Posts Tagged ‘Neon signs New York City’

Gorgeous neon signs illuminating the city

March 3, 2014

What’s more beautiful than block after block of glowing reds and blues and pinks and yellows, emanating light and heat?

Oldhomesteadsign

These food-oriented neon signs also make you hungry. The Old Homestead sign looks pretty old, though not as old as this steak house (two words!) itself, from 1868.

Donutpub14thstreet

The Donut Pub on 14th Street, a 50-year-old remnant of New York before cronuts and Starbucks, recently survived a competitive attack by an upstart Dunkin’ Donuts down the block, which quietly closed shop a few years ago.

DeRobertispastryshoppe

DeRobertis Caffe and Pasticceria has been baking sweets for 110 years on First Avenue near 14th Street, when this was an Sicilian immigrant micro-neighborhood featuring Russo Brothers, Veniero, and probably hundreds of small shops lost to history.

Queensign

Queen is an oddly named Italian restaurant (since 1958!) on Court Street in Brooklyn. You have to dig that crown.

Katzsign

And of course, Katz’s Deli, a treasure of New York neon and store signage—and sandwiches and Jewish soul food too.

More sublime neon beauty can be found here.

Old neon bar signs that lit up the New York sky

January 21, 2013

As more of the city’s legendary bars and taverns fall by the wayside (good-bye after 70 years, Lenox Lounge), their wonderfully evocative neon signs do too.

These examples are still giving the city its enchanting glow—or at least marking the space where an old-school dive or haunt once stood.

Barsignjoestavern

All that’s left of Joe’s Tavern Bar on 25th Street and 10th Avenue is its battered neon sign. It’s been shuttered for at least a few years; amazing that a developer hasn’t snapped up the space, considering how close it is to next-big-thing West Chelsea.

Barsignsoldtownbar

At least the Old Town Bar, on East 18th Street, is still in business, and the inside is as old-school as the sign out front. It got its start in 1892 and weathered Prohibition as a speakeasy with the help of political bosses at nearby Tammany Hall on 17th Street and Union Square.

Here’s a photo, with the same sign, that looks like it was taken in the 1920s or 1930s.

Barsignsarthurs

Arthur’s Tavern is still going strong after 76 years as a bar and jazz club on Grove Street in the West Village. The sign is in shambles and I’m not sure if it actually works.

Either way, it’s an enchanting piece of an older New York and I hope it doesn’t change.

The neon signs that light up the New York sky

October 11, 2012

Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, corner stores—glowing neon colors are still all over the city, giving off that enchanting glow that makes New York nights so warm and magical.

Cinema Village has been showing indie and foreign films on 12th Street and University Place since 1963 and was “built in the shell of a turn of the century fire station,” its website says.

Patsy’s opened in 1944 and has been billed as Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant. Or was that one of the other Patsy’s around Manhattan?

This is my favorite neon sign and object: the Desco Vacuum Sales and Service store at 131 West 14th Street. A technicolor beauty.

New York’s coolest vintage liquor store signs

June 25, 2012

You probably won’t find organic wines or imported microbrews in these old-school city liquor stores. Their shabby vintage signs tell us that they’re traditional neighborhood shops where you can pick up decent booze at decent prices.

Casa Oliveira, on Seventh Avenue South near Sheridan Square, opened in 1936. Does the sign still light up? I’ve never seen it at night.

It’s always 1977 at Discount Liquors, on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, where old New York–type bums hang around outside all night, drunk off their asses.

The Hotel St. George in Brooklyn Heights was once the borough’s largest and most luxurious hotel. Today, part of the complex serves as a dormitory for New York–area college students.

Established in 1933—in other words, as soon as Prohibition was over, some enterprising shopkeeper opened this no-frills liquor store on the Lower East Side, which is still going strong 79 years later.

The most enchanting sign in Coney Island

September 4, 2011

For its neon beauty and the cheap thrills it promises—sun, surf, and juicy hot dogs—does any sign beat iconic Nathan’s Famous at Surf and Stillwell Avenues?

Repeat the words enough, and they start to sound like a four-line haiku. “Take Home Food”: Is it a noun? A command? This is what Coney Island should look like.

I don’t know how old the sign is, but Nathan’s has been serving hot dogs, fried clams, and even frog legs (has anyone been brave enough to try them?) since 1916.

Neon signs that give New York its glow

June 30, 2011

Like faded building ads and  kitschy store signs, colorful neon bar and restaurant signs are icons of the city. The incandescent glow they give off makes nighttime New York feel warmer and more enchanting.

I don’t know how long the sign has been lighting up MacDougal Street, but Monte’s red-sauce joint has been around since 1918.

The sign is a little worn and the neon partly stripped off, but French bistro Tout Va Bien (“everything is fine”) has been going strong for three generations on West 51st Street.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner—all meals will be served at the Waverly Restaurant (minus the last two letters) at Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place.

It’s not to be confused with the ultracool Waverly Inn several blocks over on Bank Street.


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