street smarts

the great "madison ave" vs. "madison av" debate
May 07, 2013  |   column: WHAT'S NEW

during preparations for our new madison avenue flagship (opening this friday!), a bit of a debate broke out in the office: is it madison ave, or is it madison av?

as it turns out, everyone’s correct: not all the street signs in manhattan are the same.

surprised? here’s the skinny:

pre-1964, street signs across the city were a haphazard rainbow of hues and styles–yellow and black, black and white, blue and white–each with varying styles of abbreviations. some of these dated back to the 19th century (!). in 1985, a federal ruling called for all highway signs (including street signs) to be displayed on reflective-white-on-green designs. these are the ones we commonly know today. these read “madison av” in all caps.

here’s the fun fact: there’s a stretch of midtown manhattan–from 33rd to 49th streets and including madison avenue–that was the exception to this rule. (they were already reflective white, though on a blue background.) these read “madison ave” in upper and lower case letters.

our new shop is on a delightful stretch of madison between 66th and 67th streets, so we chose “madison av” for our fun type treatments designed in celebration of the opening. (see one here!)

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