Posts Tagged ‘old phone exchanges New York City’

A Yorkville faded sign with a two-letter old phone exchange

August 5, 2022

The Little Wolf Cabinet Shop is a longtime fixture on the upper reaches of First Avenue at about 82nd Street. The shop also has another space on a nearby side street—and it’s the sign above this space that sparked my interest.

An old New York City phone exchange! The number of these pre-1970s exchanges still visible on signs and in ads is dwindling fast. I’d actually photographed this one for a 2011 ENY post, and the sign is, sadly, much more faded 11 years later.

RE stood for Regent, a Yorkville/Upper East Side exchange. I still haven’t figured out what Regent was though, and why the name was used. Could Regent have been a nearby hotel or theater?

Questions about the city’s old phone exchanges always generate insightful comments. This link will take you to some of the older posts delving into the mysteries of these two-letter exchanges.

What did this old NYC phone exchange stand for?

June 1, 2020

You see these two-letter old phone exchanges around occasionally—often on old signs off the beaten path, even though New York City phased out the letter exchanges in the 1960s.

In the East 80s of Yorkville, I spotted a mysterious one: a parking garage sign with a phone number that begins with “TW.”

TW? It’s one I’d never seen before, and I can’t figure out what local landmark or old neighborhood lent its name to a phone exchange that could be as old as the 1920s.

Of course, the garage door company that used the number might have been located in any part of New York City. If anyone knows or wants to throw out a guess as to what TW stands for, I’d love to hear it!

A vintage phone exchange on West 14th Street

October 10, 2013

I’ve always been a big fan of Desco Vacuum’s old-school store signage on 14th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

Descovacuum

The vertical sign feels very 1970s. Plus, how many vacuum cleaners are advertised in neon these days?

BorosignexchangeBut until recently, I never noticed the phone number with the vintage two-letter exchange at the bottom.

The sign maker is Boro Sign, located in Borough Park.

TR likely stood for Triangle, which covered parts of Brooklyn, according to this wonderful chart.

There’s also TR for Trafalgar, in Manhattan, and TR for Tremont, in the Bronx.

Traces of old phone exchanges of Queens

September 23, 2010

This frozen-in-time faded ad—complete with 1980s-style graffiti—remains on the side of a warehouse along 31st Street in Astoria.

The RA comes from Ravenswood, an enchantingly named hamlet that once existed along the East River and was home to many old-money mansions in the 19th century.

The neighborhood was absorbed into Long Island City toward the end of the 1800s, but the name lives on in the form of the nearby Ravenswood Houses and the Ravenswood Generation Station.

This Millionaire Realty sign, on Astoria Boulevard, doesn’t look very old. But it must date back to the 1960s at least, when telephone numbers still had the two-letter prefix.