Posts Tagged ‘faded ads’

Autumn reveals a huge East Harlem faded ad

December 3, 2012

With the tree limbs that obscure it for most of the year almost bare, this old painted ad comes into view at Second Avenue and 109th Street.

Fadedadsecondave109th

But what is the advertisement for—something about Stanton Street, which is more than 100 blocks south?

The faded underwear ad of 28th Street

October 18, 2012

“Shirts Underwear Etc” this faded advertisement reads on the back of an old brick building on 28th Street near Fifth Avenue.

Perhaps the building housed an old Garment District wholesaler or manufacturer—long out of business, judging from the condition of the building?

Three ways of viewing a Lexington Avenue corner

September 3, 2012

In 1915, when this photo was taken, Lexington Avenue at 116th Street was firmly in the Little Italy of East Harlem, hence the Italian in the signs on the far right above a chemist’s office.

“This section of East Harlem was developed  during the 1880s with the familiar New York brownstone residences and walk-up apartments,” states New York Then and Now, where the photo and the one below appear.

“One block west is the elevated crossing of the New York Central and New Haven Railroads on Park Avenue. The Subway Cafe, on the right-hand corner, anticipates the opening of the Lexington Avenue subway by three years.”

By 1975, the Italian neighborhood is mostly gone; Puerto Rican New Yorkers have moved in. The buildings themselves haven’t changed much—and the Bloomingdale’s ad from 1915 is visible 60 years later.

In 2012, the streetscape still looks similar. The corner building that went from saloon to Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet is now home to a taco shop, a sign of the neighborhood’s Mexican population.

And though the Bloomingdale’s ad on the corner has been painted over, next to it out of view, a second Bloomingdale’s ad is still legible! Here it is from an earlier Ephemeral post.

Faded restaurant ads on Manhattan buildings

August 2, 2012

“Lunch Soda Lounge” reads this ghostly old signage on 35th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

I imagine the place had a long, skinny luncheonette counter and metal swiveling seats.

Beef? Beer? I’m not sure what the vertical word is under this coffee shop ad on East 23rd Street, nor do I have any idea when it dates to.

“Coffee Shop” itself is a lost term. It’s too anonymous, not descriptive and unique enough for today’s specialty coffee culture.

Faded ads for Manhattan’s old-school hotels

June 21, 2012

These once-respectable hotels have long been shut down or converted into apartment houses or SROs.

Lucky for us, the advertisements for them on the sides of city buildings still linger. Like this one for the Paris Hotel, which opened in 1931 on West End Avenue and 97th Street.

Today it’s a high-end rental. The pool is still there, but I wonder if they still have the rooftop solarium.

Towering over East 39th Street is this ad for the Dryden East Hotel, formerly the Hotel Dryden, built in the late 1920s. It too is now a luxury residence.

You can barely make out the name on this ad, for the Vigilant Hotel on Eighth Avenue off 28th Street. Once a legitimate place to bunk for the night, it’s now one of the last fleabag flophouses in the city.

Before it gets the inevitable boutique hotel makeover, read the fascinating details on what it’s like to stay at the Vigilant, from this first-person account.

Ghostly reminders on red brick buildings

April 30, 2012

Faded ads that are preserved in full are treasures. But most of the old signage found around the city consists of just one or two legible words—maybe a name or a type of service.

Whose business was it? What did they sell or manufacture? Without more words as clues, we may never know.

On the side of a prewar building now known as the Amsterdam Court Hotel at 50th Street and Broadway is this faded ad for apartments. How many rooms? How much per month? I wish we knew.

This faded sign, as seen from Sixth Avenue in the 20s, appears to read “R. S. Stern.” If this is correct, I wonder what Mr. Stern’s company sold.

Manhattan building ads fading before our eyes

July 28, 2011

We’re losing them—the white (and sometimes color) ads painted on the sides of buildings left over from an older, non-digital New York.

I can make out the “Sable Bros” part of this one, on 36th Street. But to figure out what the white letters fronting the blue background, I had to consult the wonderful 14 to 42 website, which photographed the ad when it was in better shape back in 2004.

This next one, in the 20s off Seventh Avenue, is too far gone to even try to research, except for what seems to be the word “paper” at top.

If anyone can figure it out, please send it in!

Three-story faded ads towering over the city

April 9, 2011

In the 1930s, the Bendix company licensed a line of home washing machines.

Which means this enormous faded ad on an East 109th Street and First Avenue tenement could be about 80 years old.

The tagline “For Cleaner Clothes, Bendix Prescribes All” still survived on 23rd Street and in this location through the 2000s.

Cardinal Realty has moved over to Fulton Street since this enornous black and white ad went up in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

It’s in pretty good condition, but it could be more than 40 years old—the old two-letter phone exchanges were still officially in use through the 1960s.

NE for Nevins Street, on the other side of Prospect Park. Thanks to Ephemeral reader Sheena for sending in this photo.

Here’s an invaluable resource for decoding old New York City phone exchanges.

Downtown’s faded and forgotten liquor ads

June 5, 2010

“Beer” is the word that draws the eye to this very weathered ad painted (in color!) on the side of a building at Canal and Lafayette Streets.

“Importers and Bottlers of” is above it. The “liberty” script is lovely. The rest of the ad, however, is indecipherable.

This Sonn Bros. Whiskies ad still stands on Desbrosses Street in Tribeca. Hyman and Henry Sonn were Bavarian immigrants who became liquor dealers in the late 19th century.

Ghostly ads of the Garment District

April 26, 2010

One of the best concentrations of faded ads is in the Garment District, where clothing and accessories companies once—perhaps still—manufacture dresses, coats, belts, and other industry staples.

I love the 1960s-ish 45-single logo on this ad, for Baar and Beards accessories is on 37th Street. It’s close to their headquarters at 350 Fifth Avenue.

Vintage Robert Bestian handbags are for sale all over the internet, but other than that, there’s not much information this brand out there. The ad is on 33rd Street.

Does this really say “Style Undies” above a list of children’s clothes words like pajamas and play togs?


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