Thursday, March 24, 2011

Toys, Souvenirs, Jokes

One last little thing about that block of 7th Avenue between 47th and 48th.

Awhile back, people were excited to take pictures of this faded Souvenirs sign, revealed when a newer sign came down. They emailed it to me or added it to the Vanishing NY Flickr pool. It also turned up on other blogs. Though it didn't inspire quite as much blogospheric buzz as Dapper Dan, it got its fair share.

Matt Law, flickr

For what it's worth, this sign appears in a 1981 photo that I used in yesterday's post. By the 1990s, it was covered up.

bustalk, 1981

There it is, way off to the right, partially chopped, nestled in between the Embassy (formerly the Mayfair) and Tad's Steaks. It has since been covered up again.

I think my favorite thing about the sign is the word JOKES. It's like NOVELTIES or APPETIZING, words you used to see often on signs but don't anymore. The last time I recall seeing JOKES on a sign was also in Times Square, at the Funny Store, which was demolished to make room for a hotel. Their sign also included the word GAGS, which you're really never going to see.

How many billboards, signs, and marquees in Times Square are covering up the word GAGS? We will likely never know.

UPDATE: Here's another shot, proving the sign much older, from 1960:


EV Grieve said...

I've liked these posts about this block... And I wouldn't mind seeing either Thief or Atlantic City again on a big screen like at the Embassy 2,3,4.

Carol Gardens said...

I recall that some of these "joke" shops were also where suburban kids would get ridiculous fake IDs from places like John F. Kennedy University. They sometimes worked. (Those were the lawless days of NYC--many city bar would look the other way and serve us at about age 16; drinking age was 18.)

Flora said...

Reminds me of M. Gordon Novelty - i loved that old storefront - gone with the wind as well.

Jill said...

I noticed that they use the word Appetizing in Whole Foods (Union Square) in the produce section. I should have snapped a photo but I was too busy finding a place to abandon my basket after seeing the mind blowing long line.

marjorie said...

How much do I love that font?


Jeremiah Moss said...

Carol G, right, whatever happened to all those fake ID places?

Flora, click the Novelty link for more on M. Gordon. that storefront was really special.

BabyDave said...

Tad's is still there? I'm revisiting that block ASAP. Still miss the Tad's on 14th Street east of Fourth.

maximum bob said...

I remember my dad taking me to city when I was a kid, this would have been in the late 50's or early 60's. We went into a small magic store on Bway and I think
43rd, on the west side of the block. The salesman goodnaturedly starting showing us some tricks, one of them blew my mind, he had a cigarette in his hand and it seemed to vanish into thin air.
He showed us the trick, a thin elastic band attached to the cigarette whished up his sleeve...

Jeremiah Moss said...

there is something great about visiting a magic shop with your dad. i remember mine also included a cigarette trick--the salesman stuck a cigarette and his finger into a tiny guillotine, then slammed down the blade. the cigarette broke, but not his finger.

i opted for the floating rope in a bottle trick instead.

Ed said...

Carol Gardens, I think I saw an advertisement for John F. Kennedy University the other day. Essentially it promised "if you pay our low tuition, you can get a job with a big NYC corporation!" So it seems to be still around.

maximum bob said...

Everybody check out this GREAT
film about NYC in the early sixties
Great montages of the city, plus
my old friend Fred Mogubgub is featured (RIP Fred)

Jill said...

I had a fake id from Times Square from the College of Arts and Crafts! It worked most of the time but more often nobody asked. They didn't care much until they upped the age from 18 to 19 to 21, and I was on the age curve of when that was happening.

There is a great joke shop on Queens Blvd (if it's still there) that was old timey. I went there a few years ago on a fluke--the kids running the store were really dedicated to the magic, jokes and tricks--it was infectious.