If, when the like of Christmas rolls around, there’s a special person in your life that has everything (or, at least, a formidable surfeit of impracticalities), your excuse for not buying him or her anything at all is at an end. Through the inspired genius of human entrepreneurship, you can now trump that person’s stash of Everything with yet Something New if not equally useless: a personalized subway sign.
As of last week, the famously intellectual-property-rights-conscious Metropolitan Transportation Authority has given a license to a Brooklyn company, Underground Signs, to sell subway signs — both the standard ones that are hung in stations, like “125th Street” and “Queensboro Plaza,” and custom ones with whatever text the buyer wants.
Trevor MacDermid and Michael De Zayas, proprietors of Underground Signs, opened their website-based company last October, but have only recently been granted a licensing agreement from the Metropolitan Transit Authority to be as creative as possible. While the authority receives 10 percent of the revenue, the pair can change “Downtown & Brooklyn” to “Downtown & Breuckeland” (the Dutch spelling of Brooklyn that has, in fact, appeared on the Fulton Street station) or perhaps Downtown & GrayFoxDown(!), etc.
Indeed, Mr. De Zayas made a sign for himself, a prototype that said, “Verandah Pl,” for Verandah Place.
It’s a street in Cobble Hill [Queens],” he explained. “It was my favorite street. I named my cat after it. “Verandah Pl,” that’s the one for me.”