Back in Time on Ivy Hill Road

Well, there’s certainly no hill…


…and definitely no ivy in sight. But the cool thing about Ivy Hill Road in Brooklyn?


Its street sign dates back at least to the 1950’s – and possibly even older!


This is one of New York City’s last remaining porcelain street signs, according to Kevin at Forgotten-NY. Installed throughout New York in the 1940’s and 1950’s, they were ultimately replaced in the 1960’s by vinyl signs color-coded by borough. These in turn were wiped out when the Federal Government mandated that all street signs had to be in the uniform green and white style we see today (yawn).

I came across this one by chance, but there are actually several others that have managed to avoid the DOT’s watchful eye over the years, which you can see documented on Forgotten-NY. If you know of any others, either porcelain or color-coded, be sure to let me know!


PS – The original porcelain Wall Street sign was recently auctioned off at Christie’s for $116,500. Er, something tells me there’s a little less demand for Ivy Hill Road…

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  1. Shhhhhh, Scout…now the DOT knows where to look to replace them!

  2. Is it me or was almost everything made back then way cooler than today?

  3. I’m wondering why San Francisco continues to have black and white street signs if the Federal DOT has mandated the green and white signs. Many cities in California also have street signs that aren’t green and white, but some other color or design. Shame to see NYC has mostly lost its distinctive official signage.

  4. It was my understanding that federal rules apply to standardizing signage involved in “traffic control”; stop, yield, exit markings, speed limits, etc. I do not think street markers fall into “traffic control”.

    This reminds me, if you ever get a ticket for running a stop sign and want to fight it. Go back and measure the stop sign, the hieght of the sign and the placement of the sign relative to the painted line on the road. All of which is mandated by the federal government and when non-compliant will get you a pass with the judge.

  5. Do you ever get afraid that the DOT will replace the sign now that you let the cat out of the bag?

    • Nah, for two reasons. One, cat’s been out of the bag for a few years now on Forgotten NY, and two, I simply can’t believe the DOT has the time or money to care about replacing a perfectly good street sign on what has to be one of the shortest and ugliest streets in Brooklyn. I think there’s literally only one numbered address on it (#1).

  6. Like K says above, I’m not aware of a federal requirement for actual street signs. I’ve lived in several places with signs that aren’t green and white (Minneapolis, for example, has several different street sign colors as part of it’s byzantine snow removal procedures)

  7. Actually, all the street signs in historic districts in Manhattan are Brown and White, and all the street signs in the Financial District are Black and White. Many of the street signs in Midtown are Blue and White. So variation in color does exist.

  8. The only reason why D.O.T will replace those signs is some big shot want’s that sign. The men on the job won’t say anything .because then they will have to remove it and replace it with a new sign. That mean’s work for them. just kidding . if you want a sign changed call 311 and give the location. it will take some time