Posts Tagged ‘Bronx tenements’

Faded phone exchange signs on dingy tenements

March 18, 2013

Lots of old tenements have them—metal signs advertising the name of the electrician or roofer or plumber who helped maintain the building.


These two were spotted in low-income Bronx neighborhoods. The sign above comes from a tenement near the Fordham Road D train stop. The ME is for the Melrose neighborhood in the South Bronx.


WY for Wyandotte on this sign, found near Third Avenue in Melrose. It’s also a Bronx exchange—but why Wyandotte, which connotes the Native American tribe Wyandot, who live in Canada?

The only reference I could find comes from a 1975 New York Times article bemoaning the disappearance of the more poetic and descriptive phone exchange names:

“ALgonquin was nice, too, suggesting Indians, as did LAckawanna and WYandotte,” writes John Corry. “WYandotte seemed to be used almost exclusively by the Irish who lived around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Those Irish are vanishing; so is WYandotte.”