Looking Above Street Level
There is nothing extraordinary about 1113 First Avenue, the building at the northwest corner of 61st Street and First Avenue. A late 19th century five story walk-up building with a restaurant at ground level. But if you look up to the corner between the second and third floors you will see the street name etched in stone and attached to the building, circled in red in the photo above.
The rectilinear street grid layout imposed upon Manhattan at the beginning of the nineteenth century assured the builder of this building that it would be located at 61st street and First Avenue seemingly forever.
Before the twentieth century street signs were not at every corner. There were in fact few street signs in New York and they were usually at major intersections or the nicer parts of town. So a building displaying the intersection was an actual aid to passerby as to where they were in relation to the rest of the city.
Unfortunately most of these signs that once adorned buildings all over New York City have vanished either by renovation, alteration, deterioration or more commonly demolition.