Posts Tagged ‘Mad Men’

Sad and silly carvings on a Madison Avenue facade

August 4, 2010

The AIA Guide to New York City describes 285 Madison Avenue, an office building at the corner of 40th Street built in 1926, as “an unremarkable block of brick.”

Well, except for the funny little stone figures that surround the street-level store windows. 

Dozens of them adorn the facade, such as a blind man and a boy who looks like he’s about to spit something out of his mouth.

There’s also a man holding an instrument of some kind, and a woman gazing into a mirror.

So who are they? The best answer I could find is in a 1970 New York Times article on city buildings adorned with stone ornamental carvings:

“A building for a tabloid newspaper constructed in 1925 at 285 Madison Avenue showed figures of people in the news—a boy with a beanshooter, a fisherman, a man with a bandaged face holding his aching tooth, ballplayers, prizefighters, and a sad girl with a broken doll.” 

Kitschy and colorful 1960s store signs

September 2, 2009

Vintage signs like these have such a Jetsons-era feel. They liven otherwise drab city blocks with color and fun swinging-’60s fonts.

Superior Florists are off Sixth Avenue in the ever-shrinking flower district of the upper 20s:


The Carnegie Deli sign, on Seventh Avenue in the 50s, features a similar retro cursive font and an even brighter yellow hue:


At Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside is the King Boulevard Mens Shop. (Suits for $79.99!) 


The poor Trowel & Square Ballroom, on 125th Street in Harlem, looks neglected and forlorn: 


Strange to name a ballroom after a tool used to spread dirt or cement. Does anyone know the history of this place?