Posts Tagged ‘Random signage’

More cross streets carved into buildings

May 25, 2010

These often faded and forgotten street signs are always fun to come across, especially when the lettering is offbeat—like here at Third Avenue and 61st Street.

This one at Boerum Place and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn looks rather new actually.

The cross streets aren’t carved in here at Smith and Douglass Streets, but they sure seem to have been there a long time.

Kitschy yellow store signs of the 1970s

March 5, 2010

Yellow with black, yellow with red, yellow with blue—there’s just something about yellow that screams New York City in the 1970s.

I almost picture Walter Matthau walking out of one of these stores.

The American Stamp Manufacturing Company is downtown on Fulton Street.

I love the simplicity of the Swan Piano Co. sign, on Greenpoint Avenue in Queens.

Who doesn’t love a shoetrician? Also Fulton Street (you can go across the street and browse rubber stamps while u wait for your repairs).

Old signs that feature old phone exchanges

July 20, 2009

Sutton Clock Shop, on Lexington and 61st Street, has been around for more than 60 years. Why install a more modern sign that features the numerical phone number when this old-school sign is so charming?

PL stood for Plaza, perhaps the Plaza Hotel on 59th and Fifth.


This hand-painted Michael Rizzo & Son sign points to a basement office on a brownstone on West 12th Street in the West Village. Wonder how they ended up with an OR exchange—for Orchard Street?


Store signs that point the way

April 29, 2009

An arrow directing passersby to exactly where to enter a store or business is always a nice touch on a sign, especially if it’s got colorful light bulbs illuminating the way.

The C.O. Bigelow sign, on Sixth Avenue in the Village, is a perfect example:


Hot sandwich. Cold beer. Enter here. This one is on First Avenue in the 100s:


Would the patrons of this Harlem bathhouse not know where to go without the arrow pointing the way? And is a men-only bathhouse legal?


Player pianos for sale in Hell’s Kitchen

November 27, 2008

On Tenth Avenue and 52nd Street stands a lovely red brick tenement building with some ghostly signage. “Factory & Warerooms” reads the banner lettering across the facade between the second and third floors.


Then, on the lower left, “Player Pianos.” This building was the home of the Becker Bros. piano factory, founded by Jacob Becker. On, it explains that Becker pianos were “of great merit in which the skill and experience of the makers are clearly evinced.”


The player pianos were also rated pretty highly. “The Becker Bros. player piano is equally meritorious and noted for its simplicity of construction and ease of operation,” the guide says.

The evolution of the New York City street sign

October 15, 2008

There’s not much to admire about today’s city street sign; it does its job—namely, letting you know where you are—without much artistry or design.

But judging by some late-1800s photos, street signs used to be more ornate and had a few Victorian touches, as this 14th Street and Fifth Avenue picture reveals:

By the early 1900s, it looks like the Victorian flourishes have disappeared, at least on this sign on Fifth Avenue and 45th Street:

In the 1960s and 1970s, street signs were downgraded to simple rectangles on an unadorned post painted dark yellow. Occasionally you can still find one that hasn’t been replaced by the more contemporary brown or green sign.

This one at Union Square still stands; somehow it escaped the Department of Transportation sign-changing squad:

Sometimes street signs contain spelling errors, like this one here. It was fixed a few days after the misspelled sign was put up last April, but jeez, Mercer is not a hard one to get right!

Please do not urinate on Weehawken Street

August 20, 2008

The residents of this quaint West Village lane, which unfortunately provides a quick cut-through for drunks and hookers going from Christopher Street to West 10th, couldn’t be nicer about it. First they make the historical case, pointing out that the block is the smallest in the borough:

Then they hope to appeal to your desire to be a good neighbor:

Finally, the gloves are off. They’re mad, and who can blame them? Weehawken Street really does smell like pee.

For a little history on this itty-bitty block, check out this earlier post.

Signs that have seen better days

July 21, 2008

They’ve weathered the elements year in and year out, dutifully attracting customers while snazzy new signs go up all around them. Let’s celebrate some of New York’s peeling, fading, rusting mid-century store emblems.

Maurice Stewart is on Fulton Street in Brooklyn:

Phil’s Stationery offers “Zerox” copies in Midtown:

Sunset Park’s Good Foo. There’s something poetic about this one: