Posts Tagged ‘old New York signs’

This is the coolest coffee sign in New York City

April 14, 2017

In a city with almost as many coffee places as bank branches and most of them bearing chain store logos, it’s hard to believe that this wonderfully generic plastic sign hasn’t been replaced . . . or fallen off.

It’s on West 21st Street west of Fifth Avenue, advertising a slender coffee house that consists of basically a long counter and chairs—the kind a different New York used to have on almost every block.

Except for the ATM machine by the door, nothing about this storefront seems to have changed in half a century; it’s a sliver of the city frozen in time.

A 19th century hotel sign comes back into view

May 25, 2013

A few days ago, workers renovating the exterior of a corner building at Eighth Avenue and 25th Street uncovered a relic of old New York.

Utahhousesign

It’s the faint letters spelling out an old sign for Utah House, a hotel that existed as early as the 1850s and served as a meeting place for political conventions and trade groups.

But Utah House’s most dramatic moment came during the Orange Riots of 1871.

On July 12, crowds of Irish Catholics clashed with a group of Irish Protestants (“Orangemen”), who were marching down Eighth Avenue on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, which established Protestant rule in Ireland in 1690.

Utahhouse1871riot

More than 60 people died. Spectators watched the carnage from the hotel’s front steps.

“The Utah House, on the north-east corner of Eighth-Avenue and Twenty-fifth-street, is among the buildings which bear conspicuous evidence of having been chipped by the musket balls,” wrote The New York Times on July 13 in a chronicle of the violence.

[Thanks to the Ephemeral readers who tipped me off about the sign and Joe R. for the link to the illustration]

Cross street carvings on Bleecker Street buildings

October 8, 2012

Bleecker Street west of Sixth Avenue has gone upscale over the past decade.

But I wonder how many of the boutique shoppers and cupcake eaters who now crowd this meandering old road notice the old street signage carved into building corners.

This one is on the southeast corner at West 10th Street, above a designer jeans store housed in a classic city six-story tenement.

Across the street is another low-rise brick apartment building. The carving appears on the corner, above Village Apothecary. Is street abbreviated “str”?

You really have to squint to see this next one, two corners away on Perry Street. It’s showing its age on a five-story walkup.

More old phone exchanges hiding in plain sight

December 15, 2011

This chain link fence sign was spotted near Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. The NI exchange is for a Brooklyn name: Nightingale.

MU is Murray Hill—which makes sense, since this plaque was found laying low on the side of a building in the East 40s.

There’s more than one in Manhattan; the Abramson Brothers have quite a hand in the real estate world.