More old Brooklyn phone exchanges

Joe’s Superette on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens has the most wonderful store sign, which looks like it was put up around 1958. UL stood for Ulster. But what was Ulster?

The Valencia Bakery is on Broadway in Williamsburg. Besides a cool old 1960s sign, the WY exchange remains.

Tags: , , , ,

48 Responses to “More old Brooklyn phone exchanges”

  1. Calabro Real Estate - Graffiti - Nostrand Avenue - Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn « Fading Ad Blog by Frank H. Jump Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York […]

  2. Diane Fischler Says:

    My aunt and uncle lived at Clinton and Atlantic in Brooklyn Heights and their phone exchange was Ulster, so that brought back a nice memory. I lived in Sheepshead Bay, and my exchange was SH. My friend two streets over was NI for Nightingale. Who knows why?

  3. Bruce R. Gilson Says:

    Interesting that the picture on the bottom shows one phone number as WY 1 (WYandotte 1, that was), but uses the newer all number format for the other. That 388 was EVergreen 8, but I suppose the store owner adden that number after all-number calling started, while his WYandotte 1 number had been obtained earlier.

  4. Bruce R. Gilson Says:

    Actually, it’s strange that a WYandotte 1 exchange would be on a Brooklyn store. That was a Bronx telephone exchange!

  5. HB Says:

    I just got an old rotary phone and in the center of the dial, 3 pieces of paper deep listing #’s going back in time is:

    evergreen 8-4905

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    I know Evergreen was Brooklyn, but not sure where exactly. Perhaps near the Evergreens cemetery on the Queens border?

  7. Bruce R. Gilson Says:

    EVergreen numbers were near the Queens line, for sure (some even were in Queens, in fact; the phone books gave them with a notation that they were used in both boroughs) but I don’t know Brooklyn/Queens geography well enough to pinpoint them. Where would (for example) 718-388 numbers be now?

    • jerseyoldschool Says:


      My aunt lives in the Williamsburg section and has a 718-388 number. To be more precise, in the Linsday Park co-ops just off of Broadway.

  8. DanNY Says:

    Flatbush and East Flatbush had the UL exchange.
    There was also RU (Rugby) which I think was Flatlands.
    IN was Ingersoll, but I don’t rmemeber what area that covered.
    All of those would now be 718

    • Bruce R. Gilson Says:

      I don’t know where you got that RUgby exchange from. There never was such an exchange to my knowledge, in Brooklyn or anywhere else in New York City. RU dials as 78, and the only 78-anything exchanges in NYC were STagg 2, STerling 3, STillwell 4, PUlaski 5, STillwell 6, SUnset 6, SUsquehanna 7, STerling 8, STerling 9, and STuyvesant 9. (Some of these, like PUlaski 5, SUnset 6, and STuyvesant 9, went away in the 1930s and 1940s.)

      • Lisanne! Says:

        I have to disagree, I do remember the Rugby Exchange, perhaps named after Rugby Road.

      • Bruce R. Gilson Says:

        I can’t understand how you remember it. I’ve looked through old telephone books from the 1910s to the 1950s, and if I’d ever seen a RUgby exchange I would have seen it there. There just wasn’t ever such an exchange in Brooklyn.

    • Chip Says:

      Borough Park also had the Ulster-3 exchange

  9. Barry (now near Detroit) Says:

    INgersoll…was my phone exchange….IN-2-5366 to be exact in 1967-1975…at Maple Stree near Flatbush Avenue…

    PResident (778) was on Buffalo Avenue & St. John’s Place

  10. Judy Close Says:

    EVergreen was an exchange I remember from my childhood living in the Cypress Hills/East New York area, as being designated for the Ridgewood, Queens, area where my father’s relatives lived. This neighborhood is indeed in the “cemetery belt” along the old Interboro Parkway, now known as the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Other phone exchanges from my Cypress Hills area were: TAylor 7-, MIdway 7-, and in an adjacent neighborhood of Woodhaven, VIrginia 7- was used. APplegate 7- was my old phone number used from the 1940s into the 1960s, when the old exchanges were just converted to their dial numbers. I love the old, romantic-historic phone exchanges of yesteryear. Just think, our grandchildren will be waxing nostalgic someday about the commonly used email addresses and cell phone numbers, etc. used today!

    • joe p. Says:

      ah yes, i remember the Ap7, MI7, and my number from the 50’s – 78 was TA7-5196 I lived in eny right off jamaica ave, across from highland park

  11. Eileen Says:

    I had a number relatives who lived in Ridgewood/Cypress Hills along the old “City Line” between Bklyn and Queens unitil the late 70s and they had EVergreen 8 and my grandparents in East NY had APplegate 7. But my immediate family lived on 70th and Park Ave in Manhattan and we had BUtterfield 8 (288). It sure made it easier to remember numbers!
    My best friend was TRafalgar 9 (879), also on the Upper East Side. When we moved to Sunnyside, Queens in the late 70s, the switch had taken place and we were given 392 which a friend told me was EXeter 2 – we lived 2 blocks from the Queens end of Greenpoint Ave.

  12. me Says:

    Joe’s has the most amazing rice balls – everyone should go there and try them

  13. More old-school phone exchanges « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Joe’s Superette, on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, also has a UL number. That’s a bit of a hike from Myrtle […]

  14. barry Says:

    Just found this so I am late. There was also DEwey-9 on Ocean P’kw’y near Ave “S” and GEdney-4 on Newkirk Ave. near Argyle Rd.

  15. PlantLady Says:

    My grandparents were in Flatbush with UL-6, we were in ENY Brooklyn at NI- 9 and my aunt was in East Paterson at SW-6.

  16. Madeleine Says:

    I come from Brooklyn heights and my phone number started with UL-ster and my firend across the street started with TR for triangle. now they are 718 and then the number or in manhatten its 210. I went to that valencia bakery many times. My cousins lived in Carol gardens. I still remember my phone number from that time.

  17. Lydia Says:

    I grew up in the flatlands area of Brooklyn. Our house was Esplanade and my aunt was Cloverdale. Later on our house number changed to Hickory and then just CH.
    The old numbers were easier to remember because of the word exchanges.

  18. Fred Mandell Says:

    Anyone know the exchanges for Brighton, Bushwick, Brownsville in the 1950’s?

    • Bruce R. Gilson Says:

      In the 1940s, the ULster exchange was started in Brooklyn. There is an Ulster County in New York State, and an Ulster province in Ireland, so the exchange was probably named after one of those; a lot of exchanges were named for places far away from NYC (though usually for states like ORegon, VIrginia, etc.) As I remarked on an earlier occasion, WY on a building in Brooklyn is puzzling, because WYandotte was a Bronx exchange.

      A list of exchanges in New York City can be found on my telephone site, and you are welcome to look.

  19. Yvette Says:

    We lived in East New York on Bradford St., off Linden Blvd., in the 40s and our number was CLoverdale 7-…..

  20. kim Says:

    I think EVergreen 9 was Greenpiont Brooklyn, I remember that my aunts phone # begain like that. Ok so i just bought a dress for like 2 bucks, its from Brooklyn Fashion Center which was located at 545 Fulton Ave At Albee Square, its no longer there, the dress was never worn and the tags are on it. How cool. The old number was:

    Does anyone one remember what year this was?

  21. Neighborm Says:

    When I lived in Brooklyn, I had a Gedney 8 and then and Ulster 4 number. The topic of exc hange names appeared on a FB thread. There was also Butterfield 8 and Dail M for Murder – both fillms used exchange names (Dial M is a bit more suble).

    • Steve Fuhrer Says:

      We also had a Gedney 8 number and lived at 1540-48th Street.
      We’re you nearby?

  22. momdec23 Says:

    EV8 was my number growing up and I lived in the Northside (Williambsurg Section of Brooklyn on the other side of McCarren Park/Greenpoint) and my cousin who lived on the Southside on the otherside of the BQE was ST2 (Stagg)

  23. Bill Says:

    I believe the WY exchange was for WYcoff

  24. Martin Says:

    Indeed, Ingersoll was the exchange for the neighborhood called Prospect-Lefferts Garden Near Prospect Park. That’s how I was taught my telephone number as a child.

  25. Ann Smith Says:

    I lived on Miller Avenue and New Lots Avenue in the ’50s and ’60s. My number was CLoverdale 7-1686. I can’t believe I still remember that number! When I went to the ’64 World’s Fair, my friends and I came across a push-button phone. We were amazed and loved the little sounds that emanated from the keys. I believe it made its first appearance at the World’s Fair.

  26. Dan Sperber Says:

    Until I was nine, my family lived in Flatlands, where our phone number was like a title from a swing-era song: CLoverdale 2-0272. We had friends in Midwood, who’s exchange was ESplanade. My grandparents lived by Church and Ocean Ave.’s and their exchange was BUckminster. I think there also might have been a MIdwood exchange. When we moved to Brighton Beach we got our first numerical exchange: 373. However my mom taught at a school a few blocks away where the exchange was COney Island.

  27. Giovanni Says:

    does anyone know what the exchange would have been for parkslope? near 8th ave & prospect ave.

  28. Gerard Says:


  29. Jan Gadsby Says:

    My grandparents lived on 42nd Street in Brooklyn, and their exchange was GEdney 5.

  30. Doug Douglass Says:

    The WY 1 exchange in Brooklyn was WYman, not WYandotte.

  31. Chip Says:

    I just saw that my last comment was never posted. I am trying again to post this.The ULster-x exchanges were named for local Ulster County, New York, north of the city, not Ireland. Just as the GEdney-x exchanges were named for Gedney, New York, in White Plains just north of the city. The same is true for SHoreroad-x, SHeepshead-x and MIdwood exchanges, named for geographic locales in Brooklyn.

  32. Chip Says:

    Sorry…that should have read Gedney, New York near White Plains in Westchester, just north of the city.

  33. Roberto Marquessi Says:

    CL9-6030 was my old childhood telephone Brooklyn in the 1960’s.The numbers were alpha-numeric,and the exchange was:”CL-9″ i.e, (Cloverdale-9).Way back then,the area code for all (5) boroughs of New York City was 212.

  34. Greg Van Antwerp Says:

    I just found a Business Card for a Longtime employee of Pfizer from the Bartlett Street location his Number was Evergreen 8 -3800. His name was Thomas Connor and he passed in 2009. I wish I knew what year this card was from. He started at Pfizer in 1947 and the EV exchange was phased out in the 60’s – that’s a big range. Can anyone help me figure the year of this card?

  35. Susan Nelson Says:

    This is unbelievable! I have an old cigar box with the name J.A. McGerity of 2516 Bedford Ave. of Brooklyn, NY with the telephone number INgersoll 2-1378 inside. It is covered with old shells. Loveit!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: