Monday, January 29, 2007

Mid-Century Telephone Numbers

Early readers of Brooklyn Ramblings may remember my post about old telephone numbers from the 1910s to the 1970s that used two letters and five numbers instead of the seven numbers we're familiar with today. Legacies of the old 2L-5N system are still here, mostly in neighborhoods of the outer boroughs that haven't undergone many changes in the last few generations.

First we go to Bath Beach. At 1707 Bath Ave is Sta-Brite Decorators. If you're looking to get your furniture re-upholstered, this is the place. If it was 1950, you'd have dialed the operator and asked for CLarkson 9-0868.

In nearby Dyker Heights, we find Terrace Meats, at 7317 13th Ave and 74th St. You would have reached your local butcher by dialing BE-2-2003. BE probably stood for Bensonhurst, but possibly Beachview.
Next up, Golden Gate Fancy Fruits and Vegetables, at ES-7-2581. This one-story produce mart is out on Flatbush, in an outer Brooklyn neighborhood called Flatlands. Rounding out our survey of outer Brooklyn retro-gasm is the Avenue U Seafood Market, at DEcatur 2-6363. Built around 1930, maybe those were the days that you could actually eat the fish you caught off the Brooklyn piers?

19 comments:

bigmissfrenchie said...

New York was one of the last places to get rid of exchange names, maybe because we had the coolest ones. My first office job, in 1979, was at an ad agency that still used its PL(aza) number. To find out more about exchanges, check out the Telephone Exhange Name Project at http://ourwebhome.com/TENP/TENproject.html

Erica said...

My aunt and uncle's phone number at their house in Mahopac starts with MA8 and is listed that way on their phone list. I always think of it that way.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a lettered phone number exchange and many are still listed that way in the local phone books. This was outside of Philadelphia, but I still love the old exchanges.

Anonymous said...

The CL exchange was actually Cloverdale

Lydia Theys said...

What fun! I lived in Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s.
CL = Cloverdale
ES = Esplanade
DE = Dewey
SP = Spruce
I think there was a BR = Brighton and CI = Coney Island, but I;m not 100% sure...

Liz said...

I lived in Williamsburg in New York during the 1960's. Our telephone exchange was EV for Evergreen.

Anonymous said...

COney Island 6
HIckory 9

123 said...

It was rather interesting for me to read this post. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.
Alex
Cell jammers

Chris said...

Terrace Meats was my Dad's store and I always will remember
BE(Bensonhurst)2-2003

Anonymous said...

My number was Navarre 8-7223

Anonymous said...

tatcemso wasMy wifes number was Sterling...and bed

Anonymous said...

The DI exchange in East New York (Snyder around the east 50s streets was for Dickens. My Grandparents lived at East 55th and Snyder Ave their number began with DI-2-

Anonymous said...

At Bedford and Kings Highway the exchange was NAvarre 8.

Anonymous said...

CLoverdale exchange at Flatbush Ave at Avenue "I" started CL 2.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Park Slope, and our exchange was ST which stood for STERLING. My friend's exchange was UL which stood for ULSTER. I also recall NE which stood for NEVINS. Thanks for this blast from the past!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in East Flatbush. Our exchange was INgersoll 7. The phone number IN 7 5544. I wonder who has that number now?

Raymond Ingersoll (1875–1940) was borough president of Brooklyn from 1934 to 1940. Ingersoll Hall, one of the first buildings on the Brooklyn College campus, was named for him.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what MA stood for? I found a taxi card that my dad had in his belongings from 1959. Day and Night Service Star Private Taxi MA 4-9867 UL 8-7551
349 Brunt St. Brooklyn 31, N.Y.

Thanks,

GP

Anonymous said...

ma rble..... ul ster

http://phone.net46.net/nyc/latealpha.html

Anonymous said...

BU - BUckminster