A relic of a downtown “apartment for rent” sign

In a city that practically requires renters to fork over thousands of dollars to a real estate broker just to sign an apartment lease, you don’t see too many “apartment for rent” signs nailed to building entrances.

But “to let” or “to rent” signs used to be a lot more common—like this one, which Ephemeral reader Ellen G. shared with me this week.

The sign was for sale on eBay, and the description says it’s from the 1930s.

It’s certainly pre-1960s, as it has the wonderful old two-letter telephone exchange that was replaced by digits in the 1960s. Drydock is the name of a small street in the East Village near Avenue D and 10th Street, a leftover of what was once the Drydock District. (Oddly, Drydock isn’t anywhere near One Spring Street, which is at Bowery.)

This isn’t the only Zacarro real estate relic. I’m not sure if it’s still visible, but a faded ad for P. Zaccaro’s real estate business used to be up on the side of a building on Delancey Street (above).

Who was P. Zaccaro? He was the father-in-law of former New York City congresswoman and vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

[Thank you Ellen G. for sharing this sign!]

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5 Responses to “A relic of a downtown “apartment for rent” sign”

  1. Bob Says:

    Evidently the sign dates from c. 1936-1938:

    From https://www.waltergrutchfield.net/zaccaro.htm

    “P. Zaccaro & Co. first appeared in the New York telephone directory in 1918 at 192 Bowery. In 1936 the business office moved to 1 Spring St. and in 1938 to 225 Lafayette St”

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks, Walter G. would know…love his site.

  3. Bill Wolfe Says:

    I love ghost signs. There is – or at least there used to be – an enormous ghost sign on the exterior side wall of a former downtown theater in Los Angeles announcing the stage debut of Anita Loos’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” I wish I’d taken a picture of that.

  4. Chip Says:

    Telephone Exchanges originally were two letters but as more phones were installed a digit had to be added to the letters to keep te exchanges & phone numbers manageable. The exchanges included all three characters (e.g. DEwey 6-, DEwey 3-). The above exchange is correctly DRydock 4.

  5. HopeBD Says:

    Well written and very much informative. Keep posting such good content . Thank you so much.

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