This is not just another McDonald’s

The McDonald’s franchise on Sixth Avenue and 28th Street appears to be a typical unremarkable fast-food building on the edge of Manhattan’s ever-shrinking Flower District.

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But if you look closely at the building, you can see an unusual motif that wraps its way all around the structure: pairs of intertwined seahorses framing a trident. 

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The sea-creature motif exists because the building originally housed a Child’s restaurant—part of a chain of eateries the dotted New York City in the first half of the 20th century, like Schrafft’s and Horn and Hardart’s Automat.

Not all Child’s restaurants had this logo; the famous one on the Coney Island Boardwalk, landmarked in 2003 and now Dreamland Roller Rink, features colorful terra cotta fish, seashells, ships, and King Neptune.

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5 Responses to “This is not just another McDonald’s”

  1. ChickenUnderwear Says:

    Wow, I gotta go check that out. I never thought a McDonald’s franchise owner would make any effort to keep some peaty old ornamental architecture.

  2. Who Wants to Be a Slumdog - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] a McDonald’s and find a piece of New York’s restaurant past. [Ephemeral New [...]

  3. PizzaBagel Says:

    Here are some more, all in Queens:

    * The southeast corner of 45th Street and 43rd Avenue
    * 60th Street, between 44th Avenue and Queens Boulevard
    * Roosevelt Avenue, between 63rd Street and 64th Street
    * The northeast corner of 36th Street and Broadway
    * The east side of Fresh Pond Road, at 67th Avenue

    They all appear to be close to what was their original form. I see that the seahorses and the background at the McDonald’s have all been painted black. Plus, there is additional ornamentation at the above sites.

  4. Sixth Avenue and 28th Street: 1938 vs. 2010 « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] Could it be the same building with the top floors sheared off? Possibly; back then, this McDonald’s was a Child’s restaurant. [...]

  5. A 1950s menu from New York favorite Schrafft’s « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] the 1970s, the city was dotted with Schrafft’s restaurants, a mini-chain in the tradition of Child’s and Chock Full o’Nuts that offered sandwiches and ice cream—mostly to [...]

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