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elmwood
02-24-2010, 07:47 PM
In many old ads, postcards, and other instances where an address might be listed or written, I noticed it was once quite common for cities and towns on Long Island to have "LI" "L.I." in addition to the place name as part of the address, or even replace "NY" for the state. For example, someone might give their address as:

Joey Bagadonuts
34 Trans Am Dr
Bethpage, LI, NY, 11714

Or, go back a few decades, and it's

Vincent Eymheuje
542 Mingia St
Massapequa 3 L.I.

This practice seemed to continue into the 1970s and 1980s.

Why was Long Island singled out for this special treatment in postal addresses, but not other parts of other states? You don't see "Marquette, UP, MI" or "Guyman, PH, OK".

Bijou Drains
02-24-2010, 07:54 PM
I believe people would write 123 Elm St, Brooklyn, NY 12345 for addresses. Of course Brooklyn was a separate city until 1898 but they kept using those addresses after they merged with NYC

RealityChuck
02-24-2010, 08:03 PM
Because there were two Greenports in New York state -- one on Long Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenport,_Suffolk_County,_New_York), and the other in Columbia County (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenport,_Columbia_County,_New_York) near the Hudson.

But, more seriously, the post office didn't standardize things until relatively recently and were willing to accept anything that helped them deliver. By putting a "L.I." on the address, it narrowed things down, especially in the days before zip codes.

choie
02-24-2010, 09:01 PM
Anecdote Alert!

Long Island denizen from '66 to '92. I never ever saw mail addressed to me or my family at "Great Neck, L.I., NY." It was just "Great Neck, NY, 11021."

OTOH, people still address letters to Brooklyn, NY or Queens, NY. Though you'll be more likely to see something more specific, such as "Park Slope, NY" or "Astoria, NY."

Hello Again
02-24-2010, 09:07 PM
Anecdote Alert!

Long Island denizen from '66 to '92. I never ever saw mail addressed to me or my family at "Great Neck, L.I., NY." It was just "Great Neck, NY, 11021."

OTOH, people still address letters to Brooklyn, NY or Queens, NY. Though you'll be more likely to see something more specific, such as "Park Slope, NY" or "Astoria, NY."

Actually, to this day, "[Neighborhood], NY" is the correct way to address mail whose destination is Queens. (Maspeth, NY; Forest Hills, NY, Astoria, NY, etc.) However "Brooklyn, NY" is used for all of Brooklyn.

This is because Brooklyn was once an independently incorporated City, while Queens is made of towns and villages that grew together until they merged.

guizot
02-24-2010, 09:22 PM
Or, go back a few decades, and it's

Vincent Eymheuje
542 Mingia St
Massapequa 3 L.I.


I've heard the [city name] + [one digit or two digits] designation before--I think in old movies or T.V. shows. I've always assumed that that was the precursor to the zip code. So East Hollywood was "Los Angeles 27"--it indicated the post office of what later would become the zip code area.

Civil Guy
02-24-2010, 11:34 PM
Los Angeles may be a special case (like that's a surprise). I don't know if there are any other major cities like this, but the zip codes around downtown L.A. all start with '900'. For example, '90027' is Hollywood - which is really just a neighborhood / district of L.A., not its own city. A famous neighborhood, to be sure, but even so.

The post offices around L.A. would know that "Los Angeles 27" means "90027." I suspect that they still do know it, but they really don't want to encourage that kind of messing with the zip codes.

Voyager
02-25-2010, 02:53 AM
I've heard the [city name] + [one digit or two digits] designation before--I think in old movies or T.V. shows. I've always assumed that that was the precursor to the zip code. So East Hollywood was "Los Angeles 27"--it indicated the post office of what later would become the zip code area.

As an example on the other coast (and of Queens) my address was Bayside, 64, NY, which became Bayside, NY 11364. I've never seen mail addressed to "Queens, NY."

RealityChuck
02-25-2010, 07:30 AM
Los Angeles may be a special case (like that's a surprise). I don't know if there are any other major cities like this, but the zip codes around downtown L.A. all start with '900'. For example, '90027' is Hollywood - which is really just a neighborhood / district of L.A., not its own city. A famous neighborhood, to be sure, but even so.New York was the same way. Even Schenectady had postal zones before zip codes -- Schenectady 7, NY.

The zones* were established inthe 1940s, long before zip codes. In fact, the "Zip" code comes from "Zone Improvement Plan," which established postal zones outside the cities.

When I was growing up on Long Island, we'd get mail both with and without "Long Island" on it.

*referred to in Elvis's "Return to Sender," BTW.

anson2995
02-25-2010, 08:25 AM
Zip codes began to be implemented in 1943 for some larger cities, and by 1963 were in use nationwide. The whole point was to make it easier for manually sorting the mail, thus speeding up delivery.

You can still send a letter that is improperly addressed, such as ommiting the zip or even the state, and it will get there. It just takes longer and is more likely to get misdirected or returned.

Cliffy
02-25-2010, 08:29 AM
Actually, to this day, "[Neighborhood], NY" is the correct way to address mail whose destination is Queens.

My grandmother-in-law gets her mail addressed to Middle Village, NY.

--Cliffy

friedo
02-25-2010, 09:03 AM
Actually, to this day, "[Neighborhood], NY" is the correct way to address mail whose destination is Queens. (Maspeth, NY; Forest Hills, NY, Astoria, NY, etc.) However "Brooklyn, NY" is used for all of Brooklyn.


Having been a resident of Flushing, Astoria and Brooklyn, I concur.

Of course, this all dates back to when Brooklyn was its own city and Queens just a smattering of small municipalities between farmland. Zip codes make city names on addresses redundant, but redundancy can help if the Zip code becomes illegible or there is a mistake. New York City is so big that it helps to maintain the old municipal names, even if they were abolished a century ago.

Quercus
02-25-2010, 09:14 AM
Actually, to this day, "[Neighborhood], NY" is the correct way to address mail whose destination is Queens. (Maspeth, NY; Forest Hills, NY, Astoria, NY, etc.) However "Brooklyn, NY" is used for all of Brooklyn.

This is because Brooklyn was once an independently incorporated City, while Queens is made of towns and villages that grew together until they merged.I don't think the U.S. Post Office cares one way or the other about Brooklyn's or Queen's organizational history. As long as the ZIP code is right (and the street address is right), I don't think the post office even looks at the city, so mail addressed to "NY, NY 11217", "Brooklyn, NY 11217" , "Park Slope, NY 11217" or even "Groovyville, NY 11217" would all get delivered just as quickly.

If the ZIP code or street address is messed up, then the city will get looked at, and the post office will have to figure out where the letter is supposed to go. Best case then is that the city part of the written address exactly matches the name of a particular post office (so nobody has to think at all), next best case is that it allows a human being to figure out which post office it should go to. So even if there's no "Park Slope" post office, that probably narrows it down pretty well for the average human, better than "Brooklyn".

keno
02-25-2010, 09:42 AM
why do the addresses in New York have hyphens in the numbers, e.g. 143-10 41st Ave, Flushing , NY? Would this be written 14310 41st Ave, Anywhere, USA, or is the hpyhen significant?

Hello Again
02-25-2010, 10:16 AM
why do the addresses in New York have hyphens in the numbers, e.g. 143-10 41st Ave, Flushing , NY? Would this be written 14310 41st Ave, Anywhere, USA, or is the hpyhen significant?

It's really only in Queens you see this, and the hyphen is significant. The first part of the numerical address signifies a nearby numbered cross street, the second part the number in relation to that cross street.

The address you selected, is somewhere near the intersection of 143rd st/ave/rd and 41st Ave.

I have no idea where or how this system of numbering arose, but it is not generally used in Brooklyn.

Hello Again
02-25-2010, 10:26 AM
I don't think the U.S. Post Office cares one way or the other about Brooklyn's or Queen's organizational history.
Of course not. But in determining what the official address is, the Post Office applied local custom.

If you go to the USPS ZIP Code (http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp) lookup, and enter a Park Slope address with "Park Slope" in the City line, it will tell you such an address does not exist. Park Slope is not an official USPS City designation. Kew Gardens, NY (located in Queens) IS an official USPS City designation, by contrast. The reason for the difference in what is considered an official "City" for the "City" line of an address, is the historical difference in the boroughs, already described by me and others.

friedo
02-25-2010, 10:35 AM
why do the addresses in New York have hyphens in the numbers, e.g. 143-10 41st Ave, Flushing , NY? Would this be written 14310 41st Ave, Anywhere, USA, or is the hpyhen significant?


Only certain Queens addresses are like that, as far as I know. The part before the hyphen generally indicates the cross-street, so 143-10 41st Ave. is on 42st Ave. off 143rd Street. Or what would be 143rd Street, if it didn't have a name, which it does.

matt_mcl
02-25-2010, 10:36 AM
It's really only in Queens you see this, and the hyphen is significant. The first part of the numerical address signifies a nearby numbered cross street, the second part the number in relation to that cross street.

Hm. Up here, an address of that form -- say 13-4201 rue Sainte-Whoever -- would mean 4201 Sainte-Whoever, apartment 13.

Hello Again
02-25-2010, 11:05 AM
Hm. Up here, an address of that form -- say 13-4201 rue Sainte-Whoever -- would mean 4201 Sainte-Whoever, apartment 13.

Yes, the question was "why in New York" which is why I answered "you only see it in Queens and it means this" -- the "in New York" being understood from the question.

I am not trying to say what a hyphenated address would mean in a place other than New York.

guizot
02-25-2010, 11:16 AM
The post offices around L.A. would know that "Los Angeles 27" means "90027." I suspect that they still do know it...I think they also use it to refer to the actually post office, so in this case it refers to the office at Franklin & Vermont.

matt_mcl
02-25-2010, 12:05 PM
Yes, the question was "why in New York" which is why I answered "you only see it in Queens and it means this" -- the "in New York" being understood from the question.

I am not trying to say what a hyphenated address would mean in a place other than New York.

I'm just sharing additional information.

ratatoskK
02-25-2010, 12:40 PM
I've seen the "L.I" thing and the "Brooklyn" thing a long time ago. Don't know why. People tend not to do it anymore. Don't know why. MAYBE the need went away when zip codes were introduced. They came in in the 1960's.

friedo
02-25-2010, 12:43 PM
Brooklyn is still used for Brooklyn addresses. But I haven't seen LI. It's doubly redundant, if you have the municipality name and the Zip code, which is already redundant.

Cliffy
02-25-2010, 01:16 PM
You know, the official city designation issue isn't confined to Queens, of course. I don't live in Rockville, but my mailing address is in Rockville. And when I used to live in the part of unincorporated Fairfax County that is just north of Springfield and somewhat west of Alexandria which doesn't have a name of its own, my mail was typically addressed to Alexandria, even though Alexandria was quite far away -- Annandale, Springfield, and Arlington were closer. (Although I found out later, the official city designation for the area was Lincolnia, which is a place that exists only in the records of the U.S. Post Office.)

--Cliffy

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
02-25-2010, 02:03 PM
Los Angeles may be a special case (like that's a surprise). I don't know if there are any other major cities like this, but the zip codes around downtown L.A. all start with '900'. For example, '90027' is Hollywood - which is really just a neighborhood / district of L.A., not its own city. A famous neighborhood, to be sure, but even so.
Hollywood's a bit more than a neighborhood, and has more than one zip code. For instance the Roosevelt Hotel is 90028. It is true that most or all zip codes in the Basin, and within the proper city limits, do have 900 for the first three numbers. Over the hill in the San Fernando Valley, though, the 900's stop, even for areas that are within the city limits. Chatsworth, for instance, is 91311. When addressing mail to well known districts or former independent cities like Watts or Hollywood, you can usually use those names if you prefer. On the other hand, if you are addressing something to L.A.'s Brentwood you had better be sure to include the zip code, because there's an actual town Brentwood in the Bay Area.

RealityChuck
02-25-2010, 02:19 PM
Zip codes began to be implemented in 1943 for some larger cities, and by 1963 were in use nationwide.No, zones were implemented in 1943. Zip codes were implemented in the 60s.

Zones were usually one or two digits; zip codes started out with five.

dhkendall
02-25-2010, 02:22 PM
It's really only in Queens you see this, and the hyphen is significant. The first part of the numerical address signifies a nearby numbered cross street, the second part the number in relation to that cross street.

The address you selected, is somewhere near the intersection of 143rd st/ave/rd and 41st Ave.

I have no idea where or how this system of numbering arose, but it is not generally used in Brooklyn.

Hm. Up here, an address of that form -- say 13-4201 rue Sainte-Whoever -- would mean 4201 Sainte-Whoever, apartment 13.

So then, how would an apartment be addressed in Queens? If, say, #10 41st Ave. was an apartment block, and you were in suite 13, would it be 13-143-10 41st, or would it be the more clear 143-10 41st Ave. Apt. 13?

Voyager
02-25-2010, 02:34 PM
You know, the official city designation issue isn't confined to Queens, of course. I don't live in Rockville, but my mailing address is in Rockville. And when I used to live in the part of unincorporated Fairfax County that is just north of Springfield and somewhat west of Alexandria which doesn't have a name of its own, my mail was typically addressed to Alexandria, even though Alexandria was quite far away -- Annandale, Springfield, and Arlington were closer. (Although I found out later, the official city designation for the area was Lincolnia, which is a place that exists only in the records of the U.S. Post Office.)

--Cliffy

I'm not sure how the post office divvies up town affiliations, but there were certain houses outside of Princeton proper (the township) which still had Princeton addresses. These were prized.

Hello Again
02-25-2010, 02:47 PM
143-10 41st Ave. Apt. 13?
This ^ is how my address in Queens is formatted.

alternately, 143-10 41st Ave, #13

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-03-2010, 03:09 PM
Los Angeles may be a special case (like that's a surprise). I don't know if there are any other major cities like this, but the zip codes around downtown L.A. all start with '900'. For example, '90027' is Hollywood - which is really just a neighborhood / district of L.A., not its own city. A famous neighborhood, to be sure, but even so.I thought this sort of thing was fairly common. Don't all Manhattan zip codes start with '100'?

As I was saying, it isn't just "around downtown", but just about every neighborhood or district, in the city limits, and not in the SFV. Over the hill in the Valley you start to get zip codes that are in L.A. proper, but don't start with '900'. Mail to these places is usually addressed to the name of the district, e.g. Sherman Oaks or Chatsworth. Due to peculiarities of geography, there's also BHPO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Post_Office); houses in this area are served by the Beverly Hills post office, and addressed Beverly Hills, CA 90210, but are actually part of L.A.

Within the past couple of days I learned that some of the '900' zip codes overlap into neighboring independent cities.

mbh
03-04-2010, 09:09 AM
The first digit tells you what region of the country you are in. "9xxxx" indicates the west coast.

The second digit narrows it down to a particular portion of one state. "90xxx" indicates southern California.

The third digit indicates a "regional processing center". "900xx" indicates the area surrounding Los Angeles. In a low-population area, this might cover several counties. In a high-population area, such as Los Angeles, it might be just the big city and a few suburbs.

The last two digits narrow it down to a single small town, or a portion of a large city. In my state, if a town has two or more zip codes, street addresses will get an odd-numbered zip code, and post office boxes will get an even-numbered zip code.

There are always exceptions. I think there is a military base in western Arizona that has a zip code starting with 9. Historically, it was much closer to the California processing center, than to any of the Arizona processing centers.