What is it about old advertisements, sometimes called “ghost signs,” that so intrigues us? After all, they are nothing more than expired expressions of commercialism, conveying little care for art or posterity. Yet our scanning gaze will almost always get lost in their echoing calls for attention. Why?
Perhaps we see them as faded invitations to another time, asking us to imagine the everyday rhythms of life when their fresh-paint message first shouted from a brick facade. We study the typeface rarely used today, the phrasing of language that rings odd to the modern ear and, most of all, the names of companies and products once so vital and now no more.
“It’s a reminder of our own timeline and how quickly things become obsolete,” said Frank Jump, a photographer and the author of “Fading Ads of New York City,” (The History Press, 2011). “One minute people had thriving businesses building buggies, and the next minute Henry Ford is pushing out automobiles on an assembly line and nobody wants horse and buggies anymore.” – Dan Barry – READ MORE
- In Highland Park, Mich., ‘Ghost Signs’ of a Brighter Era – NYTimes.com.
- New York Times writes about Highland Park ‘ghost murals’ a year after Detroit blogger -MLive. com – Ridiculous & bitter commentary.
Advertising murals painted by hand on blank brick side walls in the 1800s and 1900s were supposed to have disappeared by now. Color slides were supposed to have disappeared by now. Books were supposed to have disappeared by now.
For that matter, Frank H. Jump was supposed to have disappeared by now. He learned he had H.I.V. in 1986, when he was 26 years old and AIDS was a death sentence.
They all survived longer than expected. That happy confluence has yielded “Fading Ads of New York City,” a new 224-page book from the History Press. It showcases Mr. Jump’s loving record of hand-painted “ghost signs” that lasted long enough to go from eyesore to historical asset. A book signing is scheduled Thursday at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side. – David W. Dunlap – read more
J. David Goodman of the New York Times Online was kind enough to mention our blog today.
Here is my response to his article:
Gloria Steinem said on the Bill Maher Show that “nostalgia is a form of obstructionism.” Can we move forward without looking back? Some do very easily- progress without looking where they’ve been. Others need the past as a reference. Nonetheless, the old ways are surely fading and the new ways need a tutorial. The challenge is keeping oneself ahead of the learning curve. Thanks for the mention Mr. Goodman!
Check out my page on Nostalgia @ Fading Ad Wiki!
CLICK FOR LINK TO: Babe Ruth Like You’ve Never Seen Him Before – By JOHN BRANCH
Published: October 8, 2009
Thanks for the tip Danny Baron!
“It’s bigger there [the Netherlands] than over here [NYC],” said Babette Bullens, 38, who lives near Holland’s border with Belgium and was making her first trip to New York. “If you talk to New Yorkers, they don’t know what’s happening. It’s very disappointing,” she said in Battery Park on Sunday. – New York Times
In spite of the disappointment of some Dutch tourists who made New York City their destination for this long-awaited cultural event, I’m not surprised most New Yorkers have been totally unaware of the hoopla over the 400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing up the “West River” in search of the Northwest Passage for the Dutch. Those of us who watch public television, read the New York Times, or have an interest in the myriad of events that occur here in the “capital of the world” on a regular basis, will know why there were four-hundred year-old replicas of the Half Moon (Halve Maen) sailing in the New York Harbor- and Dutch tourists flocking all over Lower Manhattan.
Unfortunately, the masses are either too busy in their hurried lives to eke out a living or are just uninformed. I’m sure the majority of the uninformed can tell you who was recently booted from American Idol or whether or not President Obama’s original birth certificate has been located. These are the important issues that concern most uninformed Americans. History? Well that was written by the conquerors – IN ENGLISH!
But do strike up a conversation with a Dutch tourist about how the Dutch West India Company fueled the slave trade, or how the Dutch were the only colonials who “bought” their land from the Indians, or how the future Queen of Holland’s father Jorge Zorreguieta may be guilty of war crimes [other resource], and I’m sure you will get an earful.
- Lady Deborah Moody House
- New Amsterdam – The Island at the Center of the World – South Street Seaport Museum
Importers of Wholesale Sausage? – Esteve Packing Corporation – Hugh King & Co. Building 1881 – Home of MTV's Real World – 630-632 Hudson Street, NYC
According to Tracie Rozhon’s New York Times article, Habitats/632 Hudson Street; Restuffing the Sausage – published: January 23, 1994: the four-story, 8,000-square-foot building erected in 1847 between Jane and Horatio Streets by the heirs of Richard Towning.
A CAST-IRON cornice bearing the name of the produce merchant Hugh King was placed across 632 and its twin, 630 Hudson, in 1881.
The Esteve family bought the building during World War II to make candy, according to Edward V. Esteve, a Long Island lawyer.“ You couldn’t get torrone, a Spanish nougat, during the war, so we started making it,” he said. – NY Times
The Esteve family purchased the building during World War II with the intentions to begin producing candy. The family switched to sausage in the mid-1950’s. By the 1960’s the canned chorizo was carried all over the world. Maria Esteve closed the sausage business in 1983, but refused to sell the building, hoping to launch another business, possibly a restaurant. It wasn’t until her death in March 1993 that the family was able to sell the building.¹
Other links to 632 Hudson Street: