Southern Brooklyn

So Is This Another DOT "Hoax"?


Like many readers of Sheepshead Bites, Lisanne Anderson couldn’t believe that some other media outlets bought the Department of Transportation’s line about an erroneous parking sign being a prank. Lisanne used to work for a firm that gave her a first-hand look at the agency’s record-keeping, so the truth was obvious to her. Fortunately, Lisanne also has eagle eyes, and has noted a few other signage problems in the area, like the one above. She writes:

This is a hoax sign too?

There are hoax signs all over NYC.

Yeah, right!

Let them try to explain this one.

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  1. I bet that Doone Court started as a miswritten ledger entry. Dunne Court is obviously named after someone named Dunne. Somebody was eating too many cookies.

    And then there is Roder Avenue, which is Ryder Avenue with an “o”.

    These are now forever memorialized.

    I used to have to attend meeting with DOT officials. They were often so ill prepared that my colleagues and I ended up doing all the talking.

  2. The one photographed is not a spelling error. The two I just referenced would be harder to track down. There are ledger books at the City Register’s office. I’ve gone through them seeking information on street name changes but it is hard to find precisely what you want unless you have an idea of when a change actually took place. The books list street naming orders chronologically.

  3. One of the mistakes that many media outlets make is to trust their government sources. I suppose there is a give and take here; they believe that by taking them at their word they’ll get some juicy tidbit later. But this violates the very nature of news gathering. News media should be through in their fact gathering, and objective in analyzing the veracity of the information that they receive. Even from government sources. They not only accept information non-critically on small stories, but they fail to scrutinize what they are being told when it is a serious matter of public interest. Unfortunately, this sort of blindness reaches as far as the newspapers whose reputations were made years ago through their earlier insistence on comprehensive fact checking.Look at how easy it is these days to hoax media. Remember the 140 year old hot dog from Feltman’s?

  4. Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten NY is a veritable index of “hoaxes” of this sort. As you said, the DOT really does have decades to apologize for. Plus, there’s a sign on 18th Avenue near my place that refers to it as “Cristoford Colombo Ave” instead of Cristoforo.

    I really don’t fault the DOT, though, for their institutional stupidity, as much as I’m irritated by the Brooklyn Paper/Courier-Life for making such a big deal out of it.

    Can’t remember if I told you, but there was an entry on an older blog of mine (since nuked) where I made a passing comment at the Brooklyn Paper that was just barely negative (I forget if I referred to their pieces as puff or fluff). Gersh Kuntzman got right on it (as in “defensive about it”) and posted a comment defending his paper’s honor and highlighting all of those awards they won for their Atlantic Yards coverage, etc. He was doing that with a lot of blogs at the time – getting defense at any slight real or perceived and posting defensive comments on their articles. He also seems to take great pleasure in proving a blog wrong (i.e. rumors of a store closing being true or false, etc), though I can’t recall an instance where (1) the Brooklyn Paper picked a fight over such lightweight news, (2) posted a breaking mid-day web update about it, (3) FRONT-PAGING it on the printed edition of the paper, and (4) STILL GETTING IT WRONG.

  5. Well, the hot dog was real, right? Just not the part of it being 140 years old.

    News 12 was actually pissed at the people who set them up for that. As if they had anyone – anyone at all! – to blame for being such gullible losers but themselves.

    Someone at CNN also deserved to be fired for picking that story up, no questions asked. By that point, I had completely stopped watching all domestic cable news channels and their websites – I always felt dumber for having watched/read them, but Balloon Boy was the last straw. But I did take a lot of joy over watching the pirated clip of the hot dog story on YouTube, over and over, and over again.

  6. I guess, to be fair, the ones involved were people like Charles Denson who don’t come across as capable of hoaxing anyone. I was surprised he was a party to it. He seems too serious. Still, the idea of a hot dog “preserved in ice” for 140 years seemed too silly to believe.

    Fluff stories don’t get much scrutiny at all. And stories that have real impact on our lives don’t get enough. Especially on TV news, where they are too worried about deadlines.

    If you can find any of Alan Abel’s books they are worth whatever price you can afford to pay for them. Alan was, and is, the master media hoaxer.

  7. FIGURES………..Nobody pays attention anymore………Put up the sign, yes sir, just doing my job……drop-outs at work

  8. I also believe Voorhies was originally named after someone in the Voorhees family. But that error precedes DOT.

  9. Jerome Avenue was originally Voorhees Lane. But I have an jpg of an 1883 map which shows both VoorhIes Lane, and Voorhies Avenue. The latter was not yet opened, according to the map, yet houses were place alongside it.

    Here’s a map from 1890 showing both Jerome and Voorhees Avenue.

    BUt the original family name was definitely Voorhies. Though I have come across Voris as well here.



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