurring. I don't know of any Manhattan yellows still in place, but there are a handful of remaining original black signs in Brooklyn that I've shot over the years, and from what I hear a few white signs still hanging around Jamaica in Queens (haven't seen those myself). Very jealous of your collection.

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These are some of my favorite things in NYC's history, such a shame that these were done away with in the 80s. Of course, I suspect twenty years from now we'll be looking back on today's all caps signs as 'the good old days' whatwith the current conversion to lower case occurring. I don't know of any Manhattan yellows still in place, but there are a handful of remaining original black signs in Brooklyn that I've shot over the years, and from what I hear a few white signs still hanging around Jamaica in Queens (haven't seen those myself). Very jealous of your collection.

 

They were rather unique in their own way I suppose. It took me quite a while to find these street signs, since they're fairly difficult to come across nowadays. You just have to be patient. It normally pays off in the long run when you think about it. I am sure there are some survivors that still linger nowadays. Sadly, the handful that I knew of from Staten Island were removed from service in recent years, and I was told that the last one was removed this year. With that said, "color coded" street signs are now extinct on the island. Although I remember they were the norm for quite a long time. In any case, it is nice to preserve history and understand what was once in use. I mainly enjoy vintage New York City signage and traffic control equipment (traffic signals, signal controllers, etc.). 

 

For anybody else that is interested, I have some additional pictures of my other vintage signs that saw service throughout the city of New York. Note that these were in use prior to when the first large vinyl aluminum street signs appeared in the city around 1964.

 

This one saw service in Manhattan, and it is a porcelain street sign. Many porcelain street signs in the old days used to show motorists both the cross and main streets. This one had its own sign case; however, it was removed when the sign was taken down. Dates back to the late 1940s to early 1950s. Beige in color.

 

208882_442292042468275_1098325940_n_zps0

 

Another kind of porcelain street sign was in use in most of the boroughs. Some people refer to it has the "humpback," due to its unique shape. It was introduced in the city in the late 1910s, and it was probably discontinued by the 1940s. The previous kind that you just saw came after it. It, too, had its own sign case, and it showed both the main and cross streets. Below, is my own set. One from each borough. Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Brooklyn were the only four boroughs that used this kind. I only have three. I still seek one from Staten Island. From top to bottom, "WYTHE AV./N. 15 ST." is from Brooklyn, while "NAGLES AVE./SICKLES ST." is from Manhattan. Finally, "BANYER PL./CROES AVE." is from the Bronx. These probably date back to the late 1920s to early 1930s.

 

SDC15035_zps6ab7bb03.jpg

 

Vintage set of porcelain street signs from Queens. The white sign was in use in the 1950s, while the one below it was used years earlier (1930s). They had their own cases as well.

 

SDC15001.jpg

 

1950s "ONE WAY" arrow sign. I remember this one in particular quite well. Several variations of this sign were in use over the years. This one is my favorite kind that was in use.

 

NYConewaysign_zpsc5187648.jpg

 

Old pedestrian push button signs. One of them saw service in Ozone Park, Queens, while the other one is unknown.

 

SDC14585.jpg

 

 

Vintage "NO PARKING" sign from the late 1950s or so. From Manhattan I believe. Double-sided, like many other street signs in New York City are.

 

Same.jpg

 

Porcelain street sign from Brooklyn, New York. 1950s. Has its original sign case, fortunately.

 

VintageStreetSign4.jpg

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These are some of my favorite things in NYC's history, such a shame that these were done away with in the 80s. Of course, I suspect twenty years from now we'll be looking back on today's all caps signs as 'the good old days' whatwith the current conversion to lower case occurring. I don't know of any Manhattan yellows still in place, but there are a handful of remaining original black signs in Brooklyn that I've shot over the years, and from what I hear a few white signs still hanging around Jamaica in Queens (haven't seen those myself). Very jealous of your collection.

There used to be one just two blocks away from me.

 

Key word used to.

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I can recall an old Spruce St sign still hanging there on a tree. Need to see if its still around for a pic since I saw it last month.

Edited by -CT1660-

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Large vinyl aluminum street signs have been in use in New York City since 1964 or so, and they were what ultimately replaced their predecessors, which were generally porcelain street signs.

 

Unlike today's street signs throughout the five boroughs, which have green backgrounds with either white letters or numbers, large vinyl aluminum street signs were originally available in several different pairs of colors, and one pair (with the exception of Staten Island and Manhattan) was used for each borough. These were in use from their introduction until the early 1980s, which was when the universal color scheme first appeared in the picture (what is still in use today).

 

I collect vintage street signs from New York City, and I have my own set of these "color coded" street signs. One from each borough. From top to bottom, "225 ST" is from Queens, while "E 57 ST" is from Manhattan. Next, "MILL LA" is from Staten Island, while "FOSTER AV" is from Brooklyn. Finally, "MORRIS AV" is from the Bronx.

 

SDC14957.jpg

 

 

Some of you may remember these at one time or another. Below, is a list of the pairs of colors and boroughs that they were once used in.

 

Queens...white background with either blue letters or numbers.

Brooklyn...black background with either white letters or numbers.

Staten Island...yellow background with either black letters or numbers.

Manhattan...same color scheme as Staten Island.

The Bronx...total opposite of Queens. Blue background with either white letters or numbers. 

These are some of my favorite things in NYC's history, such a shame that these were done away with in the 80s. Of course, I suspect twenty years from now we'll be looking back on today's all caps signs as 'the good old days' whatwith the current conversion to lower case occurring. I don't know of any Manhattan yellows still in place, but there are a handful of remaining original black signs in Brooklyn that I've shot over the years, and from what I hear a few white signs still hanging around Jamaica in Queens (haven't seen those myself). Very jealous of your collection.

 

 

 

 

Yes, confirmed. The white street signs with blue fonts are still hanging around on certain residential streets in Jamaica and Ozone Park. I saw it very recently.

 

Looking at the pic posted by SI1980 in the OP, the farthest back I can remember with street sign sscemes were the black signs on white fonts as a kid growing up in Brooklyn as well as the white ones in Queens and the yellow ones in Manhattan. Pretty much all of those signs in that pic quoted in this post I can remember.

 

Don't remember any of the other signs posted. I'm not that old. lol.

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Although all the pics put on here in past years are now gone due to Photobucket's recent changes in policy, I can say for sure that there were numerous sub-variants of the 1960's multicolored-by-borough street signage - and in some cases, variants in the tints.

 

Many areas below 23rd Street, and above 61st Street, had signs installed mostly after 1969, whose layout was different from those whose pre-printed layout (i.e. Avenue of the Americas, and the numbered avenues whose layout was shifted more to the right and had an 'AVE' suffix) dated to 1965-66.

 

Besides the four color combinations . . .

 

Queens...white background with either blue letters or numbers.
Brooklyn...black background with either white letters or numbers.
Staten Island...yellow background with either black letters or numbers.
Manhattan...same color scheme as Staten Island.
The Bronx...total opposite of Queens. Blue background with either white letters or numbers.
 

 

. . . there was also the white background with black letters used for 'FASHION AV' signs, from after a stretch of Seventh Avenue between 26th and 40th Streets was co-named in 1972.

 

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