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Plugged In

Scrabble street sign marks the spot of game’s birth

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The original Scrabble sign (Flickr user phantom_xtl)

The birthplace of Scrabble is getting its points back.

The long-running word game was invented just a stone's throw from the intersection of 35th Ave. and 81st St. in the New York neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens. Since 1995, the hood has proudly commemorated this fact with a curious Scrabble-inspired street sign, which assigned proper Scrabble points to the letters in "35th Avenue" (it totals 14.)

Until one day in 2008, when the sign mysteriously vanished. Residents didn't take that theft lightly, and have pushed for a replacement.

On Monday they got their wish when New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation okaying the erection of a new Scrabble sign this fall.

"The street sign is a Jackson Heights icon," city councilman Daniel Dromm, who spearheaded the replacement effort, told the NY Daily News. "It's a historical marker of something of importance that happened in Jackson Heights that future generations should know about."

Check out Scrabble's highest-scoring words

Jackson Heights resident and former architect Alfred Mosher Butts devised the criss-crossing word game in 1938 while helping renovate a local church. It's since gone on to become one of the best-selling board games ever, with over 150 million units sold worldwide.

The new sign will be created by New York's Transportation Department.

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