Posts Tagged ‘Vintage store signs’

Old-school signs for old New York drugstores

August 24, 2011

Amid the Duane Reade-ization of the city, it’s nice to stumble across the kind of independent corner drugstore that was probably named after the pharmacist who originally opened it.

Enjoy their vintage signs while you can, before the pharmacies they’re affixed to morph into Walgreens or Rite-Aids.

Lascoff’s, on 82nd and Lexington, has spanned three centuries. Visit it if only to check out the old-world decor and apothecary equipment.

Isn’t Harold’s for Prescriptions a wonderful name? The store, in Gravesend, also sports a cool 1960s neon sign. This Flickr photo captured it all lit up at night.

I don’t know how long Mittman’s has been in the drug business, but judging by that very stylized sign, it seems that they survived the bad old days on Havemeyer Street and South Third in Williamsburg.

New York’s kitschy and colorful store signs

March 9, 2011

Dating from roughly the 1960s to the 1980s, these eye-catching relics of another New York don’t take themselves too seriously.

I’ve never been to the Bridgeview Diner, near the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Bay Ridge, but I like the image of the tipped-forward cocktail glass so much, I wouldn’t mind having a drink there.

A Hello Kitty and a Smurf on one sign? It’s a 1980s kid’s dream place to shop. I didn’t even know they still made Smurfs, but I guess this Chinatown store stocks them.

Ephemeral reader Sheena snapped this one on Schenectady Avenue. I imagine rows of bee-hive hair dryers inside.

Love the crown image with the building number inside.

Grand Street’s Italian food store signs

August 18, 2010

Lots of cities across the Northeast have Italian neighborhoods, but there’s something very New York about this iconic sign style.

Hmm, red and green lettering on a white backdrop. I wonder why the colors are all the same….

Cannelloni, gnocchi, tortellini, fettucine—the almost poetic names of the goods at Piemonte Ravioli.

Alleva’s ricotta and mozzarella sign is making me hungry.

Supercool store signs that time forgot

June 23, 2010

Design shifts and styles change, but these colorful mid-century signs remain the same. 

Fashions Coiffures must have done many a beehive hairdo in its day. It’s off Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.

La Delice bakes old-school pastries in Murray Hill and also has the French thing going.

Mermelstein Caterers, also in Crown Heights, has that festive wine glass looped inside the M. Clearly your kosher party headquarters.

Second Avenue’s old-school store signs

March 26, 2010

Lower Second Avenue’s East Village stretch has had a rep as an NYU-infested, bridge-and-tunnel attracting street for years now.

But some great old neighborhood shops are still around—and they sport cool old-school signage.

J. Baczynsky’s Meat Market off of Ninth Street is a reminder that the East Village once had a strong Polish presence. Where else can you get jellied pig feet?

Then a few blocks down, between sixth and seventh streets, is Moishe’s.

Block Drug Stores might be the oldest business on the block, dating to 1885. If you like your prescriptions compounded by a mortar and pestles the old-fashioned way, this is your place.

Inside is like a step back in time. The store itself appears unrenovated and mysteriously says “Second Ave Chemists Inc” in the window above the door.

Vintage store signs: faded and falling apart

December 2, 2009

Some of the letters in this Gertel’s sign don’t look like they light up, yet that’s okay. Seeing the words “bakery” and “luncheon” one on top of the other in that old-time font more than makes up for it.

Luncheon: This old-school word is disappearing fast from the New York vocabulary.

Gertel’s home had been Hester Street since 1914. They relocated near Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill in 2008, taking the iconic sign with them.

I have no idea how long G&M Variety Discounts House has been on Broadway in Washington Heights. But judging from the shape of the sign, I’d say since the 1960s.

New York’s disappearing Hallmark stores

November 18, 2009

These stationery stores, with their telltale throwback lettering, used to be in every neighborhood all over the city. In need of school supplies, Hello Kitty paraphernalia, and last-minute birthday cards? The Hallmark store was your solution.

These days, their numbers are dwindling, and the stores aren’t looking so spiffy. I guess Duane Reade and Rite-Aid have begun displacing them.

Sam’s Hallmark, above, is in East Harlem.

Serena’s continues to hang in there on East 23rd Street.

Sunnyside still has one too.

Peeling back layers of downtown store signs

September 26, 2009

When a shop goes out of business, there’s a short yet sweet window of time during which the defunct store’s sign is down . . . and the ghost sign from a long-ago shop becomes visible. For a few days to a few weeks, you get this tiny glimpse into the city’s recent past.

Like Reisman’s Ladieswear at 226 East 14th Street. Not too many signs advertise “cut rate” clothing anymore:


Lafayette French Pastry, on Bleecker Street in the West Village, looks like it was a charming place to get a chocolate eclair in the 1960s. They moved over to Greenwich Avenue and West 10th several years ago:


I wonder what Richman, at 300 Canal Street, sold:


If the sign advertised a product or service, we’ll never know; it’s hidden behind a red blotch.

Kitschy and colorful 1960s store signs

September 2, 2009

Vintage signs like these have such a Jetsons-era feel. They liven otherwise drab city blocks with color and fun swinging-’60s fonts.

Superior Florists are off Sixth Avenue in the ever-shrinking flower district of the upper 20s:


The Carnegie Deli sign, on Seventh Avenue in the 50s, features a similar retro cursive font and an even brighter yellow hue:


At Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside is the King Boulevard Mens Shop. (Suits for $79.99!) 


The poor Trowel & Square Ballroom, on 125th Street in Harlem, looks neglected and forlorn: 


Strange to name a ballroom after a tool used to spread dirt or cement. Does anyone know the history of this place?

More signs that have seen better days

June 1, 2009

Dirt, dust, missing or crooked letters—these old yet charming store signs continue to hang on and get their message across.

Heather’s Treasures (free lay-a-way!) is on East 23rd Street:


Best Housekeeping has been on Avenue A since 1924 (no idea about the age of the sign, however):


Eddie’s Wholesales has stationary goods and paper goods:


Now this sounds like a real old German beauty shop, in Yorkville, of course: