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Sign, Street, New York City, Market Slip and South Street, Antique, c. 1910s-1930s


Market Slip Street Sign
American: c. 1910 to 1930s
Vitreous enamel in iron frame
12.75 x 24 x 1 inches

Antique New York City double-sided street sign from Lower Manhattan, white lettering on a dark blue background in a black iron frame that once stood at the corner of Market Slip and South Street. New York street signs of this color and “humpback” shape date from the 1910s to the 1930s. They were made from vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, which was formed by fusing powdered glass to a metal substrate in a kiln. A so-called slip is a space between two wharves or in a dock for vessels to lie in; today in New York City, all slips except one have been filled in.

Product description continues below..


A history of New York City slips, and of Market Slip to present, was detailed in Forgotten New York as follows:

There are a number of short streets along the East River from the Financial District northeast to Corlear’s Hook, where the East River turns north, called “slips.” [I]in the United States at least, “slip” seems to be a unique appellation to streets in New York City, because Manhattan used to have a unique feature: man-made inlets, mini-harbors where cargo-laden sailing ships could sail in and unload goods, and the aroma of coffee beans, spices, nutmeg and condiments filled the air. Manhattan Island’s edges were swampy; the Dutch expanded the island into the East River by landfill, but originally left the inlets, or ‘slips’ for docking.

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 Moving along to 1850 . . . while the “slips” are still shown on the map, by then they had all been filled in except one, Coenties Slip. You can see on the map, though, things that characterize Manhattan’s slips to this day: they are wider than the streets they issue from; indeed, streets sometimes gradually widened as they became “slips.” Their interiors were filled with the East River and the ships that docked on the slips; today, they are filled with parking areas, parks or playgrounds.

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Market Slip is the eastern end of Market Street between Cherry and South Streets.  The slip was likely the site of a produce exchange in the early 19th Century. With a parking lot on one side of the street and an enclosed playing field on the other . . .  it could be the shortest street in New York City with nearly unobstructed views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, especially in the winter months.

Condition: Very good with light wear and discoloration. Original iron frame with light wear and oxidation. Overall in superior condition to most New York City street signs extant and encountered on the market.


“New York’s ‘Slips,’ Financial District, Lower East Side.” Forgotten New York. 27 January 2013. (16 March 2022).

Young, Michelle. “The History of NYC’s Street Signs.” Untapped New York. (16 March 2022).

Additional information




20th Century