Monday, March 20, 2023

Wallet Card miscellaneous megapost

Here is a variety of other wallet card photos I've taken recently. A few are still from my little jaunt around the city in August, others are from more recent work-related trips. Since the pandemic I've been working from home and also changed jobs; when I come into the office (rarely) it's to Hoboken, NJ, a short train ride from NYC, and I try to take a wallet-card photo or two before or after work, as well as arrange a street trade when I can. (Sorry, to those of you who want to know more about me, I don't share much about my personal life here, or elsewhere. Hopefully that little bit is enough.)

There is still so much history poking it's way through, usually in the form of old signs, that I still greatly enjoy documenting.

The Scribner publishing house had their headquarters and printing press at this location until 1955. The building with the larger SCRIBNER sign was recently bought and will soon be torn down and replaced by a fancy high-rise.

I love spotting old Pepsi signs in the wild. This one popped up recently at a garage on West 52nd Street. Almost certainly a reproduction, but I appreciate it.
Kern Meat still exists but no longer has a location on West 38th Street where this large sign is still visible.
New York Savings Bank was bought by Buffalo Savings Bank in 1981 and closed in 1987. This location on Eighth Avenue is now a CVS.
Don't know much about "Stop & Look". Sign was recently revealed during construction. 14th Street.
Emigrant Savings Bank still exists, but it has not been at this location at Chambers Street, across from City Hall, since 1969. The building was bought by New York City in 1964 with plans to turn it into a civic center. That never happened and the building was vacant for decades before being converted to condominiums in 2017.
Craig's Shoes was one of the last remaining stores in the old "shoe district" in now-fashionable Tribeca. Craig's moved from this location in 1981 and closed for good in 2006. Barely visible next to Craig's is Mark's Aquarium, a briefly-run business raided by the ASPCA in 1989.
Bernard Semel, on Worth Street. Was an important textile dealer in mid-century US. Converted to apartments in 1979.
Rocco Restaurant was in business on Thompson Street from 1922 to 2012. The new restaurant has sort-of preserved the great old neon sign.
Thomson Water Meter had a factory at this Brooklyn location from the 1890s to 1909. These were the first mass-produced, affordable water meters. The location has since been home to a variety of other businesses, including many decades as an Eskimo Pie factory. The building's owners have been careful to preserve and occasionally repaint the Thomson sign.
Robert Gair invented the modern cardboard box in 1864. His company had several buildings in Brooklyn, before moving upstate in 1926.
The Paragon Oil brand still exists, though it was sold to Texaco in the 1950s. This was there headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.There is a great film of NYC in 1968 that really fueled my initial interest in old NYC signs. There is a large painted Paragon sign at 7:15.
More signage on the other side of the building.
Decades ago, many of the streets in Astoria, Queens changed names, including 2nd Avenue becoming 31st Street. This building-mounted enamel sign still stands, though.
The Yippies (Youth International Party) were a major part of the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s. Their newspaper, the Yipster Times, was published from 1972 to 1978. A faint sign for the newspaper can still be seen in the East Village.
Also in the East Village, signs for a decades-old children's clothing store preserved by the current tenant, the 2A Bar.
Another shopping district replaced by expensive housing was the furniture district on Avenue A. Benson Furniture seems to have closed in the 1980s.
The Provident Loan Society of New York left this Avenue A location (across from the Benson sign) decades ago. It has served a variety of purposes since (including a studio for Jasper Johns in the 1970s). It is currently undergoing renovations.
Ben Freedman has been operating at this space on Orchard Street since 1927. Though still an existing business, the sign for "Ben Freedman, Gents Furnishings" has to be many decades old.
Though not necessarily one of the oldest NYC painted signs (there is a reference to videos), the S. Beckenstein Fabrics sign is still a classic. The company still exists but moved from this location in 2003.
This Wholesale Grocers sign on Ludlow Street must be over 100 years old. The last grocer at this location, Bernstein & Wolfson, sold the building to a candy company in 1919.

I've posted other photos of Bowery Savings Bank before, but this was the ban's headquarters, on (where else?) the Bowery.
Another Bowery location nearby, in Chinatown, on Canal Street.
I couldn't find any information about "Benny M.G.", but it's always nice to see old terrazzo flooring still in existence. Also Chinatown.

Old shoe store sign. Canal Street.

The Harlem Savings Bank was founded in 1863. It changed it's name to Apple Bank in 1983. This location on Broadway in Washington Heights has both bank names on it.
A Rayco auto parts dealer was at this site in Morningside Heights from 1964 to 1993. Unfortunately the large Rayco sign was recently defaced by vandals, though a couple of interesting smaller signs are still visible.
Mr. Pupi Fashion Boutique operated in Washington Heights at some point in the 1980s.
First National City Bank changed it's name to Citibank in the 1970s. I've had a couple other First National City sightings over the years. This building on Canal Street and Broadway has been derelict for many years.
French Garment Cleaners was a laundry service in Brooklyn for decades. The location later became a fashionable clothing boutique that kept the old name and sign. The boutique closed in 2016, and another boutique called Cliq has recently opened at the site. Fortunately, the great old French sign still stands.
Old furniture store sign still hanging in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
I've posted Bickford's locations before. This one is in Flatbush, Brooklyn. This is very similar to the one near Penn Station that I posted back in 2015. Sadly, that one was recently torn down.
Lincoln Savings Bank was acquired by Chase in 1993. Nice 1970s or 1980s painted sign still holding on strong in Flatbush.
Beverly? Old sign visible in Flatbush.
Gaines Motors opened an Oldsmobile dealership in Flatbush in 1947, hanging this beautiful neon sign with a small clock at the bottom. The dealership went out of business in the late 1970s, but the sign still hangs today.


  1. So much great signage here - from the names carved into buildings to the ones painted on. It really shows that even in an ever-changing, ever-growing city like NYC, buildings and their signs were built to last back then. (Guess they weren't anticipating so much turnover in location or corporate ownership.)

    The CVS is such an awkward fit in that old bank building. Far too grand for a pharmacy, lol. Looks like the activist spirit lives on at the old Yipster Times site.

  2. What a cool post. I absolutely love that sign on the Rocco Restaurant but the old and faded signs are super neat. Kind of makes me want to explore my town some, although it's super small.

  3. I'm not much for cities, but I love old buildings that have the water tower on top. In my world, we'd tear down ugly high rises (which would be all of them) and bring back more reasonably sized buildings with water towers on top.