Signs of a Hurricane

August 27, 2011

In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, the mayor ordered low-lying neighborhoods evacuated. As they prepared to leave their homes and businesses, some New Yorkers quickly posted signs with messages about — and for — the massive storm.

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A store in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood

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At Rockaway Taco, Queens

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Cafe, Court Street, Brooklyn

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An apartment building in Rockaway Beach, Queens

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Liquor Store on Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights

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Another Red Hook storefront

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Optical shop, Court Street, Brooklyn

ABC News: Hurricane Irene: Lights Go Dark


At Great Wall

April 2, 2010

Great Wall is the largest Asian supermarket chain in the Eastern United States, with branches in Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virgina. Styled after major American food chains, Great Wall offers locally-produced groceries as well as those imported from all over Asia, with an emphasis on freshness, cleanliness and customer service.

These stores combine many of the features of traditional Asian markets (seasonal produce, medicinal herbs, live fish swimming in tanks, butchers ready to cut meat to order) with American tastings, discount cards, weekly circulars and sales.

There are always some things, however, that may seem strange to Westerners. I found this item in a refrigerated case at the Great Wall store on Northern Boulevard in Flushing.

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Looking into the refrigerator case

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A closer view of the label: Pork Blood

Great Wall


If You Are.

August 28, 2009

This sign is posted in the window of Sunset Tattoos in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

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Sunset Tattoos


Have fun in the park … but watch your step

March 22, 2009

Spring has finally arrived and New Yorkers are running outside to take advantage of the first weekend of the season. These warm, sunny days are inspiring many to shed their heavy coats and venture onto the 29,000 acres of land controlled by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

If you plan to join them, enjoy yourself … but remember that there are rules in the parks. Serious rules. Lots of them. Here are some of the warning signs posted in and around the city’s parks and playgrounds. Have fun and watch your step.

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South Cove Park

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Central Park

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James Bogardus Triangle Park

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The Esplanade Park

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Tramway Plaza Park

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The Esplanade Park

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Red Hook Park

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Battery Park

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Central Park

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The Esplanade Park

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Red Hook Park

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City Hall Park

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Erie Basin Park

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Red Hook Pool

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation


Give Real Change to the Homeless

February 1, 2009

New York City’s Department of Homeless Services has launched a campaign to educate the public about helping the homeless. Their message is simple: the best way to aid the homeless is by contacting the agencies designed to aid them.

Someone, reading one of the campaign’s posters in the 14th Street subway station, added a few pithy notes.

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The poster

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Do I look excited about a shelter? Hell no.

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“Money”

New York City and MTA Unveil ‘Give Real Change’ Public Education Campaign
NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS)
NYC Action Plan to End Homelessness


I’m sick of seeing coq au vin

January 24, 2009

Whole Foods is an international chain of upscale supermarkets. Located in affluent areas and focusing on natural and organic items, the stores sell premium goods at premium prices; in fact, wags have dubbed the chain “whole paycheck.”

Whole Foods currently has five stores in New York City, all of them in Manhattan. The store in Union Square includes a message board where management replies to a selection of customer-submitted “rants and raves.” On a recent visit, I was struck by a complaint regarding the prepared foods section.

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The board

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The card

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The rant

Whole Foods
Whole Foods Union Square
New York Daily News: Whole Foods tries to shake ‘whole paycheck’ image
CNN Money: Whole Foods, The Whole Truth


No Parking … Anytime

January 5, 2009

I was walking past Brooklyn’s 10th Street when the signs on this garage and doorway commanded my attention. Believe me, I wouldn’t dream of parking there. In fact, I don’t even want to ring the bell or knock hard … anytime.

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The garage and doorway on 10th St.

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No parking … anytime

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Chow baby enj (?)

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All deliveries today ….. ring bell and knock. Knock hard.


You have to have standars

December 3, 2008

I couldn’t help noticing the sign on this truck, which was parked at 41st Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Apparently, the business that owns the vehicle is committed to maintaining a certain “standar” of quality. Good thing they are builders and not publishers.

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Parked on 41st Street

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The Standar of Quality


Mysteries of Manhattan: Phon Baseb

August 15, 2008

This sign was displayed on the sidewalk in front of a deli on 14th Street. It seems like the store is selling something called phon baseb. Sounds as though it might be a tasty Vietnamese dish, but … perhaps not. Whatever phon baseb is, it’s a mystery to me.

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Amazing Things Are Happening Here

June 20, 2008

More from the archives.

This enormous translucent banner hangs across three glass and steel pedestrian bridges at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Fort Washington Avenue. The bridges allow people (and materials) to move from one building to another without going outside.

Click on the photo for a larger view and you’ll see visitors, students and employees using the glassed-in walkways at this massive teaching hospital in Upper Manhattan.

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Amazing Things Are Happening Here

New York-Presbyterian Hospital


Radio 53 AM

June 4, 2008

More from the archives.

This sign was posted on a traffic signal control box near Union Square. As always, you can click on the image for a larger view.

You must listen to Christ Radio 53 AM Radio on 24 hours or the Devil will take you and your family and make bats out of all of you.

Christ will protect you. Devil is Boogie Man. Beautiful gorgeous Mary and Christ will hug and kiss you forever in Heaven. For keeping the ten commandments.

It’s so easy to keep the ten commandments. Teen ages and people in Hell are suffering terrible.

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The View From There

June 1, 2008

More from the archives.

This enormous sign advertising Calvin Klein jeans, now gone, used to dominate the intersection of Houston and Crosby Streets. Please note: the sign is not a billboard. It is a large cloth banner, illegally hung right over the windows (you can see a few window ledges peeking out from the bottom).

How’d you like to wake up and see that blocking out your view?

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Guys on the corner

April 10, 2008

Scene on the corner of Madison Avenue and 72nd Street.

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Hi, do you wear a button?

March 24, 2008

This sign was posted at the top of a stairway inside the Clark Street subway station. I can’t help but wonder whether it worked.

Have you ever posted (or answered) an ad looking for love?

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I Believe In Harvey Dent


Suddenly, I feel very thirsty

January 16, 2008

I was on Manhattan’s Lower East Side when I noticed this building at the corner of Essex and Rivington Streets.

It is painted with enormous advertisements for Red Stripe beer from Jamaica and Schapiro’s Kosher Wine. This neighborhood must be a very tough place for a tea-totaler.

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Get a Free Laundry Basket

November 4, 2007

This sign was posted in the window of the Laundry King laundromat on 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Get a Free Laundry Basket


Baby rabbit’s for sell

September 8, 2007

This sign (click on the photo to read it) was taped to a post in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall. It says:

Baby rabbit’s for sell. They are cute and fun so if you would like one come to Court St. The price is 30 per rabbit

No indication of who is selling the rabbits, when they will be available, where on Court Street they can be found, and whether the price is $30 or 30¢ each.

However, there’s no doubt that rabbits can be cute and fun — and tasty, too.

Baby rabbits for sell

Itty Bitty Bunny
Rabbit Habit


Signs of Brooklyn Food Shops

July 19, 2007

Anyone, anywhere can hang a bland, boring factory-made sign on the front of a store. Ho-hum.

That mundane method of advertising might work in some towns, but around here, many shop owners pride themselves on their creative signage, using images that convey the very essence of their business’s identity.

Not only do these shop owners employ unusual signs, they don’t bother to hang them; instead they plant their signposts right in the middle of the sidewalk. Here are a few of the signs currently adorning the pavements in front of some of Brooklyn’s favorite food shops.

Terrace Bagels
Terrace Bagels
224 Prospect Park West

Esposito's Pork Store
Esposito’s Pork Store
357 Court Street

Clemen's Taco and Burrito Place
Clemen’s Taco and Burrito Place
252 Prospect Park West

NY Times: Dry-Cured Sausages: Kissed by Air, Never by Fire
NY Magazine: G. Esposito and Sons Pork Store
NY Magazine: Terrace Bagels Café
NY Magazine: Clemen’s Taco and Burrito Place


Swordfish and Roosters and Rams. Oh, my!

July 2, 2007

Deep in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, across from a tile factory and hard by an auto body shop, an eye catching sign stands at the corner of 21st Street and 3rd Avenue.

Adorned with images of a ram, a swordfish and a rooster, in three languages it advertises the Al-Noor Halal Live Poultry Market.

Intrigued by the sign, I ducked around the corner to visit the store. All I’ll say is that for a person like me (accustomed to meat that comes from a white-coated, genial butcher standing behind a gleaming, sanitized counter), slaughterhouses are not suitable for casual visits.

Oh, my!

On the corner of 3rd Avenue & 21 St Street

Ram, Swordfish & Rooster

Al-Noor Live Poultry

Black Electorate: Growing Muslim Community Brings New Traditions To The Neighborhood


Discouraging Signs in the Subway

June 24, 2007

With 6,200 cars, 840 miles of track and an average weekday ridership of 4.9 million, New York City has one of the largest, busiest and most complex subway systems in the world.

Unlike the systems in many other cities, New York’s subways operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. That means all service and repairs must take place while the trains are running.

In an attempt to cause the least disruption to riders, most planned maintenance and construction work (as opposed to emergency service) is scheduled for weekends. As a result, getting around the city on Saturdays and Sundays can be challenging for even the most savvy New Yorkers.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) says that they issue service advisories to “provide information about planned service changes on weekends that are needed for their Capital Plan work such as construction projects.”

Many city dwellers try to stay informed about temporary service changes and interruptions by checking the MTA’s Web site, subscribing to special e-mail and text message alert services (such as those offered by HopStop and the Straphangers Campaign), and/or following local newspaper and television reports for updates on the latest service advisories.

Any of those approaches is more effective than just showing up in a subway station and hoping to locate and make sense of the printed advisories that are posted every weekend.

Today every station I entered had at least a few advisory signs taped to the walls, but these were the most discouraging, disheartening and headache-inducing of the bunch.

Service interruptions at Times Square station
Today’s Service Advisories posted in the Times Square station

Sign in Pelham Bay Park station
Sign in the Pelham Bay Park station

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
MTA Service Advisories
MTA Guide to Weekend Travel in Lower Manhattan
MTA Subway Facts and Figures
New York Public Interest Research Group Straphangers Campaign
Transportation Alternatives
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
HopStop New York


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