Posts Tagged ‘ghost signs New York City’

Ghost signs of New York’s small business past

December 24, 2018

All the turnover lately among the small shops of New York City has one upside: Store signs from decades ago that had been long buried come back into view—like these two signs spotted by Ephemeral New York readers.

The first is at 7105 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst. Up until recently, it was covered by a sign containing Chinese letters, a reflection of the influx of Chinese immigrants in this corner of Brooklyn.

But when that sign came down, this understated one for Charlie & Brothers Fish Market emerged. The building dates back to the 1930s, and the sign looks like it could be that old too.

Apparently the store had been a fish market until the 1990s under a different name, Mola. Who was Charlie?

Just as mysterious is this sign on Seventh Avenue and 56th Street, for an establishment called Wilson’s.

The small store is surrounded by the usual Midtown jumble of tourist spots, cafes, and electronics shops. The entire building has construction scaffolding around it, so it probably won’t be with us much longer. What remains of Wilson’s is destined to be bulldozed with the larger building it’s part of.

[Thanks to Eric V. and Amy S. for these photos!]

Faded restaurant ads on Manhattan buildings

August 2, 2012

“Lunch Soda Lounge” reads this ghostly old signage on 35th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

I imagine the place had a long, skinny luncheonette counter and metal swiveling seats.

Beef? Beer? I’m not sure what the vertical word is under this coffee shop ad on East 23rd Street, nor do I have any idea when it dates to.

“Coffee Shop” itself is a lost term. It’s too anonymous, not descriptive and unique enough for today’s specialty coffee culture.

A ghostly subway sign for St. Vincent’s Hospital

December 7, 2011

It’s still a shock to see the dark, empty buildings clustered around West 12th Street and Seventh Avenue, home to St. Vincent’s until 2010.

This old sign, near a 13th Street exit at the Seventh Avenue and 14th Street station, is pulling a much slower fade.

It goes all the way to when St. Vincent’s was merely a hospital, not a medical center . . . .