Posts Tagged ‘vintage New York City signs’

Vintage signs from a rough around the edges city

May 30, 2016

Some of these 1970s and 1980s–era signs are losing the battle with the elements, like this hand-painted original for Utica Avenue Electronics (VCRs!) in Crown Heights.


Others advertise small businesses in a contemporary city that can be cruel to struggling mom and pop shops.

Perhaps that’s why Continental Shoe Repairs on Broadway and Barclay Street is no longer open.


The sign for Ashland Pharmacy, in Fort Greene, notes that they accept the union plan.

Which union plan? In an older New York, when health insurance wasn’t quite so complicated, the distinction may not have mattered.


City Water Meter Repair Co., Inc. is the only water meter repair shop I’ve ever seen.

Based on the condition of the sign (N.Y. City!), it looks like they’ve been around since the East Village’s heyday as a slumlord neighborhood.


You have to love Fort Grene’s Luv-n-Oven Pizza: the rhyming name, the old-school white, green, and red sign, the fact that gyros and hamburgers are on the menu.


A classic greasy New York corner pizza place that is making me hungry just looking at it.

The most frequently seen sign in New York?

August 10, 2011

Are warnings against loitering the most commonly found (and most likely ignored) signs posted in front of New York City stoops and doorways?

They might be, and they certainly appear to qualify as the most commonly spotted vintage signs, as these examples attest. All over the city, you’re told not to loiter via warn out and antiquated lettering.

The one above is attached to the front of what’s now called Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School at 120 46th Street.

From the 1940s to the 1980s, it was the High School of Performing Arts. The sign looks circa 1955.

Some of the best No Loitering signs further define loitering: parking your butt on the stoop, as this Harlem sign above spells out.

Notice how “menus” has been added to the list of no-nos? That must have happened in the 1980s, when New York was suddenly buried in a blizzard of takeout menus.

The first and last signs really mean business: they hope to keep people moving along by threatening arrest.

I wonder how long this weathered aluminum sign has stood out on an East Village building—and how many people cops arrested for violating the law.

Old phone exchanges spotted in Crown Heights

January 23, 2011

Ephemeral reader Sheena passed along these photos she recently took of two old-school signs featuring pre-1960s two-letter phone exchanges. Both come from Crown Heights.

The DE in this F. Goldsmith & Sons sign could stand for Dewey or Defender. What those two words have to do with Brooklyn, I have no idea.

NI is for Nightingale—and Michael Cerverizzo & Sons is still in business on Flatlands Avenue.

Vintage New York house numbers

November 30, 2009

These 19th century–looking numbers and letters on random buildings give the city such an old-timey vibe. A terra cotta relief on East Ninth Street marks a particularly lovely apartment building:

No. 1 Sylvan Terrace, in Harlem, has a very colonial feel:

This walkup on Weekhawken Street is especially sweet; the entire street name is painted above the door: