Posts Tagged ‘Vintage store 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.

Signsuticaaveelectronics

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.

Signscontinentalshoerepairs

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.

Signsashlandpharmacy

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.

Signscitywatermeterrepaircoinc

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.

Signsluvnovenpizza

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

Vintage signs from 1960s and 1970s New York

October 5, 2015

They’re an endangered species, these 1960s and 1970s store signs, with their old-school cursive lettering and often sporting a kaleidoscope of colors.

Murraysturgeonsign

The sign for Murray’s Sturgeon Shop is a gorgeous example.

Short, sweet, and stylized, the sign looks very 1960s, though Murray’s has been in the smoked fish business on Broadway and 89th Street since 1946.

Stanleyhardwaresign

The Weinstein & Holtzman Hardware sign bursts with magnificent color on Park Row near City Hall. They’ve been selling paint and tools sine 1920.

Hardware stores all over New York have some wonderful vintage signs.

I can’t find any information on when Truemart Discount Fabrics, on Seventh Avenue and 25th Street, opened.

Truemartfabricssign

But that old-school sign! It’s a relic of lower Seventh Avenue’s low-rent past, influenced by the Fashion Institute of Technology across the street.

Anthonywinessign

The sign for Anthony Liquors, Inc. on Spring Street in Nolita isn’t splashy, but the typeface is unique. I wonder if other store signs in what once was Little Italy had the same type.

Johnsshoerepairsign

I’ve always liked the sturdy, simple sign for John’s Shoe Repair on Irving Place, and the confident line underscoring the name John, done in script.

I hope they can keep going in a city that doesn’t have much use for neighborhood shoe repair places.

The mystery name behind the Starbucks sign

July 6, 2015

BroadstreetsThe Starbucks Coffee at 334 Fifth Avenue, at 33rd Street, bit the dust earlier this year, reportedly a victim of the city’s insane commercial rents.

Now that the familiar green logo has been removed from the facade, the ghostly imprint of an older sign has come back into view.

Broadstreet’s, the faded outline reads on both sides of the corner storefront. But what was Broadstreet’s? It’s a mystery that needs solving.

Broadstreetscloseup

A men’s clothing store chain called Broadstreet’s apparently existed in New York on Fifth Avenue from the 1940s to the 1960s, but this typeface doesn’t look like it goes back that far.

In any case, welcome back to Fifth Avenue, Broadstreet’s, albeit temporarily until a new retailer covers you up again.

Here’s another New York retail relic from the 1960s finally revealed when another Starbucks on Lexington Avenue closed up shop earlier this year.

Ghost signs hanging over storefronts in Manhattan

August 18, 2014

New York is filled with ghost signs for store that have long departed an address. Yet the new shop owners never remove the old signage, giving the old businesses a phantom presence on city streets.

Ghostsignliquorsavenuea

The liquors sign above is at Avenue A and 14th Street. As you can see, there’s no corresponding liquor store, just a nail salon and a karaoke bar.

Ghostsignpizza18thstreet

When this pizza joint on West 18th Street pulled up stakes, the Persian restaurant that moved in didn’t mind the green Pizza Paradise awning. Maybe the Ps made it close enough?

Ghostsignsuperbuyfirstave

Superbuy was one of the names of an old-school pharmacy that once existed on lower First Avenue across from Stuyvesant Town. The store is gone, but the orange sign remains.

Ghostsignjewelry14thstreet

I’m not even sure which of these signs is actually the ghost sign and which represents the business currently occupying this space on West 14th Street!

Manhattan store signs that explode with color

September 12, 2013

Blue, green, red, yellow, pink—a walk down an old-school city street bathes you in bursting color and light. It makes New York feel magical.

Venierossign

Just looking at the Veniero’s Pasticceria sign (119 years on East 11th Street!) kicks in a cannoli craving.

Pasticceria is a beautiful, lyrical word, no?

Russanddaughterssign

Russ & Daughters Appetizers, on East Houston, is a feast for the eyes inside as well.

This slightly derelict clothing-store sign on Orchard Street doesn’t pop with color, but the light blue and red on the left are the kinds of 1960s kitschy hues you rarely see anymore.

Highstyleshirtsign

The High Style Shirt Company is long-gone; an art gallery moved into the space and uncovered the vintage signage. Luckily they kept it up!

Cloverdelicatessensign

The Clover Delicatessen glows in emerald and pink on Second Avenue at 34th Street. It’s been around since the 1940s.

A cool old laundromat sign on Ninth Avenue

August 22, 2013

Walking around Chelsea is a little like stepping into a way-back machine these days.

Recently, some vintage signs near Eighth Avenue have returned into view, serving as unexpected glimpses of this once not-so-hot neighborhood’s small-business past.

Cleanerssignninthave

Now another emerges: the worn signage from a laundromat and dry cleaning shop on Ninth Avenue and 22nd Street.

Any guesses on how old these letters are? I detect a 1970s vibe.

Thanks to JS for sending ENY the pic!

A Turtle Bay lamp store sign reemerges again

June 13, 2013

For 35 years, Louis Mattia operated an antique lamp and chandelier shop at 980 Second Avenue in the east 50s.

Louismattasign

He closed his store in 1995, and this wonderful old sign (PL for Plaza!) would come in and out of view, as each subsequent store that replaced it went out of business.

Now that a frame shop here has recently gone under, the ghostly old-school sign stands once again. I wonder how long it lasts before it’s covered up.

The last authentic Meatpacking District signs?

April 24, 2013

Could these really be the final remnants of the meat purveying industry that existed for decades at the splintered ends of far West 14th Street?

Supercitymeatsign

Super City Wholesale Meats decamped in December 2012 after occupying this spot on West 13th Street since 1979, the Sawkill Lumber Company tells us.

The sign remains, lending authenticity to retailers looking to move into the newly rebranded construction site 837 Washington Street.

Manhattanmotelsupplycosign

Manhattan Hotel Supply Company was (is?) at 447 West 13th Street “for 4 Generations.”

They were among the “160 thriving meat-related businesses operating between 18th and Bank Streets,” in 1974, this illuminating 1997 New York cover story on the beginnings of Meatpacking gentrification explains.

Take a look at the article—a lot has changed in 16 years.

Vintage store signs of a vanishing Italian enclave

March 2, 2013

Like its counterparts in the South Village, Carroll Gardens, and the North Bronx, the long-established Italian neighborhood in East Williamsburg, with its old-school shops and storefronts, is shrinking.

Eastwburgsignsporkstore

So before Graham Avenue (renamed “Via Vespucci” after the Italian explorer) is swarmed by wine bars and doggy day care centers, take a moment to appreciate the iconic signs stretching from Ainslie Street to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Eastwburgsignscafecapri

Looking at the Emily’s Pork Store sign makes me hungry. I wish I’d stopped in for some fresh mozzarella. And Caffe Capri! I love the mermaid crest on the left. This is what the sign looks like without the last bit cut off (it reads pastry, expresso, cappuccino).

Eastwburgsignseconowash

Grande Monuments is a wonderful sign on its own. But there’s a bonus on the side of the building: another sign with the old two-letter phone exchange.

Eastwburgsignsmonuments

The ST is probably an abbreviation for nearby Stagg Street.

Eastwburgsignsmonumentsphone

The vintage store signs of the far East Side

January 18, 2012

Some of those Manhattan neighborhoods lining the East River—Turtle Bay, Kips Bay, East Midtown—are kind of in a store sign time warp.

Seems like First, Second, and Third Avenues have more old-school signage than trendier blocks closer to Midtown or in other areas.

This is far from a complaint though. Seeing a decent number of vintage signs still hanging on is so charming, like this one with “Corby” in 1960s-style cursive. It’s on First Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets.

The Sutton Place Frame Shop is another example, on First Avenue and 55th Street. It’s such a posh name for a no-frills kind of establishment.

Farther south on Second Avenue and 34th Street is Kips Bay Optical, with this lovely sign laid it on script as well.