Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some Ghost Signs

It's always an exciting urban archaeological moment when a sign comes down from a facade to reveal an older sign underneath. It feels like a wrinkle in time, a stepping back into the old city.

Andrew Fine at a Fine Blog sent in this shot from 71st and Lexington, where Staub the Chemist has been revealed, complete with a bonus phone exchange. Who was RH-4?



Downtown, the former cafe The Adore has been stripped to reveal a sign for a children's barber shop. Greenwich Village Daily Photo also snapped shots of it, wondering if it dates to the 1940s.



Let's hope the newcomers save this one, along with good old Erskine Press (read all about that here). If any knows these old businesses, please let us know.

26 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Ah, always enjoy these as well.

And do we want to know what is slated for the space that was previously Staub the Chemist?

Anonymous said...

rh-4: rhinelander

Anonymous said...

RH = RHinelander

Anonymous said...

the RH exchange is rheinlander

JAZ said...

That was Bookberries - you used to be able to peep the sign from under their big awning.

@ EV - if you do a closeup of the window, it looks like it's going to be a Cotelac; there's one on Greene St. now, and it's some sort of clothing boutique.

Bill said...

"RH" is a telephone exchange prefix, short for Rhinelander, which of course is an older name for that neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

RH = the Rhinelander phone exchange

Anonymous said...

The hair and collar styles on the haircut sign look earlier than the 40's... More like the 20's. The girl's hair is not bobbed, which was practically de rigueur for young ladies by the 1930's, especially in fashionable NY
-e-

Grade A Karen said...

RH was RHinelander. Ja?

Anonymous said...

RH-4 is a telephone prefix - Rhinelander 4. It's 744 today.

Romy said...

Those haircut signs look very old indeed. They almost look like 1890s.

Anonymous said...

RH was, I think, for Rhinelander. Love those telephone exchanges.

tiny tim said...

For anyone interested...

The comments for this article are very interesting.

It's not just New York.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/us/bodybuilders-flinch-at-googles-venice-beach-incursion.html?src=me&ref=general

Anonymous said...

the RH phone exchange was for
"Rheinlander"

dani said...

hey....i found this great link of phone exchanges.
RH was called "Rhinelander."
http://phone.net46.net/nyc/latealphnumer.html

Mark said...

RH was Rhinelander, and Upper East Side exchange.

Theodore Grunewald said...

RH is the abbreviation for the Upper East Side’s old Rhinelander telephone exchange which was named after the illustrious Rhinelander family; one of NY’s oldest –having arrived in the 17th century –and whose most well-remembered descendant was Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo, who in 1898 legendarily commissioned the enigmatic Rhinelander Mansion at Madison Avenue and 72nd Street (now the Ralph Lauren store) only to never move in. It remained vacant until 1921. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinelander_Mansion

Anonymous said...

RHinelander exchange

laura said...

"J": chemist lex & 71st, that area has many nice old family businesses, & many old mansions. i had written about this on several posts as well as emailing. i think this neighborhood (UES) has been neglected on JMVN. all things considered, it surpasses most of downtown-except some west village enclaves. go back & look around. try lex & the 90s, you may see some italian shoe cobblers. also there are some very old world tailors. the business are not that old as they are owned by koreans, but they do cater to the individual person. i also hope the diners are still up & down lex. take another look @ east harlem. lets see what is still there. keep us posted about the chemist location.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i've been offline all day and just got to the comments. thanks everyone for letting us know about RHinelander!

Anonymous said...

With all the great stuff disappearing..I am glad you are still here!!Have a great weekend. French film in Tompkins tonight..The Axe..sounds intriguing.
Melanie Neichin
East Village Corner

Lisa said...

I have to agree with Anonymous that the children's haircuts sign looks more turn-of-the-century than 1940s to me, both because of the styles and because of the lettering. Great finds!

laura said...

these are not 1940s styles. they are early 1900s, way off base. do you think the hair cut place is that old? or is it just the advertisement. how old is the sign itself? it would be great if someone started a collection & maybe a small museum.or @least an online museum. "J" any ideas??

Ken Mac said...

Wish we could find more info re the Hair Cutter. If you see it in person, the sign almost looks like it was painted yesterday. Makes me wonder if it was ever actually in business.

Anonymous said...

Big tip o' the hat to all the RHeinlander folks. I myself was baffled (not uncommon).
--Baby Dave

laura said...

anon (9:53am): its was in the beginning of the 1920s where the hair was short. also chanel introduced the jersey t shirt type of dress. guess by the mid 20s, most women made the shift. let go of the victorian frills. yes they were bobbed in the 30s as well, but then the glamour era began. i was looking @ my old photos albums, my grandmother & great grandmother. not everyone bobbed their hair. my grandmother kept that upsweep do all her life. she wasnt that hip. so did her mother. anyway, good post.