Posts Tagged ‘Chinatown store signs’

Ghost signs lurking along the Lower East Side

November 21, 2016

Urban explorers get giddy when they come across ghost signs: faded ads and store signage for businesses that have long since departed their original location.

lesghostsigns

The Lower East Side is full of these phantoms, thanks to changes in the neighborhood that have displaced longtime retailers and services—like the expansion of Chinatown and the hipsterization of downtown Manhattan.

Turn the corner at Allen and Grand Streets, and you’ll see one ghost sign: a two-story vintage ad on the side of a tenement, with a wonderful arrow pointing toward a nonexistent entrance. What happened to Martin Albert Decorators? They moved to East 19th Street, then to 39th Street.

lesghostsignslaundryallenstreet

At the start of the Great Depression, close to 3,550 Chinese Laundries operated in New York City, reported one source.  This laundry at 123 Allen Street was one of them.

Nice that the bar which took over this lower-level space kept the weathered old Chinese Laundry sign.

lesghostsignssportswear

There must be hundreds of massage businesses in the area right now. Lurking beneath this back and foot rub sign is the word “sportswear,” a remnant of the Lower East Side’s past as a center for clothing, fabric, and linen shops.

lesghostsignstowelshg

This ghost sign at 302-306 Grand Street lies hidden under a newer awning. H & G Cohen sold towels and shams, the sign tells us . . . but no digitized trace of the business could be found.

New York’s kitschy and colorful store signs

March 9, 2011

Dating from roughly the 1960s to the 1980s, these eye-catching relics of another New York don’t take themselves too seriously.

I’ve never been to the Bridgeview Diner, near the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Bay Ridge, but I like the image of the tipped-forward cocktail glass so much, I wouldn’t mind having a drink there.

A Hello Kitty and a Smurf on one sign? It’s a 1980s kid’s dream place to shop. I didn’t even know they still made Smurfs, but I guess this Chinatown store stocks them.

Ephemeral reader Sheena snapped this one on Schenectady Avenue. I imagine rows of bee-hive hair dryers inside.

Love the crown image with the building number inside.