A Yorkville deli’s wonderful vintage soda sign

New York has thousands of corner delis and bodegas. But how many sport one of these vintage soda-themed store signs?


York Deli on York Avenue and 79th Street is one of the last. Worn and grimy, it’s not the prettiest sign in Yorkville. But it sure has authenticity. (Still, this is 2016, and the deli also has a four-star Yelp page.)

YorkdeliYelpTechnically these signs with soda or ice cream logos are called “privilege signs,” promotional signs paid for by food corporations for small groceries, lunch places, and delis.

They used to be on just about every city block. Now, handfuls remain.

You can see more disappearing privilege signs here and read about their history in David Dunlap’s excellent 2014 New York Times piece on these relics of mid-century cities.

[Second photo: Yelp]

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4 Responses to “A Yorkville deli’s wonderful vintage soda sign”

  1. Andrew Porter Says:

    If you think a plastic sign from maybe the 1980s is “vintage,” I have a bridge to sell to you.

    • Ruth Rosenthal Says:

      It’s actually older than the 80s and you can call it “vintage”, unless you have some axe to grind. It’s certainly old enough, considering all the changes in NYC. Thanks ephemeral. I love this site.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Thank you Ruth! I agree, it’s vintage. Easily 1970s, as the comment below points out.

  2. Alexei Says:

    The Pepsi sign appears to be from at least as far back as the 1970s.

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