An old delicatessen sign hidden on First Avenue

AsorganiccleanerssignFirst Avenue in the teens is lined with non-franchise, mom-and-pop stores that look like they’ve been there for decades. That makes it a good stretch to scout out vintage signage.

There’s a nice one underneath this awning between 15th and 16th Streets, advertising an organic dry cleaner. That’s the kind of business the neighborhood supports today.

But at some point in the past, a delicatessen-restaurant occupied this spot, probably a casualty of changing tastes and an influx of new residents.


But I bet the place did a nice business for years thanks to the residents of Stuyvesant Town across the street.

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18 Responses to “An old delicatessen sign hidden on First Avenue”

  1. Steve Kaufman Says:

    It was called Zion and as I recall sold only kosher hot dogs. I loved it. Was gone by around ’85 or ’86.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Ah, thanks for a little back story. I guess we missed it by 30 or so years.

    • Dan Gersten Says:

      Not called Zion. Zion was the brand of frankfurters and other meats. Name was Schwartzberg’s. I grew up in Stuyvesant Town, lived there from ’49 to ’74 and went to Stuyvesant High.

  2. The Day | NoHo SoHot! - The Local East Village Blog - Says:

    […] an old sign for a delicatessen on First Avenue. [Ephemeral NY] Also spotted: a mounted police officer on Second Avenue. [East Village East East […]

  3. Force Tube Avenue Says:

    I remember it as a delicatessen going back to my days at Stuyvesant High School (1971-1975), when the “old Stuy” was in session around the corner on 15th Street. It was a deli of long standing, even then.

  4. Richard Says:

    Force Tube Avenue beat me to making almost the same comment. It was a regular lunch hangout for us in senior year, ordering from the counter and eating at tables in the back along with old folks from the neighborhood. I’ve often walked past in recent years and yet never realized the sign was still there behind the awning!

  5. lawlady64 Says:

    Actually, it was called Schwartzberg’s and they sold all sorts of kosher food, but the Zion food company paid for the sign. Zion was a competitor of Hebrew National and later was bought by ConAgra (not so kosher!).

  6. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News Says:

    […] Ghost signage on First Avenue (Ephemeral New York) […]

  7. Dan Gersten Says:

    Yes…Schwartzberg’s. Zion was a brand of meats, especially the frankfurters. Great sandwiches and terrific homemade coleslaw and potato salad — the kind that’s hard to find at Jewish delis these days. Grew up in Stuyvesant Town and also went to Stuyvesant HS and loved to frequent the place..

  8. BabyDave Says:

    Yes, fine place. Having a high school right around the corner was certainly a boon.

    • Dan Gersten Says:

      Don’t recall seeing Daniel, Pat or Debbie there. Did see a number of one legged dutchmen though…

  9. Saul Chapnick Says:

    I used to live right up the street from Zion Delicatessen during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many neighborhood folks as well as those from Beth Israel Hospital frequented the establishment.

    Their meat knishes were literally to die for. Enormous and overly filling.

  10. Michael Arsham Says:

    On the same block, now gone, the Gaslight Pub, New Star Market, possibly best known for two local characters: The Mayor of First Avenue and Eddie New Star. Zeichner’s liquor store has been there since at least the 1950’s and is still there.

  11. Marc I Whinston Says:

    That was the Zion Deli. I used to eat there occasionally when I went to high school (around the corner on 15th street). I loved it!

  12. Marc I Whinston Says:

    Wow! Learning that it was not “Zion Deli,” I feel like a part of my life has been a fraud…

  13. Bob Goodman Says:


  14. Fred Feiner Says:

    Best Pastrami club in NY at Schwartzbergs. Family owned. Docs at BIH would eat there and bring their sandwiches to to the OR after cases.
    Waiter was the same all the time – rude as can be.
    Mother and sons ran the business. I miss it so

  15. Fred Feiner Says:

    I knew the mother and both sons. I went to Stuyvesant 1952-56. Trained at BIH from 1964-1969. Hot dog with sauerkraut was sensational – great pickles. Mother made great pastrami and eggs omelet.

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