Picture Postcard: 7up and Kentile Signs

12 May

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.





9 Responses to “Picture Postcard: 7up and Kentile Signs”

  1. zathra May 12, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    ” They belong in a museum ! ” to paraphrase ‘ Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade ‘ “. Seriously, such signs are part of the cultural heritage of much of the developed & developing world.


    • bmj2k May 12, 2014 at 1:18 am #

      True! I’d love to buy the 7up sign if I had the room for it. It is in great shape.


      • zathra May 12, 2014 at 1:49 am #

        I have a photo I took in April of the 1st neon sign in E. TN. There should be a museum of neon & illuminated signs ! & I have just the place for a sign promoting Blue Moon beer if they ( this local pizzeria ) ever decide they don’t want it for some reason. 🙂
        Not to mention an old, vintage Gulf oil sign in a mechanic’s workshop.


        • bmj2k May 12, 2014 at 5:37 am #

          That’s awesome. I think the only things better than those signs are vintage tin signs.


  2. Theadora Brack May 12, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I agree! The old-school signs belong in a museum. Beautiful nod. (I also love the old advertising murals.)


    • bmj2k May 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      There are some lost advertising arts, like the old Burma Shave poems that used to be on the sides of roads, one stanza per billboard.
      Your shaving brush / Has had its day / So why not / Shave the modern way / With / Burma-Shave


      • zathra May 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

        There was / is a McDonalds back in my hometown, that that had the burger – guy, the ” golden arches “, everything. Pity I didn’t get to stop in there. The 50’s meets the age of the the iPad & smartphones & the iPod.McDonalds – an American icon, even if their food can clog your veins with cholesterol.


        • bmj2k May 12, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

          The 50’s really were a golden age of advertising. The WWII era was unique, but it was the post-war era when it boomed.



  1. The Sunday Seen That: 7/6/14 | Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride - July 6, 2014

    […] the city, I found some classic, vintage signs, including one from Kentile that was just recently demolished. There is some great vintage 7Up […]


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