Falling apart store signs: Chinatown edition

Chinatown: Tasty food, cheap knockoffs, amusing trinkets, and plenty of eye-popping, pre-1980s store signage—a lot of it on its last legs.

Like Lung Moon “Baker,” missing that last y:

The Big Wong sign says it all:

Several letters have fallen off the Chinatown Fair sign. But that’s okay; I’ve never seen a store advertise themselves as a venue for Tic-Tac-Toe before! 

Red and green seems to be a popular color combo on Chinatown signs:

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6 Responses to “Falling apart store signs: Chinatown edition”

  1. prb Says:

    Chinatown Fair Arcade was famous for the Dancing & Tic Tac Toe Chickens. Pop in a quarter or two and challenge the Chicken to a game of electronic tic tac toe. Odds are you would lose as the game was rigged by a simple analog computer feeding the chicken when it pecked at the correct answer. The dancing chicken danced because of an electrified cage floor. But a chicken in Chinatown could do much worse and end up in some soup or general tso’d, so it was a great job for a lucky bird. Now just an redacted sign and some memories.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the info. I’ve heard about those dancing chickens. i didn’t go in the arcade to see if they had any though….

  3. Force Tube Avenue Says:

    I concur with prb’s recollection. My memories of the chickens go back to the 70’s. I went in some years ago, to find that no chickens were “employed” any more.

  4. Queen TEE Says:

    “Chicken Tic Tac Toe” just opened a floodgate of childhood memories I have from the Chinatown Fair Arcade. Dim Sum at Nam Wah Tea Parlor, then a fish-shaped cookie on a red string with currant eyes from the little bakery next door, then obligatory tic tac toe with the chicken. I miss that chicken. I agree with the above poster, he was a lucky bird with a good job. I think I asked for that chicken for my birthday one year. And no, the chicken is no longer there, but the arcade is and is still being used by the next generation of kids, which is nice to see.

  5. sean Says:

    I’ve been eating at Big Wong’s for decades. It’s really great and the fact that it is full of Chinese was what drew me to it in the first place.

    It was originally Wong Kee. Wong is a common Hong Kong name. They moved around 1985 to their current location and changed the name to Big Wong.

    At the time, a Chinese-American woman told me that the double entendre was not lost on her and was obviously intentional.

  6. chas Says:


    Baxter just off Canal…unbelievable food and prices…

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