Old signs that feature old phone exchanges

Sutton Clock Shop, on Lexington and 61st Street, has been around for more than 60 years. Why install a more modern sign that features the numerical phone number when this old-school sign is so charming?

PL stood for Plaza, perhaps the Plaza Hotel on 59th and Fifth.


This hand-painted Michael Rizzo & Son sign points to a basement office on a brownstone on West 12th Street in the West Village. Wonder how they ended up with an OR exchange—for Orchard Street?


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9 Responses to “Old signs that feature old phone exchanges”

  1. Chicken Underwear Says:

    I found a payphone in Brooklyn that said 212 on it.


  2. Hank Stamper Says:

    The exchange OR stood for Oregon. The was also an IL for Illinois.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Neat find–the pay phone. And Zelda the turkey! I’ve seen her around Battery Park too but I think she’s been spotted as far up as Riverside Park.

  4. Sean Says:

    Plaza probably stood for the Grand Army Plaza, from which the Hotel took its name, across the street on 59th and CPS.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    That makes sense. I forgot that’s the name of the street corner!

  6. Julie Says:

    I still remember the old exchanges (I’m 50) TE for Templeton, PL for Plaza (as you said), MU for Murray Hill. I also remember an FI but I don’t remember what it stand for, do you?

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    FL, could it be Flatiron, for the Flatiron Building?

  8. Pierrette Says:

    Our first phone number was BU 8-9094 BU for Butterfield. The next was FL (for Flushing 9-5117. But I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday…

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