Urban Archaeology: Sign's sweet memories
With small businesses routinely closing, a curious phenomenon has emerged: The revelation of old, long-hidden storefront signs, which serve as a reminder of a time when the city was considerably more hospitable to mom and pops.
Oftentimes, what happens is a business closes, and as the current signage is stripped, an older generation sign for that shop is revealed. Or sometimes a sign for an entirely different business comes to light that has long been lost to history.
This sign, which surfaced at a shuttered shop at East 33rd Street and Madison Avenue, is a real gem, and is an indication of how unique business signs could once be. The chief name is Jeanettes Cards and Gifts, and, on the left, is a sign for Barton's Bonbonniere. Barton's, according to this site, sold kosher candies, with the first shop opening in 1940. We found this thread reminiscing of a time when Barton and Barricini candy shops were widespread. (We know of a Barricini that's still going at One Penn Plaza, at least, the name is still there.)
This candy shop sign offers an interesting visual treat. (See close-ups below.) Check out the variety in fonts; the effort that went into the individual metal letters; and the overall flair and class and thought that the sign still displays, even now in its well-worn state. Consider how today, a simple awning and some computer-generated words are usually considered sufficient. Notice, indeed, how these old signs were an art of sorts, a lost art that is increasingly being trashed every day.
Savor this sweet sign while ye may.
-- Rolando Pujol
Update: More from Vanishing New York, with news that this and other businesses here were shuttered to make way for a condo/hotel tower. And Vanishing NY notes that the reliable and tasty World of Pickles closed across the street, for what will likely be another tower. This place was a favorite stop when we worked at the nearby 2 Park.