May 12, 2013
New York can sometimes seem like a city of non-stop progress to those who don’t live here, but to New Yorkers, it is less a city of gleaming skyscrapers and more of a city of hidden enclaves. This is one of the not-so hidden ones. Most people have heard of Little Italy in Manhattan, but the Bronx boasts its own little Italy, on a stretch of Arthur Avenue. As I was walking down the avenue, I spotted an interesting sign down the street and sprinted over to see it up close. This is a very old 7up sign, on 187th street two blocks off Arthur Avenue.
There just aren’t many old signs like that left in the city, and the ones you do find often aren’t intact. I don’t know if this still lights up, and unfortunately I may never know as the luncheonette it is attached to is closed and empty, for sale. Luncheonettes are also a dying breed.
Here is the full street scene:
And here’s a dramatic shot of the other side of the sign, showing that both sides are intact:
And here’s a bonus. Last week, the iconic Kentile sign by the Gowanus canal and BQE highway in Brooklyn was lit up for the first time in years. This sign has been unlit for decades, but a tech company aimed lasers at it and lit it up from a distance for one night only. This isn’t just an old sign lit up again, this is an old sign lit up by focused laser beams.