Crosswalk signals with authentic New York accents

Photo: philipwchan /

Dennis Ferrara is a native of Brooklyn who worked for the New York Department of Transportation as an electrician supervisor when his voice was recorded. His unmistakable New York accent can still be heard at 15 pedestrian signals at intersections across the city. When people push the buttons on these signals, they hear Ferrara’s voice telling them, among other cues, that the “wawk” sign is on. (via @broadway_optimist)

New York Times (2012):

In Mr. Ferrara’s New York, “Avenue” takes an “h” or three. The “a” in “Jay Street” is drawn. And at least one “w” is added to the first syllable of “Broadway”.

…Mr. Ferrara, who has lived in Gerritsen Beach most of his life, had no professional voice training. Previous occupations included deli ownership and, occasionally, scuba diving for Coney Island jewelry. He jokes that his vocational school had no English classes. His qualifications, as it were, include pronouncing “ask” like “axe.”

The job came to him by luck and by business, because he was fit and because if he didn’t do it, someone else would.

I couldn’t embed the video here, but ToddCamNYC recorded two of the Ferrara voiceovers.

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