Readers of this site know that street signs are a favorite here, especially the old-fashioned kind carved into a building’s facade—like the one below at Sixth Avenue and 24th Street.
Doesn’t the lettering transport you to an entirely different New York? In fancy type it tells us that we’re at The Corner.
“Built in 1879, it was called ‘The Corner’ and was the beer hall annex to Koster & Bial’s Vaudeville Theater/Concert Hall, where Victor Herbert conducted his 40-piece orchestra,” explains a 1995 New York Times piece.
At the time, this was the center of an area called the Tenderloin (also referred to illustriously as Satan’s Circus), the late 19th century sin district filled with dance halls, gambling dens, and brothels.
This corner sign for 102nd Street and Broadway is also wonderfully decorative. I’m not sure when it went up, but it looks very turn of the 20th century. (Thanks to Ephemeral reader IA for pointing it out.)
This one on Doyers Street in Chinatown might be the oldest actual Manhattan street sign—meaning a sign affixed to a pole or side of a building, rather than a plaque or engraving.
Grimy and hard to read after decades stuck to this building, it harkens back to a more down and dirty Chinatown of tong wars, when Doyers Street went by the infamous nickname the Bloody Angle.