Saturday, February 28, 2015

Red Shouldered Hawk, Everglades

These forest hawks hunt prey ranging from mice to frogs and snakes.

Jolson's Wines & Liquors, Astoria, Queens.

Jolson's has been in business since 1935. It is one of the oldest continuously operating liquor stores in Queens. The owner told us that the neon sign is original as well as the windowed facade and "lobby" area.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Esposito Pork Shop, Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

Esposito's is a third-generation family business that has been open in Hell's Kitchen since 1932. Giovanni Esposito founded the pork store after arriving to NYC from Naples, Italy. The shop is known for their homemade Italian sausages and quality meat, poultry and game.
Photo and full interview appear in our book "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York".

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Subway Inn, Manhattan NYC

Subway Inn on the Upper East Side was in business for more than 77 years before it was forced to close in December 2014 after its lease was not renewed. One of its most famous customers was Marilyn Monroe, who filmed the "Seven Year Itch" nearby and dropped in for drinks. Arsemio Salinas, who has owned the dive bar since 2007, after working as a porter, bartender and manager for the original owner, will be relocating the bar less than 2 blocks away at Second Avenue and 60th Street and will be re-installing their iconic neon sign, the original bar and stools and even the bar booths. (Photo and full interview from our book New York Nights.) ‪

We are honored to be part of this show:

Achim Gauger (Vienna) –
Steven Spiegel (Los Angeles) – Geöffnet /

Opening Hours 26.2.-7.3.2015, 15:00-19:00
Vernissage / Opening Reception 25.2.2015, 19:00-22:00
Eröffnung durch / Opening Speech Mag. Peter Stuiber, Wien Museum
WEST 46 Projektraum für Fotografie Westbahnstraße 46 1070 Wien

"The disappearance of much-loved inscriptions is not a local problem restricted to Vienna. It is to be found everywhere. That´s why we bring signs of different cities face to face. In this exhibition Achim Gauger and Steve Spiegel show signs, which should not disappear or which have shortly vanished from the cityscape. Inscriptions which belong to the faces of Vienna and Los Angeles. To faces, which are entirely different in the way they point to shops, pubs and motels and put them in perspective. They are supported by 25 selected "Sign Geeks" from the USA, Canada and Australia, which might hint at the variety that still exists."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tad's Steaks, Times Square, NYC R.I.P.

Tad's Steaks in Times Square is no longer in business. It was founded by Donald Townsend in 1957 on the theory that a T-bone steak, baked potato, garlic bread and a tossed salad could be profitably sold for $1.09. Coined by Townsend as a "steak show," for a tenth of the price of a fancy steak dinner at a sit-down restaurant, customers could watch their steaks being cooked with flames leaping up right near the front window. Photo & text from our book New York Nights.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Marie's Crisis Cafe, Greenwich Village, NYC.

Marie's Crisis Cafe dates back to the 1850s, when it operated as a prostitutes' den. It became a bar by the 1890s and even remained open during Prohibition when it was known just as "Marie's". The "Crisis" was added to the name from the "Crisis Papers" by Thomas Paine who died in the building. It now operates primarily as a piano bar where patrons can sing Broadway show tunes along with the piano player.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Everglades Wildlife. Temperature 88F.

Everglades National Park is a U.S. National Park in Florida that protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. In the United States, it is the largest tropical wilderness, the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River, and is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. Currently covering 1,506,539 acres the Everglades has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.

Roseate Spoonbill. An uncommon wading bird of the southern coasts which uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. A major period of decline for the spoonbill occurred in the early 1800s when the wings of this beautiful creature were made into fans.

American Alligator alongside a freshwater slough. Freshwater sloughs are perhaps the most common ecosystem associated with Everglades National Park. These drainage channels are characterized by low-lying areas covered in fresh water, flowing at an almost imperceptible 100 feet per day.. Sawgrass growing to a length of 6 feet (1.8 m) or more, and broad-leafed marsh plants, are so prominent in this region that they gave the Everglades its nickname "River of Grass". Alligators thrive in freshwater sloughs.

Red Shouldered Hawk. In Florida, the red-shouldered hawk is perhaps the most commonly seen and heard raptor species. Like almost all raptors, the red-shouldered hawk is monogamous and territorial. While courting or defending territories, the distinctive, screaming kee-aah call (usually repeated three to four times) of this bird is heard.

Peninsular Cooter. Over a dozen species of turtle are known to live in the Everglades as well as tortoises and terrapins.

North American Osprey. The Osprey is a large raptor, reaching as much as 2 feet in length with a 6-foot wingspan. Raptors hunt for food primarily on the wing by using their keen senses, especially vision, and kill prey with their talons. Ospreys have evolved specialized physical characteristics and behavior to assist in hunting and catching prey.  The Osprey is the only raptor whose outer toe is reversible, allowing it to grasp its prey with two toes in front and two behind.

Wood Stork. As of June 26, 2014 the Wood Stork is classified as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. It is the only stork that presently breeds in North America. The adult is a large bird which stands 33–45 in. tall and has a 55–71 in. wing span.

Eastern Great Egret in breeding plumage. Measuring 33–41in. in length, the eastern great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage. Its bill is yellow in the breeding season and black at other times, and its long legs are red or black. The breeding plumage is also marked by long neck plumes and a green facial area.

Purple Gallinule. A beautifully colored bird of southern and tropical wetlands, the Purple Gallinule can be seen walking on top of floating vegetation or clambering through dense shrubs. Its extremely long toes help it walk on lily pads without sinking.

1964 Ford Thunderbird

For 1964 the Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off, "formal" look. The car also had the unique Swing-Away Steering Wheel. Swing-Away used a special steering column that was movable to the right about 10.5 inches to allow for easier entry and exit for the driver, especially with a purse, briefcase, or packages. Despite its popularity on the Thunderbird, this did not carry over to the other Fords, and cars with this option are somewhat rare.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Claudio's Barber Shop, East Harlem.

Claudio's Barbershop has been in business in East Harlem since 1950. Claudio, who comes from a family of barbers in Italy, began cutting hair when he was only 14 years old. When he immigrated to Harlem from Italy, the neighborhood had such a large Italian population east of Lexington Avenue that it became known as "Italian Harlem". Over the years, Claudio learned to speak Spanish, as the neighborhood changed demographics. He still charges only $10 for a haircut.

Friday, February 20, 2015

La Parisienne Restaurant, NYC R.I.P.

This was a second-generation family run restaurant which opened in 1950. The neon signage according to the owner was installed in 1964 when the restaurant was renamed. The owner told us that famous patrons over the years included Peter Falk who filmed "Colombo" around the block as well as Bernadette Peters who performed on Broadway nearby. Bob Dylan also dined at the restaurant and had a cheeseburger deluxe. Full interview and photo appears in our book "New York Nights".

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Florida Everglades Wildlife

Air temperature: 57F. Cold for many of the species.

Purple Gallinule. This is a brightly colored marsh bird that is about the size of a chicken. It has blue and green feathers, long yellow legs, very long toes and a red bill with a yellow tip. Because of their light weight and large feet, these gentle birds can often be seen walking across lilly pads.

American Alligator. Only one seen today. Feeding activity is governed by water temperature, and foraging ceases if the temperature drops below 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Great Blue Heron. This is the largest of the North American herons, averaging anywhere from 36-55 inches in height.

Double-Crested Cormorant. In the shallow waters of the Everglades, it’s easy to observe cormorants fishing as they dive under the water and pop back up a short time later. The birds bask in the sun with wings spread after coming out of the water. This allows them to dry off and regulate their body temperature.

"Brown  Palm  Warbler" or "Western Palm Warbler".  The bird has much less yellow than it's near twin the "Yellow Palm Warbler" or "Eastern Palm Warbler" with less colorful streaking, and cold grayish-brown upper parts. These birds migrate to the southeastern United States, the Yucatán Peninsula, islands of the Caribbean, and eastern Nicaragua south to Panama to winter. They are one of the earlier migrants to return to their breeding grounds in the spring, often completing their migration almost two months before most other warblers.

The Little Green Heron. This heron is known to be a shy bird, keeping out of human sight whenever possible. It favors both grassy edges of lakes as well as the swampy areas. It typically measures only 17-inches.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Vagabond Motel, Miami.

The motel was designed by prominent architect Robert Swartburg and initially opened as a motel and restaurant/lounge in 1953. It quickly gained a reputation as a fabled hangout for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the rest of the Rat Pack.

Monday, February 16, 2015

We are very happy to be included in this show...

Waverly Restaurant, Greenwich Village, NYC

Waverly Restaurant was founded in 1979 by Nick Serafis and is now being run by second-generation family members. This photo taken after a recent renovation which expanded the restaurant and renovated the exterior facade was taken at an angle to show all sides of the Waverly as well as all of its neon including the overhanging sign. The neon on the front was replaced during the renovation as the original said "Steaks, Chops and Seafood" instead of "Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner". Photo from our book "New York Nights".

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lucky Boy Motel, Hollywood Florida

The Motel was built in 1951. Its neon sign doesn't blink anymore due to the fact that most Florida cities in the 1970s and 1980s outlawed signs with movement because it was thought that they could distract motorists.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dublin House, Manhattan.

DUBLIN HOUSE BAR is a family-owned Irish pub, which has been in business since 1921. It was founded by John Carway, an Irish immigrant from Dublin, who rented the space during Prohibition.

 "The huge overhanging neon sign we have outside was installed in 1933 right after it “officially” opened. It was designed by E.G. Clarke and is quite unique in that it is not only in the shape of a double-sided green harp but has the words tap room in red flashing on and off."
Gerrand Daly, bartender ‪

(From our book NEW YORK NIGHTS)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York Municipal Art Society of New York Walking Tour of the East Village and Lower East Side

Date: Sunday, March 15
Time:11:00 AM
Cost: $20 / $15 Members 

Notes: Please purchase tickets online or call (212) 935-2075, Monday-Friday 9-5.
Meeting locations are provided after tickets are purchased.
All tours proceed rain or shine. No refunds or exchanges.
For the latest transit info, please check and

The traditional storefront in New York City that has prevailed in some cases for over a century is facing several new setbacks. These family-run businesses started out as traditional mom-and-pop stores passed down from generation to generation, and there was a time when they defined our neighborhoods. Many were humble stores tucked away on narrow side streets, while others had become well-known institutions on historic avenues. Each store turned out to be as unique as their customers, run by owners with a commitment to tradition and special service. Not only are these modest small businesses falling away in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity, the once unique appearance and character of our colorful streets suffers in the process. A diverse mix of Jewish, Italian, Irish, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Chinese and Hispanic mom and pop storefronts will be visited including many culinary specialty stores. Join guides and MAS Summit speakers James & Karla Murray, the photographers and authors of "STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York and New York Nights," as they visit some of the remarkable East Village and Lower East Side storefronts documented in their books, and remember those which have disappeared. Unique 19th and 20th century retail graphics and neon signage as well as architectural adornments will be discussed.

The GVSHP's photo set of our talk on 12.2.14 at the Sixth Street Community Center in the East Village

"Here's a look back at photos from a program we did in December - James & Karla Murray's superb photo images of Greenwich Village and East Village storefronts. Their books are awesome!" 
Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation.
Full photo set:

Support GVSHP here:

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Yorker Hotel, Miami.

The hotel is located in Miami's Modern Architectural District (MiMo) was originally a motel from the 1950s. It has been owned and renovated by husband and wife Walter and Shirley who did most if the work themselves. Shirley's father who immigrated to Miami from Cuba after the revolution purchased the motel in 1980 from the original owners. The original motel was designed in 1953 by Norman Giller who was famous for his profound influence on the Post World War II modern architectural movement in Miami known as "Miami Modern". The neon signage is original.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Live Bait, Flatiron District, NYC.

This restaurant and bar located directly across the street from Madison Square Park has been in business since 1987. It has operated as a bar since the early 1940s and its neon signage is original and was installed in 1941. (From our book NEW YORK NIGHTS)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

1949 Dodge Coronet.

The Coronet was the top trim level offered, as one might expect from the name (a small crown worn by those who are not kings or queens, e.g. princes and dukes); it was nearly identical to the lesser trim Wayfarer and Meadowbrook.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kentile Floors, Brooklyn, NYC.

The Kentile Floors sign was removed from the Brooklyn skyline in 2014. It was installed in the Gowanus neighborhood in 1953 or 1954 to advertise the maker of floor tiles. The individual letters were saved and have been kept in a safe warehouse by the Gowanus Alliance until it can be restored and reinstalled in a public location determined by the Alliance.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Penguin Hotel, South Beach, Miami.

Built in 1948 and designed by Henry Hohauser, the Penguin is a shining example of the late 1940s art deco style. The Hotel features “horizontality” as a prominent element throughout the structure, with overhanging strip windows and a horizontal railing located on the front facade. The original name of the building was "The Golden Dawn Hotel" before it was changed to the Penguin Hotel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Open Pantry R.I.P. East Village, NYC.

"After 40 years of success, The Open Pantry will be closing its doors. Our family would like to thank the neighborhood and all our customers for their loyalty and continued support throughout the years." More:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Trailer Park Lounge, NYC.

Open since 2000, the lounge has a roadhouse vibe featuring vintage Americana & classic eats (burgers, tater tots, etc.).