An old Bronx phone number on a wood milk crate

It was up for sale at a New Jersey antiques market: a vintage wood milk crate stamped “Hygrade Milk,” a Bronx milk company founded in 1914, according to data from Bloomberg.

But the best part of the crate is the phone number beneath it, with the old two-letter phone exchange “LY.” But what’s LY?

The Hygrade Milk and Cream Company apparently existed at 2350 Hermany Avenue, in the southeast Bronx.

This in depth guide to old phone exchanges only lists a LY in Manhattan; it stood for “Lyceum” and covered part of the Upper West Side.

Longwood? That’s a nearby Bronx neighborhood. Or Lafayette Avenue, a street not far from Hermany? Someone must be able to solve this vintage phone exchange mystery.

In the meantime, here are more of these old timey two-letter phone exchanges spotted on signs and in ads around the city, which were all replaced by digits in the 1960s.

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10 Responses to “An old Bronx phone number on a wood milk crate”

  1. Doxie Says:

    LYdig Avenue in The Bronx?

  2. Joanne Says:

    Lydig….?? An area of Pelham Parkway
    Or thereabouts

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Lydig—that sounds right!

  4. Zoé Says:

    What I noticed is that it says “DEPOSIT CASE” on it. Firstly it’s funny that they felt the need to label it. Second – the term.

    I think I have heard ‘milk box’ for the aluminum ones w/ lids that the milkman left bottles for customers in (& which were probably enamel or wood or nonexistent prior to the aluminum ones?); but weren’t these kind (later of metal wire & finally plastic) always called ‘crates’.

    ‘deposit case digging’ vs. ‘crate digging’ does not work for me!

  5. Melissa A Thorn Says:

    Hahaha…I was born in 1954 in a small Southeastern Iowa town and still remember our old-timey 2 letter number. Ours was DR2, I’m thinking that stood for Drake, but have no idea what that would relate to as far as a location. Was updated to 372. And yes, we were on a party line! Not sure if siblings got into trouble while listening in!

  6. An old Bronx phone number on a wood milk crate | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate An old Bronx phone number on a wood milk crate […]

  7. David H Lippman Says:

    Very cool artifact.

  8. Bob Says:

    A related webpage on telephone exchanges notes:

    “The following is a list of recommended names for dialable/quotable telephone EXchange names. It comes from AT&T/Bell’s publication ‘Notes on Nationwide Dialing, 1955’. Many cities with EXchange names had for decades been using names which are not from this list, and they were not necessarily required to change the names. These names were supposed to have been chosen such that pronouncing the name should easily identify the first two significant dialable letters of the word, as well as quoting the two letters themselves wasn’t supposed to be confused with other ‘like-sounding’ letters which were associated with different numbers on the dial.



  9. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Great info, thanks Bob!

  10. An old New York phone exchange on 47th Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] exchanges, which were replaced by numerals in the early 1960s. But they’re out there—especially in the boroughs outside […]

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