Posts Tagged ‘old New York street signs’

Left behind street signage of an older Manhattan

August 5, 2013

Readers of this site know that street signs are a favorite here, especially the old-fashioned kind carved into a building’s facade—like the one below at Sixth Avenue and 24th Street.

Doesn’t the lettering transport you to an entirely different New York? In fancy type it tells us that we’re at The Corner.

Thecornersign

“Built in 1879, it was called ‘The Corner’ and was the beer hall annex to Koster & Bial’s Vaudeville Theater/Concert Hall, where Victor Herbert conducted his 40-piece orchestra,” explains a 1995 New York Times piece.

102ndstreetsign

At the time, this was the center of an area called the Tenderloin (also referred to illustriously as Satan’s Circus), the late 19th century sin district filled with dance halls, gambling dens, and brothels.

This corner sign for 102nd Street and Broadway is also wonderfully decorative. I’m not sure when it went up, but it looks very turn of the 20th century. (Thanks to Ephemeral reader IA for pointing it out.)

Doyersstreetsign

This one on Doyers Street in Chinatown might be the oldest actual Manhattan street sign—meaning a sign affixed to a pole or side of a building, rather than a plaque or engraving.

Grimy and hard to read after decades stuck to this building, it harkens back to a more down and dirty Chinatown of tong wars, when Doyers Street went by the infamous nickname the Bloody Angle.

The cross streets carved into tenement corners

December 3, 2012

Hiding in plain sight in the city’s tenement districts are the names of streets that intersect at certain corners.

Stantonandessexsign

Chiseled into a cement plate, they’re the 19th and early 20th century solution to figuring out where you were a 100 or so years before the GPS on your phone could do it for you.

Thirdave109streetsign

Not always in the best condition, like this East Harlem example above, these corner carvings are charming and fun to come across.

10thave52ndstreetsign2

The best neighborhoods to find them: the Lower East Side, East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, East Harlem, and the brownstone enclaves of Brooklyn.

Mottstreetsign

Sometimes you only find one street name—Like Mott Street here at Broome Street, with a tiny T that looks like it was added by hand!


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