Faded ad reveals an old Brooklyn phone exchange

It’s hard to tell how old this Realty Corp. faded ad is. But it could date as far back as 1930. That’s when the Midwood phone exchange was created, usually abbreviated MI.


Construction off Kings Highway and East 16th Street brought the ad—and vintage graffiti—back into view. The best vantage point: from the Q train platform at the Avenue P Kings Highway subway station.


Phone exchange spotting is always fun, and there’s plenty of signs and ads still left in the city that have them. Just keep your eyes peeled!

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10 Responses to “Faded ad reveals an old Brooklyn phone exchange”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    I adore this old stuff! I especially enjoyed the urns on the bridge….Central Park! Progress! Restoring beauty!!!!

  2. wensube Says:

    It looks like the phone number only has 3 digits after the MI (Midwood). That must be very old! I can’t read the sign above it, but that style of writing looks even older! Can anyone read it?

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I can’t read it…just Realty Corp. It looks like MIDWOOD 8100

  4. neil Says:

    no avenue P station on the Q, you must mean kings highway…

  5. Bruce R. Gilson Says:

    It has 4 digits, not 3 (as Wensube said), after the Midwood name. Since NYC went from 3 letters + 4 digits to 2 letters + 5 digits in December 1930, the sign is before that time. (Actually, the MIDwood exchange goes back to 1920, as seen at http://phone.net46.net/nyc/earlyalpha.html#Midwood . The sign could be from any time between 1920 and 1930.)

  6. An old Brooklyn phone exchange comes into view | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] hiding-in-plain sight vintage phone exchanges can still be found all over New York . . . if you look very […]

  7. Random sightings of old phone exchange signs | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] traditional two-letter phone number prefix was officially abandoned in the […]

  8. rygb Says:


    Klngsway Realty Corporation, 16U East 16th at. Phone Midwood 8100.


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