Ghost signs

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A Favorite Ghost Sign Quietly Vanishes in the East Village

Before. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Lanza’s Italian restaurant opened in 1904 at 168 First Ave., an East Village favorite until it closed in 2016. A regular customer, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, was Carmine “Lilo” Galante, boss of the Bonanno crime family. Lanza’s had a reputation as a mob hangout since the Bonanno and Columbo families dined there.

For perhaps the entire life of Lanza’s, all its customers passed under a turn of the century ad for PN Corsets. The sign was there in 1993 when Woody Allen used Lanza’s for a restaurant scene in Manhattan Murder Mystery. In 2015 we featured the PN ad, painted on the adjoining building, in a collection of neighborhood ghost signs.

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For the Record, J&R Music World Is Not Actually Back in the Needles Business

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Last week was Record Store Day. This week is record store back in the day. This ghost sign was recently revealed during the demolition of the J&R Music World strip of stores on Park Row. The pitch for “tapes” probably dates the sign to the mid-sixties but vinyl was still king as “needles” takes the top rung. The word “stereo” is obscured above the cool music notes.

Click here for more ghost sings around town.

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More Great Ghost Signs of the East Village and LES

All photos: Frank Mastropolo.

With the rapid pace of development in the Lower East Side and East Village, it’s remarkable that so many ghost signs – ads that have long outlived their businesses – have survived. As you’ll see, sometimes progress can also reveal long-hidden signs. In January we brought you our Top 10 favorite ghost signs but there are too many good ones left to stop now. Click through the slideshow that follows to see our picks, then leave your own in the comments.

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Top 10 Ghost Signs of the East Village and LES

Photo:

(Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

Though many lament the frenzy of change in New York’s oldest neighborhoods, there are still remnants of the past to see if you’d look up from your smartphone. Ghost signs, advertising signage that has survived long after a business has gone bust, are still around… but are disappearing fast.

Click through the slideshow to see our favorites, then leave your own in the comments.
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