The Village has lost a great old sign.
For many years at 233 Bleecker, above one newsstand or another, there hung a vintage sign that read NEWSPAPERS - TOBACCO.
Today, with the space for rent, there's nothing but the ghost. The letters and Coca-Cola shields have been ripped down.
Here's how it looked until recently. And, before that, back in 2007.
I always liked seeing it as a I walked by, a piece of the past that had somehow, against all odds, persevered. It was a survivor. Maybe I identified with it. Seeing the sign, I would feel a sense of relief--I'm still here--thinking, "It's still there."
And now it isn't.
They call these signs privilege signs (thanks Tom). David Dunlap at the New York Times wrote about them--and their vanishing--last year:
is lost along with privilege signs is a sense of modesty and history.
They speak of a time when store owners did not emphasize who they were
as much as what they sold: fruits, vegetables, stationery, toys, candy
and sandwiches. They are a visual link to the years of the Great
Depression and World War II."
Several privilege signs appear in James and Karla Murray's Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. Most have already vanished.
As Karla told the Times: “The loss of these old signs and the
stores signifies a loss in the neighborhood."