Archive for the ‘Old print ads’ Category

A punk rock shrine in the 1980s East Village

March 25, 2013

“This is where the hard-core kids come to outfit themselves,” states a 1987 New York write-up about Trash & Vaudeville, the punk rock clothing mecca launched in 1975 that’s responsible for the Ramones’ leather jackets and introducing Doc Martens to the U.S.

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Their early 1980s ads are great. This one comes from the September 1984 issue of the East Village Eye, and based on the guys’ suits, it looks like the store is trying to cater to a less hardcore crowd.

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The best-sellers today? Kid-size leather jackets and a top hat a la Slash.

A WPA poster advertising a Queens roller rink

February 16, 2013

This WPA poster, part of a collection of posters digitized by the Library of Congress, must have been created in the early 1940s.

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That’s because the New York City Building didn’t exist before the 1939 World’s Fair.

“After the World’s Fair, the building became a recreation center for the newly created Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The north side of the building, now the Queens Museum, housed a roller rink and the south side offered an ice rink,” the Queens Museum of Art website explains.

The pioneering birth control clinics of New York

February 16, 2013

BrownsvilleclinicThe first clinic got its start in October 1916. It opened in a storefront on Amboy Street in working-class Brownsville, Brooklyn (left).

Fliers attracted 100 women on opening day.

“For ten cents each woman received [a] pamphlet What Every Girl Should Know, a short lecture on the female reproductive system, and instructions on the use of various contraceptives,” states this NYU website.

amboystflyerpopThis was radical stuff a century ago. No wonder it only took days for the woman who started the clinic, social reformer and birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, to be arrested.

Sanger was charged with violating the Comstock Act. Established in 1873, it made discussing and administering birth control a crime.

Sanger spent a month in jail in Queens. But there was one upside: though an appeals court upheld her conviction, the judge determined that nothing in the Comstock Act prohibited doctors, rather than activists, from giving out contraception.

With this in mind, Sanger founded her second clinic, what she called the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, in 1923.

Staffed by MDs, the clinic disseminated information about contraception and offered birth control devices—serving more than 1,200 women in its first year, according to The Encyclopedia of New York State.

The clinic moved into this lovely circa-1846 row house at 17 West 16th Street in Chelsea in 1930.

“By the 1930s it served over 10,000 women per year and was the largest birth control clinic in the country,” the authors state.

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For decades it was the only clinic giving out birth control to unmarried women, and interestingly, it treated men too. In 1969, it opened the first outpatient vasectomy center in the country.

After 50 years and a huge change in acceptance of birth control, the clinic closed in 1973. The 16th Street house is now a private home, albiet with a plaque designating it as a national historic landmark.

An anonymous valentine sent to East 121st Street

February 13, 2013

I wonder who mailed this sweet yet message-less card to Miss Elsie Mangels, who apparently resided at 447 East 121st Street in February 1910?

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Her residence looks like it no longer exists; a housing development and some empty lots occupy that address today.

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The card comes from the New York Public Library’s digital collection—a treasure of old ephemera, including vintage Valentine cards.

What the Times Magazine ran one Sunday in 1964

February 9, 2013

The New York Times has published a Sunday magazine since 1896; it was an attempt by new owner Adolph Ochs to set the Times apart from the papers that ran Sunday comic supplements and attract more intelligent readers.

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I don’t know what the features were like back in the Gilded Age. But as this table of contents from the October 4, 1964 edition reveals, the articles and sections weren’t all that different from the stories the editors run today: rich kid/helicopter parent problems, national politics, art around the world, a little science and sports thrown into the mix, and of course, a crossword puzzle!

What a downtown or Brooklyn rental cost in 1983

January 31, 2013

A 1200 square foot Soho studio for $1350 a month?

An impossible find in 2013—but available 30 years ago (perhaps even without a fee!), according to this ad from the May 1983 issue of arts and entertainment monthly the East Village Eye.

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It’s not the only rental that sounds absurdly inexpensive to New Yorkers conditioned to pay an average of up to $3,973 a month for a Manhattan apartment these days.

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If you were willing to give “historic” South Williamsburg a try, you could score a two bedroom “modern” rental for $330 a month. Broadway and Marcy Avenue was probably a pretty rough place though.

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An East Village subhed in the three digits per month? That was the going rate for this three-room place on Second Avenue and 10th Street, according to this East Village Eye ad from September 1984.

Celebrating winter with old Brooklyn businesses

January 23, 2013

The Brooklyn Public Library has a wonderful digitized collection of late 19th century business cards from hundreds of shops and companies located in the teeming city of Brooklyn.

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They’re whimsical and imaginative—and some honor the cold weather while advertising their goods, like J.V. Dubernell, tailor.

His shop was at 331 and 333 Fulton Avenue, and his suits sound kind of expensive for the era.

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That’s some sled illustrated in this card, for this clothing store, which comes off like the L.L. Bean of the time. Check out these prices for trendy wool cloaks!

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This sweet scene advertises the business of a paint dealer. Sumpter Street is in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, quite a bit away from the other businesses, which are located closer to downtown Brooklyn in what was the fashionable shopping area of the time.

Perhaps a paint store was not welcome on refined Fulton Street?

Where “discriminating” New Yorkers used to dine

January 18, 2013

Would today’s New York foodies approve of the Skipper restaurants, a mid-century mini-chain of dining establishments centered in midtown?

Well, the food is “well-cooked” and “balanced” (nutritious and no trans fats?), and they do their own baking, which might count as local fare.

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The menu items probably wouldn’t go over well. A review in the 1949 restaurant guide Knife and Fork in New York notes the “deviled crab, southern fried chicken,” and “roast beef with Yorkshire pudding.”

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And the decor wouldn’t attract a trendy crowd. It’s described in the book as “tearoomy” in the “colonial mood, with colorful wallpapers.” The Skipper sounds like an inexpensive place to grab a bite if you’re hungry and not especially picky.

Interestingly, the chain has a “Men’s Grill” on 44th Street. I know the city had male-only bars well into the 1960s (McSorley’s wasn’t open to women until 1970!). But single-sex public restaurants in the 1940s?

Music and theater on East 10th Street in the ’80s

December 27, 2012

LimboloungeIf you found yourself looking for entertainment in the East Village 30 years ago, you might have ended up at the Limbo Lounge, described as a “gallery and performance space; serves refreshments” in this 1984 New York cover story on the newly hip Lower East Side.

This is where campy cult play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom got its start in 1984, two years before the Limbo Lounge closed.

Then there’s 350 East 10th Street, the former PS 64, decommissioned as a school and used for years as a performance space for community groups, artists, and musicians.

Rockers, rappers, breakers, and scratchers—and local punk band 3 Teens Kill 4, wonderfully named after a New York Post headline! Both ads come from the May 1983 issue of the East Village Eye.

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Holiday deals at a defunct city department store

December 19, 2012

Finlay Straus describes itself as a jeweler/optician in this Depression-era New York Daily News ad from December 19, 1934.

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But based on the merchandise they’re pushing as part of a Christmas sale (and their locations, like Fordham Road and Fulton Street), the store is more like a Macy’s or a Target—selling the “practical” gifts that make good presents for people you don’t know very well or are easy to please.

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Seventy-eight years to the day after this ad ran, some of these gifts still pass as okay, such as appliances like mixers and juicers as well as tableware.

Of course, the typewriter, radio, and cigarette case/lighter have been relegated to the dustbin of Christmas presents past.