A 1940s handbag store sign comes back into view

There’s a handsome building on Lexington Avenue at 73rd Street built in the late 1890s with a ground floor now hidden behind scaffolding.

That’s bad news for the retailers trying to attract street traffic along this slender retail stretch of Lenox Hill.

But it’s good news to fans of old New York store signs, which often reemerge from behind newer signage during construction.

That’s the case with the shop on this corner, which sold handbags—or as the sign painted on the window says, “ladies hand made bags.”

“Custom made,” another painted window sign tells us, hard to see behind the building’s decorative storefront.

How far back does this long-gone bag store date to? Here it is in a 1940 tax photo from the online gallery of the New York City Municipal Archives.

It’s not the best image, but you can make out the same signage that’s at this corner store today, spotted by Ephemeral reader Robert C. Thanks for sending it in!

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9 Responses to “A 1940s handbag store sign comes back into view”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    I think it is so cool. Bravo New York and whoever landmarks these things! If the store were smart; they would embrace and highlight this exceptional thing!

  2. Jeff S Says:

    That’s actually a lovely old building with a lot of character, which for years has had some almost surreal Ironwork around the quirky old stores that fronted it. The entire building seems to be undergoing massive “renovation” and I really hope it’ll emerge unscathed.

  3. Marilyn Says:

    Slove signs from the oast.

  4. Janice Stearns Says:

    I do hope all that beautiful ironwork is preserved!!

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I agree! And the ironwork in front of the building is quirky for sure. This is a building that seems to have been partly remodeled or updated at some point, a palimpsest.

  6. Ricky Says:

    I am certainly getting a vocabulary eduction today thanks to ENY. The today’s first entry and now this one have caused me to look up two new words: trottoir and palimpsest. Thank you ENY, you improve my education in so many ways!

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      That’s what I’m here for Ricky. Now can you use both words in one sentence? I challenge you.

    • Ricky Says:

      One day as I was walking along a New York trottoir when from out of a window above me flew a sheet of paper. I picked it up to discovered was a poem with all sorts of notations, where lines and words had been crossed out and new lines and words had been added. Ah, I thought, a palimpsest.

      Okay not one sentence but still…

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