Dennis Ferrara is a Brooklyn native who was working for the New York City Department of Transportation as a supervising electrician when his voice was recorded. His distinctive New York accent can still be heard at 15 pedestrian signs on footpaths throughout the city. When people press the buttons on these signals, they hear Ferrara’s voice telling them, among other cue words, that the “wawk” sign is on. (via @employee)
The New York Times (2012):
In Mr. Ferrara’s New York, “Avenue” takes on an “h” or three. An “a” is drawn in “Jay Street”. And at least one “w” is appended to the first syllable of “Broadway”.
…Mr. Ferrara, who has lived in Gerritsen Beach almost his entire life, has never had professional vocal training. Past activities have included ownership of deli, and occasionally diving for jewelry off Coney Island. He jokes that his vocational school had no English lessons. His qualifications, as it were, include the utterance of “ask” like “axe”.
The job came to him by luck and trade, because he fit the bill, and because if he didn’t, someone else would have to.
I couldn’t embed the video here, however Todd Cam She recorded two of Ferrara’s acoustic cues.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”