Posts Tagged ‘vintage store signs NYC’

A ghostly store sign returns to view on Avenue B

March 14, 2022

Humble, homemade-looking store signs used to be more prevalent in Manhattan. Now, one of these unadorned signs—for an unbranded cosmetics and gift shop—is back in view at the tenement storefront at 205 Avenue B.

Nothing about this former store seems to exist in archives or old neighborhood photos, making the sign a ghostly remnant of a very modest-looking local business.

How far back in East Village history does this sign go? I’m not sure, but the store may have been selling makeup and gifts up until about 40 years ago. The sign reappeared sometime after Raul Candy Store closed in 2019, 38 years after setting up shop at 205 Avenue B in 1981, per EV Grieve.

h/t: Ghost Signs NYC

This Second Avenue sign is a visual time capsule

September 7, 2020

Unfortunately the sign doesn’t date to 1885. But that’s okay.

The gorgeous double-decker Block Drug Stores (is there more than one?) sign, at Second Avenue and Sixth Street, has been hanging for decades on this East Village/Little Ukraine corner—a magnificent visual time capsule from an earlier New York.

New York’s vintage drugstore signs are disappearing on us. I know the first one in this post is gone; the other two I hope still exist.


The faded, falling apart signs for city laundries

September 30, 2016

I’ve always wondered: why do so many of New York’s laundry places and dry cleaners have store signs that look like they’re about to fall apart or haven’t been freshened up since the Carter years.


This is not a criticism; I love coming across signs that have seen better days and bring us back to a different New York. But while so many other types of businesses update their signage frequently, laundry signs tend to look like forgotten relics.


The French Cleaners on Columbus Avenue is now closed. But the sign feels very space age 1960s. Same with Reliance Cleaners, on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn.


This launderers sign on Christopher Street is a favorite; it’s colorful and neat with a 1970s vibe. Grand Cleaners in East Williamsburg has the same old-school feel.


This second French Cleaners sign in Fort Greene is hard not to love. The faded blue background! That mini Eiffel Tower! I hope it lights up after dark.


A peek into the backstory of 25 Park Place

July 22, 2013

Wonderful old signage is back in view downtown at 25 Park Place, an 1856 loft building in that Tribeca-City Hall area that was the center of the city’s dry-goods district in the 19th century.


Aren’t those great rusty, weathered letters over the entrance? The Hercules Seating Company occupied the site from the 1930s at least into the early 1960s.


Like most New York City commercial buildings, 25 Park Place has cycled through lots of diverse tenants, each a reflection of the changing face of the neighborhood.

Built for a dry-goods firm called Lathrop, Ludington & Co., 25 Park Place hosted different businesses since then, among them a German book publishing company, a bank, a pool hall, a boxing gym, and a women’s clothing store, according to a 2007 Landmarks Committee Report.

Its last commercial incarnation was as an Off Track Betting Parlor, which had a sign that left the Hercules signage covered up for decades.


In the 1920s, 25 Park Place had a noteworthy tenant: the New York Daily Newsaccording to the report and the accompanying photo at left.

The neon signs that light up the New York sky

October 11, 2012

Restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, corner stores—glowing neon colors are still all over the city, giving off that enchanting glow that makes New York nights so warm and magical.

Cinema Village has been showing indie and foreign films on 12th Street and University Place since 1963 and was “built in the shell of a turn of the century fire station,” its website says.

Patsy’s opened in 1944 and has been billed as Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant. Or was that one of the other Patsy’s around Manhattan?

This is my favorite neon sign and object: the Desco Vacuum Sales and Service store at 131 West 14th Street. A technicolor beauty.

Neon signs that give New York its glow

June 30, 2011

Like faded building ads and  kitschy store signs, colorful neon bar and restaurant signs are icons of the city. The incandescent glow they give off makes nighttime New York feel warmer and more enchanting.

I don’t know how long the sign has been lighting up MacDougal Street, but Monte’s red-sauce joint has been around since 1918.

The sign is a little worn and the neon partly stripped off, but French bistro Tout Va Bien (“everything is fine”) has been going strong for three generations on West 51st Street.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner—all meals will be served at the Waverly Restaurant (minus the last two letters) at Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place.

It’s not to be confused with the ultracool Waverly Inn several blocks over on Bank Street.

Some cool vintage pizza and Italian food signs

January 5, 2011

There’s something so wonderful about seeing the word “Ravioli” in giant red letters, as it appears in this technicolor sign in Gravesend.

In the shadow of midtown skyscrapers, this vintage sign for the bland-sounding Park Italian Deli, on 45th Street, still hangs on.

The Espresso Pizza sign, in Bay Ridge, looks like it dates from the Tony Manero era.

I like the ZZ’s in Inwood’s Pizza Haven signage.