Ephemeral New York

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Description: Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts.

Latest Posts

May 20th
I’m not the first old sign enthusiast who came across this beauty of a beer sign on the tenement at 317 East Fifth Street. Grieve wrote it up back in January, and I’m sure other fans walking along this quiet East Village block noticed the anci… Continue Reading
May 20th
In the late 19th century, New York City went on a public school building spree, constructing several handsome new schools across Manhattan to educate all children, but especially those of the poor and working classes. One of these schools, completed in 18… Continue Reading
May 20th
These days, New Yorkers need only to whip out their phones to figure out the cross street for any Manhattan address. But in the pre-Google Maps era, city residents had another way of deciphering cross streets. Not to scare you, but it involves a little ma… Continue Reading
May 13th
Lots of older New York buildings have stylized signs that contain the building’s street address. But none are as unusual and mysterious as the two signs affixed to the facade of 144 Fifth Avenue, a four-story, late 19th century walkup near 19th Stre… Continue Reading
May 13th
Born in 1887 in Vienna, Emma Fordyce MacRae grew up in early 20th century New York—attending the private Chapin and Brearley Schools before enrolling in the Art Students League in 1911 and studying with John Sloan. She made a name for herself as a m… Continue Reading