Posts Tagged ‘faded ads in New York City’

A Harlem faded ad keeps 1970s radio alive

May 23, 2013

The 1970s Top-40 music scene lives on thanks to this almost perfectly preserved ad, on the side of a building at 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.


I’m guessing it went up in the disco era, when radios all across the metro area were set to 77 AM, then a hugely popular station.

WABC is all talk today—it’s been that way since 1982.

Ghostly outlines of long-gone New York buildings

March 19, 2012

New York is a city of layers. Not just the layers below us—the subway tunnels, sewers, and landfill containing trash-turned-artifacts going back 400 years.

The city also has layers on its sides: the rarely visible faded outlines of older buildings that were torn or fell down.

Catching sight of them is like getting a secret glimpse into the city’s past. New development obscures them fast.

One of my favorites is this pattern of what looks like a Federal-style roof on West 15th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues (left).

Whatever it was—a 19th century single-family home? A stable?—sat between a townhouse and a tenement until it was bulldozed.

This one on Sixth Avenue and 26th Street below doesn’t look so remarkable . . . but the three chimney outlines and what looks like a roof access area are so well preserved. What was it?

The ghostliest of all is this perfect pattern of a Federal-style house—chimney, roof, and dormer windows all clear—on Hudson and Dominick Streets in Tribeca.

Luckily its twin still stands, letting us know what a little 19th century gem of a home was lost.

Deciphering some extremely faded ads downtown

September 28, 2010

I’ve probably walked down 11th Street in the East Village a million times without seeing this ad for Knickerbocker Boarding on a parking garage.

This goes back to when horses were New York’s main mode of transportation.

Over on the West Side is this one for Umberto Brothers Storage. Looks like it says “record storage.” Records like LPs, or where school files and government documents go to die?

“Upholstery” says this supremely faded ad on a 14th Street building, visible from Sixth Avenue and 13th Street.

The rest is too faded to make out. Once upon a time, there must have been an upholsterer on the block.

Ghostly faded ads of old city businesses

July 23, 2010

On 18th Street overlooking Broadway is this ad for A. Steinhardt & Brother, an importing company once located in the Union Square building were Petco is today.

Goodall Rubber, as seen in this Tribeca sign, also had a New York office. But the real find is the older, more weathered ad behind it.

You can just make out “manufacturer of handkerchiefs” at the bottom.

Ghostly faded signs of the West Side

August 11, 2009

Maybe these businesses advertised on the side of a building in the West 30s are still around, but I can’t find a record on any of them.

I’m glad the ad is still holding on against the elements. It’s a ghostly glimpse into New York’s business past.


Most of these firms are related to the printing business: photo engineering, paper suppliers, etc. Yet strangely, tucked in the middle is an ad for the U.S. Navy publicity bureau. 

Some very faded vintage advertisements

August 3, 2009

These three white-on-red brick ads are especially tough to decipher because one, if not all, of the words have fallen victim to the elements.

This one is in East Harlem on a building at Second Avenue and 109th Street. Hartketcher? Hoffketcher’s? It’s a total mystery.


At least the “Tea Co.” part is legible in this Tribeca ad. But whose company was it? The small type on the right looks like it could say “in Holland.”

 Tribeca (the name wasn’t coined until the 1970s) used to be the center of dry goods distribution in New York City.


Could the bank name in this ad be the Corn Exchange Bank Trust Company? Founded in New York City, it dates back to 1852. In 1954 it merged with Chemical Bank, and eventually the Corn part was jettisoned.


Faded ads for old-time food products

January 13, 2009

There used to be a big sign on the Coney Island Boardwalk for Hygrade brand hot dogs, which sound very 1960s school lunch-ish (and not particularly appetizing). This sign, in remarkably good condition, is on Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street in a little park called Sir Winston Churchill Square.










Uneeda Biscuits were actually crackers introduced in 1898 by the new Nabisco company. Other Uneeda Biscuit ads survive on city buildings; this one can be found in downtown Brooklyn near the Manhattan Bridge.