Veniero’s has the East Village’s best neon sign

On dark, chilly fall nights, Veniero’s neon sign glows with warmth and possibilities—of cannoli, tiramisu, pignoli, or any of this pasticceria’s other heavenly cakes, cookies, and Italian pastries tempting hungry customers from the long glass counter.

The shop, on East 11th Street between Second and First Avenues, has a familiar history. In 1885, Antonio Veniero left his Southern Italy hometown and sailed to America.

After working in a candy factory for eight years, he’d saved enough money to open a social club at 342 East 11th Street—then an enclave of Italian immigrants amid a larger neighborhood of Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, and other newcomers.

“He served homemade candy and roasted espresso,” states the store’s website. “Not too long after, he started baking biscotti. In 1894, Veniero’s was born.”

The current Veniero’s sign might be the most spectacular in the East Village. It’s old-school vertical and horizontal, and it reminds passersby that the place has been serving the neighborhood for an astonishing 125 years.

I have no idea what the original Veniero’s storefront signage looked like. Yet this photo, from the NYC Department of Records and Information Services tax photo collection, offers a peek at the sign circa 1940—not quite the same, but similar enough.

[Second image: Veniero’s in 2013; third image: NYC Department of Records & Information Services]

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5 Responses to “Veniero’s has the East Village’s best neon sign”

  1. pontifikator Says:

    Oh, how I miss this place (I no longer live in NYC) and DiRoberti’s, which I understand closed.

  2. Tom B Says:

    We made the trek down there from midtown and brought back on the jet an almond torte. It was as big as a hat. Next door was a very, very small pasta & cheese store with a customer line going out to the sidewalk. Walking about we also saw De Robertis (closed now) which had a diesel fuel smell inside. It was a different world down there but we still felt safe.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Tom, you’re referring to Russo Brothers, the Italian specialty shop next door. It’s one of the best in NYC. I’ve been on that line!

  3. Larry Feinberg Says:

    From the look of the cars, I would say the third photo was taken a lot earlier than 1940. My guess would be late ’20s-early ’30s.

  4. Marco Romano Says:

    I remember being in Veniero’s in the 80’s and while we were having coffee and pastries, a waitress exploded at her boss (?) swearing like hell and quit on the spot! Everyone applauded her exit.

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