New York City, NY

Ghost Signs of NYC: Children’s Wear

Frank Mastropolo
Photo by Frank Mastropolo

Avenue A was for decades the neighborhood to shop for baby carriages, strollers, cribs and toys. Ben’s Juvenile Mart and Schachter’s Babyland, with its kiddie horse ride in front, were a few doors apart near East 6th Street. Schneider’s Juvenile Furniture on the corner of 2nd Street was the last to leave the area in 2004.

If you crossed Avenue A from Schneider’s you would find a children’s wear store whose name is unknown. Glass signs with lettering edged in gold leaf describe its merchandise: Infants’ Wear, Children’s Dresses, Boys’ Suits, Underwear and Novelties.

The ghost signs were discovered in 2016 by the owners of 2A Bar. “We were simply doing routine renovations on the façade of the building to fix our windows,” said Laura McCarthy, co-owner of 2A. “Lo and behold, we found these signs hiding out for decades upon decades underneath.
Photo by Frank Mastropolo

“We were absolutely stunned and elated to discover the old corner signage. I’ve owned and worked at 2A since 1984 and thought I knew about most of the previous incarnations of the space prior to 1984, so this came as an incredibly unexpected and exciting surprise!”

McCarthy found that one of the six original panes was missing. Local artist and patron Lisa Barnstone created a replacement that reads “2A Bar.” “She was able to beautifully replicate the missing plate in the same style and font as the originals and it blends right in,” said McCarthy. The bar features a small gallery of historical photos of the corner storefront that includes its past life as a dentist’s office.

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Mastropolo is the author of Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock Music Forever; Ghost Signs: Clues to Downtown New York's Past; and Ghost Signs 2: Clues to Uptown New York's Past

New York, NY

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