Author Topic: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?  (Read 14149 times)

Offline katie

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What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« on: May 21, 2008, 04:41:51 PM »
I was walking my dog on 35th Avenue the other night and was thinking about how it would be fun to show my Scrabble-obsessed sister the 35th Avenue street sign that's written out with Scrabble letters/points on the corner of 35th Avenue and 81st Street next to the Community Church -- an homage to the game that was invented in JH and was first played at the church.  I looked up as I crossed 81st Street and to my surprise, the sign was missing!  I did a double take, made sure I was in the right spot, and, in fact, the street has been removed.  The normal 35th Avenue street sign is there but the Scrabble version, normally above it, is not. 

Does anyone know what happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign???

Offline KC

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 10:58:04 PM »
I just noticed that it was gone too.  I have no idea.  It is a part of our community's history, and I loved the sign. 

Offline katie

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 11:05:42 PM »
I was thinking of contacting Helen Sears' office to see if they know anything.....  Does anyone think that would be useful?

Offline ECG

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 12:04:39 AM »
Try Jeffrey Sanders (Saunders?) he and the Beautification group were responsible for the signs.
It was getting very faded - maybe they took it down to 'beautify' it before the Historic weekend walking tour.

Or some thuggish louts stole it.

Offline toddg

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 12:06:34 AM »
Maybe somebody moved it to a corner with a Triple Word Score.

Offline katie

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008, 12:09:55 AM »
Maybe somebody moved it to a corner with a Triple Word Score.

Baaaahahaha!

ECG: Yeah, I guessed it was taken down for cleaning/refurbishing but I'll check with JHBG if I have time tomorrow.  Thanks and I hope it's back up by the time my sister visits next month.

Offline toddg

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008, 09:54:20 AM »
AM New York duly notes the sign's disappearance.  Thanks for the help... hopefully we'll get it back soon!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 12:11:28 AM by toddg »

Offline francis

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scrabble sign revisited
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 04:52:17 PM »
I was wondering if there was any new news regarding the Historic District Scrabble Sign.  I'm missing it.  It was always fun to show friends that were coming to JH for the first time to visit me.  I know that there was a previous thread about this. Is there any news as to what happened to it?  I hope there are plans to replace it.

Offline buddy

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 06:39:54 PM »
Maybe somebody moved it to a corner with a Triple Word Score.

 ;D   Who are you and where's todd?



First, do no harm.

Offline toddg

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2008, 08:26:43 PM »
Megan at amNY's Urbanite Blog feels our pain and starts investigating!  Hooray!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 12:08:42 AM by toddg »

Offline ECG

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2008, 10:45:57 PM »
Mr. Butts (Scrabble's mastermind) was my upstairs neighbor for many years. He was really sweet and a gentleman of the old school (this was the 60's and early 70's). I still miss him even though the people who live in the apartment now are also v. nice.

Just a random posting.

Offline Really4rob

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2008, 01:13:03 PM »
I didn't realize it was gone until I read this.  That's sad.   :(

I actually became a Scrabble-addict late in life (well, after college), and was amazed that it was invented in our neighborhood where I lived my whole life when I first saw the sign.

I had taken a picture for some of the students in a class at the school I work at who had a Scrabble club a few years ago, so I'll post them here (now that I am getting the hang out this, Photo Forum board taught me well). 

I made this using video camera capture, and shrunk it a bit, but it's still readable.  Who knew at the time it would be goine ...
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Offline toddg

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2008, 10:43:57 PM »
This is now an international embarrassment!  The (London) Guardian comes looking for Scrabble's birthplace, and finds the sign is gone.  How we disrespect our heritage!  Somebody should at least spray-paint "caziques" on the sidewalk...


Saturday June 28, 2008
The Guardian
Spell bound

When the Great Depression left architect Alfred Butts out of work, he scrabbled around for something to do - and came up with a game whose ingenious mix of anagrams, crosswords, chance and skill is still a winner, 60 years on. And yet it nearly didn't see the light of day... Oliver Burkeman reports...


The highest score that it is theoretically possible to achieve in a single turn in Scrabble is for the word "oxyphenbutazone". Even at the top levels of tournament Scrabble, this has never actually happened: it would require the game to have unfolded in exactly the right way up to that point, leaving exactly the right open spaces, and the right combination of letters in the bag. But if it did, it would span three triple-word scores, creating seven other new words on the board, for a total of at least 1,778, depending on which official word list you used. The closest anyone has come in real life was a now deceased Kurdish player, Dr Karl Khoshnaw, who got 392 points for "caziques" at a contest in Manchester in 1982....

The official position is that Scrabble is 60 years old this year - though that's slightly debatable and, believe me, Scrabble experts are the kind of people who like to debate it at length - so one hot afternoon this month, I took a subway train to Jackson Heights in Queens, New York, to try to find its birthplace. According to Mattel, which owns the rights in most countries, more than 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold, in 29 different languages, since it first went on the market; 30,000 games are started somewhere in the world each hour. I thought Scrabble's ground zero might be covered in worshipful graffiti, like the Abbey Road street sign or Jim Morrison's grave in Paris. But at the apartment building where Alfred Butts, an architect forced out of work by the Great Depression, had made the first board on his kitchen table, there was nothing. At the Methodist church hall a few blocks away, on 35th Avenue, where he'd tested different versions of the game on friends and neighbours, I'd been told I'd find a commemorative sign on which each letter of the word "avenue" had its Scrabble score displayed in the bottom right. But it was gone. Eventually, I found a tiny plaque on the side of the church annexe. It didn't feel like enough - but, as it turns out, Butts himself probably wouldn't have minded. He was a mild, undemanding man, and in any case, he was just glad Scrabble ever saw the light of day. Because it very nearly didn't.

(Follow link for complete article)

Offline francis

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scrabble sign
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2008, 06:25:33 PM »
And the infamous scrabble sign would beeee..............................  No one ever figure out what happened to it?  How do we go about getting a new one made?

Offline spanishfish

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Re: What happened to the 35th Avenue Scrabble street sign?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2008, 09:52:11 PM »
Kids steal signs. Rather than trying to figure out where it went, let's figure out who puts up the street signs (DOT, probably) and show them  a photo of the original sign and that we want it replaced.
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