Posts Tagged ‘store signs Lower East Side’

The sign behind the sign at a Grand Street store

September 10, 2018

I’m not sure exactly when 229 Grand Street was built in the late 19th century. But as far as Lower East Side walk-ups go, it’s a cut above its neighbors.

That’s mainly because of the Gothic-inspired upper windows and the decorative accents on the ground-floor storefront.

And the checkerboard pattern at the entrance to the building—another wonderful old-school touch.

M. Kessler Hardware has occupied 229 Grand Street for decades. (It’s never open when I walk by late in the evening, but I assume it still operates.)

The shop has been there for so long, you can even see the Kessler name in flaked, faded paint on the window behind the more prominent hand-painted “M. Kessler Hardware” sign.

But look closely on the glass above the entrance door at the left. It looks like another layer of faded paint spells out “jeweler.”

Did Kessler share the space with a jeweler or jewelry store—or did a jeweler set up shop here between Elizabeth Street and the Bowery before Kessler Hardware came along?

A clue emerges in the New York Times archive. A January 1927 story describes the trial of a man accused of a “gem holdup” at a pawnshop at 229 Grand Street; $47,000 in jewelry was stolen at gunpoint from the Schwartz Brothers pawnbrokers.

With a haul like that, it sounds like this pawnshop had an extensive jewelry collection and may have advertised that on the store window.

[Top photo: Streeteasy]

Once-hidden store signs from an older New York

February 20, 2013

Peel back a store sign in the modern city, and it’s possible that a sign behind it, from a rougher, earlier New York, will reveal itself.

Sneakerjeanssign

That’s what happened on Delancey and Essex Streets recently.

The glossy billboard advertising this sneaker and jeans store vanished (removed by the owners, or blown off by recent storms?) and a much older version reappeared—with a very sweet clock to boot!

Grandstreetdelisign

An even cooler glimpse of a different Manhattan can be seen behind the green awning for this deli on Grand and Lewis Streets.

Take a peek underneath, and the old-school sign for a corner magazine and card store (with an ice cream fountain!) makes an appearance.