Sunday, May 31, 2015

1940 Plymouth P-10.

Al, a retired NY Police detective told us that he has 5 vintage New York City police cars, but this is by far his favorite. The color is original. He said, it was a nightmare to get parts for it, and after he purchased it he had to have both the engine rebuilt as well as the transmission. He told us that this 2-seater car was unusual because "Since it has no back seat, it could not transport any prisoners. They would have to call the paddy wagon if they caught somebody. It was either that, or throw them in the trunk."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Under the 6 line in the ‪#‎Bronx‬ selling shaved ice. ‬

This nice man from Ecuador told us that when he arrived in the United States, one of the first things he did was arrange to have his family ship this ‪#‎vintage‬ shaved ice machine. It is over 100-years old and is made of cast iron and decorated with hand-painted angel fish and geese. He stores the blocks of ‪#‎ice‬ in a sealed compartment under the cart. ‪#‎shavedice‬ #ice ‪#‎Ecuador

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

El Barrio Bakery in #Harlem

El Barrio Bakery in #Harlem is no longer in business. This #bakery specialized in traditional Spanish cakes and pastries and also served #coffee and sandwiches. We loved their #handpainted #sign in both #Spanish and English and the amazingly decorated varieties of party #cake in the window.
East Harlem where this bakery was located had a huge Jewish and Italian population in the early 1900s. Puerto Ricans began moving to the area beginning in the 1920s and by the 1950s due to severe overcrowding in the neighborhood, Italians moved out and Puerto Ricans became the dominant group. The #neighborhood soon became known as Spanish Harlem or "El Barrio". Photo is from 2001 and appears in our book "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York". #storefront #disappearingfaceofnewyork #food #script #typography #type #bread #cookies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

M. Futterman Corp. in #Harlem has been in business for 110 years. I

M. Futterman Corp. in #Harlem has been in business for 110 years. It is a wholesale #candy, #tobacco, and paper goods family business, now being run by the third-generation owner, Bruce Futtterman. Bruce told us that the #handpainted #sign is from 1950 and that, "Most of our clients are bodega owners and movie theaters who buy in bulk."
We of course loved their signage with its "Optimo" #cigars signature #font. Photo is from 2007 and appears in our book, "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York" along with a full interview with Mr. Futterman. #storefront #disappearingfaceofnewyork #typography #gum #chocolate #food #cigarette #cigar #typevstime

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Eyasses aka #baby Red-tailed #Hawks at around 3 weeks of age in their #nest on the Ageloff Towers building on Avenue A in the #Eastvillage.

Although a departure from our usual #storefront related posts, we couldn't resist sharing this photo of the nestlings with their huge legs and talons and puff-ball like bodies. They are still way too young to fly as the legs and talons grow first. #redtailedhawks are #raptors and one of the largest #birds in North America with females having a wingspan of 44.9-52.4 inches (114-133cm). They have a raspy scream and even these babies were making little noises as they pecked at the newly dropped off "meal" which in #nyc generally consists of rats, pigeons or squirrels.
Red-tailed Hawks typically put their nests in the crowns of tall trees where they have a commanding view of their surroundings but in this case a rather narrow air conditioner perched on the ledge of a 12-story building was used. This pair of adults had a nest constructed of dry sticks and filled with bark strips and vegetation on a much larger air conditioner on Avenue B adjacent to Tompkins Square Park last year. We are a little concerned that there is not much room in the nest once the hawks get larger but we have to trust that the parents knew what they were doing when choosing this spot. #birdsofprey #birdlovers #trb_creature_feature #trailblazers_urbex #trb_perspective #instagramNYC #birdsofinstagram #insta_america my.3rd.eye, folllo0werrrs, rosiedreadful and 65 others like this.

AND... Hudson with Gem Spa's kitty Candy. East Village, NYC. ‪#‎savenyc‬‪#‎magazines‬ ‪#‎eggcream‬ ‪#‎gemspa‬ ‪#‎eastvillage‬

Friday, May 22, 2015

Physical Graffitea, and Store Front Walking Tour Info:

 Physical Graffitea, a cafe in the East Village specializing in organic and fair-trade teas, is located on St. Mark's Place on the ground floor of the historic "Physical Graffiti" buildings that were featured on the iconic cover of the Led Zeppelin album of the same name. "Physical Graffiti" was released on February 24, 1975 and was the sixth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin and went platinum sixteen times. To celebrate the album's 40th anniversary this year, the album was reissued and newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page. The award-winning ‪#‎album‬ cover design featured two tenement buildings which were constructed in 1890. The fourth-floors were removed on the cover art to make them fit the square shape of the album, and the windows of the buildings were cut out to reveal the letters of the album title printed on the inner sleeve.

We will be leading  a special 2-hour Store Front walking tour of the East Village and Lower East Side on Sunday, June 7th at 12pm sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society of New York. @mas_nyc The cost is $20/$15 Members We will visit some of the remarkable ‪#‎momandpop‬ ‪#‎storefronts‬ documented in our book "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York" and "New York Nights" and remember those that have disappeared. We will stop in many culinary specialty stores and sample ‪#‎food‬. Tickets can be purchased online at or call (212) 935-2075 Monday-Friday 9-5. Meeting location is provided after tickets are purchased. Tour will proceed rain or shine. ‪#‎ledzeppelin‬ ‪#‎tea‬ ‪#‎eastvillage‬ ‪#‎mas_nyc‬ ‪#‎savenyc‬ ‪#‎masnyc‬

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Final night for "Late Show with David Letterman"

After a 22-year run at the Ed Sullivan Theater the #Lateshow ends tonight. The #theater was built by Arthur Hammerstein and opened its doors on November 30, 1927. After the depression devastated Broadway, CBS converted the theater into a #television studio in 1935. It broadcast The #Beatles first U.S. performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on February 9, 1964. On December 10, 1967 the studio was renamed The Ed Sullivan Theater in honor of the 20th anniversary of the #show. Photo and full text about the theater appear in our book "New York Nights".
#davidletterman #signgeeks #neongeeks #marquee #typography #font #fontastic

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We are extremely honored to receive The Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation​ 2015 Regina Kellerman Award!

We are extremely honored to receive The Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation 2015 Regina Kellerman Award! Thank you to the selection committee and all involved in this great organization. GVSHP will present its 25th Annual Village Awards this year at their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 in recognition of those people, places, and organizations which make a significant contribution to the quality of life in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo.

Regina Kellerman was the first executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and a founder of the organization. She later served as a Trustee and then as a member of the Preservation Committee and Board of Advisors. Her research for “The Architecture of the Greenwich Village Waterfront” formed the groundwork for the later designation of several historic districts in Greenwich Village, including the Greenwich Village Historic District Extension and the Weehawken Street Historic District. She served on the GVSHP’s Preservation Committee until her death in May of 2008.

The award ceremony is free and open to the public. RSVP: Call (212)475-9585 ext.35 or email

Pearl Diner is located on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. It has been opened since the 1950s.

Pearl Diner is located on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan. It has been opened since the 1950s but was forced to close in 2012 after it was flooded by Superstorm Sandy. Luckily they were able to reopen and relight their #vintage #neonsign. Yesterday, we posted a close-up of the #neon and although not all of the #letters were lit like this photo taken in 2010, it still looked amazing. We particularly love that this #diner is a low one-story building nestled next to huge skyscrapers. You don't see too many low buildings in Manhattan anymore. We also love that this diner has the classic booth seating and serves all of the standard classics.
Photo and full interview with the head cook Loreto appear in our book "New York Nights". Loreto told us that the busiest time is during #breakfast and #lunch because they cater to the financial crowd who work in the nearby offices. We have been there in the evening when it was less crowded and also over the weekend. #storefront #food #hamburger #fries #pancakes #signgeeks #neongeeks #americana #insta_america_americana

Monday, May 18, 2015

We will be part of a panel discussion after this Wednesday's performance of FOREVER at the New York Theatre Workshop at 83 East 4th Street New York, NY 10003 at 7PM

May 20: Panel discussion with photographers James and Karla Murray and Cynthia Copeland, Adjunct Professor at NYU's School of Education, moderated by NYTW Director of Education Alexander Santiago-Jirau

About FOREVER: Long-time New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman, Monster, The Gimmick) returns to the Workshop with an uplifting semi-autobiographical exploration of the family we are born into and the family we choose. Forever draws from Orlandersmith's own pilgrimage to the famed Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris - the final resting place of legendary artists such as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. At the graveside of these timeless artists, Orlandersmith finds unexpected grace in a gripping tale of the legacy a daughter inherits from her mother Forever was originally commissioned and produced by Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director.

Pearl Diner in lower Manhattan has been in business since the 1950s.

Pearl Diner in lower Manhattan has been in business since the 1950s. This gorgeous overhanging #neonsign is original and still manages to look great even when all of the #letters are not lit. The menu is typical #diner fare, including #burgers, #milkshake and #pancakes but they also serve #Greek specialties as the owner is Greek. The diner is highly unusual in that it is located in its own single story building amidst the huge #skyscrapers of the financial district. We love their #food and their 50s style booths. We are also happy that they reopened as their business sustained a great deal of damage from flooding due to Superstorm Sandy a few years back. #neon #vintage #neongeeks #signgeeks #americana #trb_ipoft_signs #gas_food_lodging #ipulledoverforthis #insta_america_americana

Sunday, May 17, 2015

OddFellows Ice Cream in the East Village

OddFellows Ice Cream in the East Village offers 8 flavors of #homemade ice cream and sorbet as well as floats and #milkshakes. This space is tiny but the colorful #storefront captured our eye. All of the #icecream is made using locally sourced dairy in their flagship Williamsburg location and brought over to this #eastvillage shop. The flavors are inventive and rotated on a regular basis.  We were intrigued by the Ants on a Log Sorbet and will have to go back and try it. They also make their own waffle cones fresh every day. One of the owners even invented the great hashtag #errbodylovesicecream which just about sums it up for us on this hot and humid day in #nyc.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Guitarist and singer BB King passed away last night at the age of 89.

BB King was known as the "King of Blues". He was inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Until recently, King performed in at least 100 concerts a year, fusing together both jazz and blues on his beloved guitar, a Gibson ES-355 he lovingly called "Lucille".
The BB King Blues Club & Grill, which we photographed earlier this year, was opened in 2000, and is one of NYC's premier Live Music Venues & Supper clubs. BB Kings has hosted, some of the greatest legends in music, including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Alicia Keys, The Allman Brothers, Gipsy Kings, ZZ Top, & Jay Z. #bbking #kingofblues #blues #music #guitar #timessquare #nyc

Thursday, May 14, 2015

DeMartino Sea Food in Hell's Kitchen was founded in 1919.

DeMartino Sea Food in Hell's Kitchen was founded in 1919. It was run by the third-generation owner Joseph DeMartino until it's recent closure. Joseph told us that he used to purchase all of his ‪#‎fish‬ fresh from the Fulton Fish Market in the seaport downtown but in more recent years went early every morning to the ‪#‎market‬ in the Bronx. He also told us that his most popular sellers were the farm-raised ‪#‎salmon‬ and flounder. We loved this ‪#‎vintage‬ ‪#‎sign‬ with the ‪#‎blue‬ fish. ‪#‎storefront‬ ‪#‎Disappearingfaceofnewyork‬ ‪#‎signgeeks‬ ‪#‎signspotting‬ ‪#‎typography‬ ‪#‎WHPmydailyroute‬ ‪#‎igersnyc‬ ‪#‎food‬ ‪#‎trb_ipoft_signs‬ ‪#‎gas_food_lodging

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries in Greenwich Village was established in 1838.

C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries is the oldest apothecary in the United States. Mark Twain had his prescriptions filled at Bigelow as well as Eleanor Roosevelt. The third-generation owner Ian Ginsberg even showed us Mark Twain's purchase receipts for medicine which are kept in a scrapbook. Ian also told us that, "Many of the items we sell today were formulated in the 1800s, including our signature cold creams, body creams, and salves." The complete ‪#‎storefront‬ and interview with Ian appear in our book "New York Nights". ‪#‎neongeeks‬ ‪#‎signgeeks‬ ‪#‎sign‬ ‪#‎neon‬ ‪#‎trb_ipoft_signs‬ ‪#‎americana‬

Monday, May 11, 2015

1960 Ford Thunderbird, Alligator Alley, FL ‬

T-Bird fanatics original condemned the "4 Seat Bird" saying it was not a sports car, and hated the back seat. Today the first four-seat Thunderbird is considered a masterpiece of design. It is now judged as one of the outstanding American automotive achievements of that decade. ‪#‎tbird‬ ‪#‎thunderbird‬ ‪#‎classiccar‬ ‪#‎vintageauto‬ ‪#‎vintage‬ ‪#‎retro

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Astoria Flower Mart in Astoria has been in business since 1955. It has been owned and operated by the same family since 1970.
Mother's Day is one of the single-most popular holidays for buying flowers, accounting for 25% of floral purchases made for holidays. Nearly 31% of adults bought fresh ‪#‎flowers‬ or ‪#‎plants‬ as gifts for Mother's Day in 2014. According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, two-thirds of those celebrating Mother’s Day will buy ‪#‎mom‬ flowers, spending a total of $2.3 billion in 2015. ‪#‎storefront‬ ‪#‎disappearingfaceofnewyork‬ ‪#‎mothersday‬

Friday, May 8, 2015

Courtland Ave. Food in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx

Courtland Ave. Food in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx is a typical New York-style #bodega. Bodega is the Spanish word for "warehouse" and is generally used to describe a small store selling a wide variety of items including soda, #beer, #cigarettes, cold cuts, packaged food, #candy and flowers. We loved that this bodega had the typical yellow awning and metal #sign with #handpainted letters advertising the goods that are sold inside.
Years ago, there were hundreds of these specific-style bodegas all around the five boroughs but in the face of modernization, they are slowly disappearing and often replaced by a more modern #storefront with plastic signs and awnings. This particular bodega is located diagonally across the street from the Bronx Documentary Center @bronxdocumentarycenter which has wonderful photography exhibits. #disappearingfaceofnewyork #everydaybronx #food #eyesonthebronx #theBronx #typography #typevstime

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Davey's Ice Cream, East Village NYC

Davey's Ice Cream @daveysicecream in the East Village was founded by David Yoo who makes all of the homemade ice cream by scratch on site using his own recipes. There are both classic flavors including ‪#‎Mexican‬ Vanilla and ‪#‎Chocolate‬ Chocolate as well as seasonal specials. Davey's ‪#‎Cookies‬ & Cream uses real Oreo cookies and his Strong Coffee ‪#‎icecream‬ uses Birch ‪#‎coffee‬ as an ingredient.
He also collaborates with local businesses including our favorite Moishe's Bake Shop to produce an Ultra Babka flavor ice cream featuring chocolate and ‪#‎cinnamon‬ babka bread made by Moishe's. We love the colorful ‪#‎sign‬ outside as well as the classic decor inside the shop. Now that the weather has turned warmer we imagine that the lines for their ice cream will be long!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

La Sirena is a Mexican folk art store in the East Village. "La Sirena" or "The Mermaid" is filled with unique arts and crafts from the many regions of Mexico, may of which are bought directly from the artists themselves by the store owner, Dina Leor. It is a small store but packed full of handmade crafts , jewelry, religious art and even Mexican pro wrestling ‪luchas‬ head masks.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Thanks to Municipal Art Society of New York ( MAS) and everyone who attended our JANE'S WALK Store Front Walking Tour!

It was a beautiful day and a huge turn out! We had a great time meeting and greeting and talking STORE FRONTS! ‪#‎JanesWalkNYC‬ ‪#‎masnyc‬ ‪#‎savenyc‬

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Katinka, East Village NYC.

Jazz musician Billy Lyles and his wife, designer Jane Williams, founded this store in 1979. They sell Indian clothing, shoes and accessories in this tiny space along with original designs by Jane. ‪#‎storefront‬ ‪#‎eastvillage‬ ‪#‎billylyles‬ ‪#‎saveNYC‬

Saturday, May 2, 2015

We will be leading a special FREE Store Front:The Disappearing Face of New York 1 hour walking tour of the East Village TOMORROW, Sunday, May 3rd at 1pm for Jane's Walk.

Jane's Walk is a global "movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs." The New York City walks are sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society and are free of charge to everyone.

We will be visiting the locations of many small mom-and-pop storefronts as well as remembering ones that have disappeared. We will be discussing the fact that many of these small businesses are closing in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity and that the unique appearance of this vibrant neighborhood suffers in the process.

Our starting point will be in front of St. Mark's Church in the Bowery at 131 East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue at 1 pm. For more information about our tour visit #JaneswalkNYC #saveNYC

Friday, May 1, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day Tomorrow! Mercer Street Books, Greenwich Village, NYC

Mercer Street Books has been in business in Greenwich Village for 30 years. They sell used, out-of-print and even some new books as well as a selection of LPs. We love their piles of books inside and the small rack outside of used books.
We encourage everyone to visit their local independent bookstore tomorrow, Saturday May 2nd in celebration of "Independent Bookstore Day". More than 400 independent bookstores across the U.S. will participate in the inaugural national celebration inspired by last year's California Bookstore Day. In addition to hosting parties, author appearances and events, many booksellers will have exclusive merchandise created for the occasion. #savenyc #bookstoreday #books #storefront #bookstoredaynyc