Posts Tagged ‘East Harlem’

Manhole covers that have something to say

April 7, 2010

You walk and ride over them constantly—but have you ever stopped to read the inscriptions on city manhole covers? Some are pretty unique.

Like this one that reads “Croton Aqueduct DPT 1862.” It’s in Jefferson Park on First Avenue and 112th Street and refers to the engineering marvel that brought fresh water from upstate to Manhattan.

The water was stored in a massive reservoir at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, where the New York Public Library is today.

This next cover is a bit of a mystery. It seems to read “Sewer B of B” for borough of Brooklyn or borough of the Bronx. Except I found it in Harlem near 125th Street.

Another personalized manhole cover is in West Chelsea, marking the lovely General Theological Seminary on Tenth Avenue.

East Harlem’s faded Bloomingdale’s ad

March 29, 2010

Lexington Avenue at East 116th Street is a crowded shopping corner of mom and pop and local chain shops—and the site of a weathered old advertisement for Bloomingdale’s flagship store 56 blocks south.

The vintage typeface looks nothing like the one Bloomingdale’s uses on their ads today. Does anyone know when it might date to?

Two of the nicest street names in New York City

July 11, 2009

Bliss Street has a sweet ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s the original, early 20th century moniker of what was later renamed 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens.

BlissstreesignBliss Street is probably associated with Neziah Bliss, a ship builder and real estate bigwig back when this part of Queens was farmland dotted with little villages.

In the mid-1800s, he founded a blink-and-you’ll miss-it industrial neighborhood bordering Long Island City called Blissville. The name barely survives today.

In 1982, Sunnyside residents decided they wanted Bliss Street added back to the map. It’s also the name of the nearby 7 train stop, 46th Street–Bliss Street.

Pleasant Avenue is, yep, pretty pleasant. This six-block stretch east of First Avenue between 114th and 120th Street was once the center of Italian-American East Harlem.

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It still has a rep for being a mob stronghold; Tony Salerno ran the Genovese crime family from here. And Italian restaurant Rao’s is tucked into a corner storefront at the south end of the street.

On warm weekends, a nearby playground is always flooded with little kids having a good time.

The sunny side of East 110th Street

June 3, 2009

When you see letters carved into the top of a tenement building, they usually spell out the name of the guy who developed or owned it. Or it’ll just give the year the building was completed.

But then there’s Sunny Side, spotted on a tenement the south side of 110th Street around Second Avenue:

Sunnysidebuilding2

I guess the owner wanted to do whatever he could to make his apartments seem more desirable than the tenements across the street?

Vintage store signs, Harlem edition

May 12, 2009

El Coqui is a tiny tree frog native to Puerto Rico—and the name of a restaurant on First Avenue near 110th Street:

Elcoquisign

Lenox Lounge, with its lovely Art Deco sign, has been at its Lenox Avenue address since 1939:

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Pizza Del Barrio and Carousel Ice Cream are East Harlem ghost signs. They remain, but both shops have been long replaced by other businesses:

Pizzadelbarriosign