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Free Book Friday: Fading Ads of New York City – History Press

Free Book Friday: Fading Ads of New York City

Free Book Friday: Fading Ads of New York City

Celebrate Friday! …with our “Free Book Friday” giveaway, of course. To win today’s critically acclaimed giveaway, comment at the end of this post by Sunday, April 22 (at 12 AM EST) and we’ll enter your name into a random drawing on Monday morning.

Today’s featured book, Fading Ads of New York City, comes from Frank Jump, whose name is synonymous with chronicling New York’s urban development, decline and renewal.

As a prolific blogger and well-known New York City writer, Jump’s work has commanded the attention of the New York TimesLeonard Lopate Show (WNYC)Wall Street JournalNew York Post and numerous other publications.

From its iconic skyline to its side alleys, New York City is perpetually being built on the debris of the past. But a movement to preserve the city’s vanishing landscapes has emerged. For nearly twenty years, Jump has been documenting the fading ads that are visible, but less often seen, all over New York. Disappearing from the sides of buildings or hidden by new construction, these signs are remnants of lost eras of New York’s life, according to Jump:

“Images in this book provide a visual archeology that reminds us of a bygone era in advertising and illustrates the past lifestyles, commercial tastes and social trends of New York City [...] the images provide a priceless historical context.”

SoHo Coca-Cola—Grand Street facing West Broadway, New York City. Taken September 1998. Ad circa 1910.

Rosario Dawson and her Uncle Frank. Courtesy of Stayclose.org

These massive vintage mural advertisements were hand-painted on brick buildings throughout all five boroughs, touting all-purpose medicines, horseshoeing services, cigars and more in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In a city changed by endless development, the iconic ads helped shape an unforgettable urban landscape for New Yorkers who gazed up at them from the streets.  The ads, preserved through Jump’s evocative photography,  uniquely provide a window into New York’s past.

Jump, who has been living with AIDS since 1986, draws thoughtful comparisons between the fading ads and his own life while offering a meditation on how both have refused to succumb to the pressures of time.

Radway’s Ready Relief—Delancey Street, New York City. Ad circa 1890s.

Complete with an introduction by world-renowned visual anthropologist Andrew Irving, Fading Ads pays tribute to the colossal graphic landmarks as part of an ongoing effort to foster interest towards their significance.

As always, we leave you with an excerpt and a question for thought: when you see fading historical landmarks, do you believe they should be preserved or allowed to age naturally? We’ll see you on Monday and good luck!

Meet the author at VAVA VOOM: A Night of Cabaret!

Monday May 14, 2012 • 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Free Book Friday: Fading Ads of New York City.

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