Ice cream store ghosts of Columbus Avenue

At 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue, a lovely stained glass ice cream sign hides above a cafe, affixed to the second floor of a corner building.

It looks very 1920s or 1930s, but it’s a ghost sign that seems to have long outlived the store it was attached to. Whose store was it?

A few blocks north, at 74th Street and Columbus Avenue, is this less mysterious ice cream signage: for the J.M. Horton Ice Cream Company.

It’s a sweet remnant of the Upper West Side’s manufacturing past. So what happened to Horton?

More than a century ago, the small local dairy “was supplying over half of New York’s ice cream,” explains The New York Times in a 2000 article.

By 1930, competition from bigger producers put them out of business.

[Horton's sign tip: Chris Wilmore]

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10 Responses to “Ice cream store ghosts of Columbus Avenue”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Odd that the current landlord chooses to have “JM HORTON ICE CREAM” picked-out in an easy-to-read contrasting paint color, seeing as how the tenant’s long since vacated. Good for them, they must be an ephemera enthusiast!

    As for the stained glass sign, I have a sneaking suspicion that this one’s age may be deceptive, and more likely date to the 1970′s or later. My reasons: A) Seems to be in implausibly-good condition for an 80-90 year old exterior leaded glass sign. B) It’s rather a pastiche of two different eras– the leaded glass screams 1910′s, whereas the typography style is 20′s/ 30′s. C) there was indeed a revival for stained-glass in the 70′s (it may have even been more ubiquitous in the 1970′s than in the early twentieth century).

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I should have known it was too good to be true–a vintage ice cream sign from the 1920s….

  3. Lisa Says:

    My guess is just that– purely a guess.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to bluster in and possibly shatter your dearly-held illusions!. Besides, forty year old signs are still respectably “vintage”.

  4. Manhattanmarg Says:

    I agree with Lisa – I’ve lived on the UWS since 1974 and have a very strong memory of that sign – just cannot remember exactly what the name of the shop was!

  5. Brian S Says:

    In the 1980s Diane’s Uptown restaurant was in the storefront below the stained glass ice cream sign. I believe one part of the storefront was a walk-up ice cream window or shop. Diane’s may have been there before the 1980s but I wouldn’t know, that’s before my time.

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    Ah, mystery solved! I was hoping it was a very early Schrafft’s.

  7. AP Says:

    I scream, you scream …. well, anyway.

  8. ICUDoc Says:

    “Diane’s” was the name of the restaurant she opened after the Ice Cream store did well – it was called “Sedutto’s”. Diane’s was a burger joint that probably would have done better in an era of “Shake Shake” and the like – it was before its time. The sign probably dates from the mid ’70s but no earlier than that.

    As to the other sign – it likely is a landmark and the building owner probably can’t change it or the colors even if he wanted to!!

  9. Helene Says:

    Is Diane’s Uptown still existing as a restaurant? I was in New York in 1980 and Went there several times. I also Went back to New York in 1986 and again visited Diane’s. Now the family and I is going back to the Big Apple. I would like to take them to lunch there if the restaurant still exist.

  10. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I don’t believe Diane’s exists anymore–just the sign.

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