We have changed our domain to fadingad.com/fadingadblog and continue to post daily! Please change your links! Thank you for your continued readership. Comments are no longer available here.

McDonald Avenue near Church Avenue © Frank H. Jump

Previously posted on May 27, 2007


Happy Flag Day!

I was never a flag waver, but a flag wearer.

As Fading Ad Blog Approaches One Million Visits…

Reckitt's Blue - March, 1998 © Frank H. Jump

I’ve been working on transferring FAB to my own domain (fadingad.com/fadingadblog). Not broke, why fix it you ask? Well, it is time to make the switch as we approach our millionth viewer. This summer, I am also planning to begin the process of self-publishing the Fading Ad Campaign – a collection of the original images that launched this project in 1997. Shortly after the exhibition in 1998 at the N-Y Historical Society, I launched the websites at frankjump.com and fadingad.com and now feel the need to document this in print. Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of books documenting the project’s evolution in cyberspace. Please continue to send your comments and feedback about the new site. Thank you for your commitment and continued readership.

Loans – I. Golden – On Diamonds, Jewelry, Clothing, Etc – Gravesend Neck Road – Gravesend, Brooklyn – Lisanne Anderson

Gravesend Neck Road & East 15th Street © Lisanne Anderson

Dunn’s Liquors – Delicatessen – No. Arlington, NJ

© Frank H. Jump

Old-time sign painted over in Hoboken – Hudson Reporter

© Vincenzo Aiosa

HOBOKEN — Like many old cities, Hoboken still has some painted signs from the past coating the brick walls of its buildings — including one for Goodman’s Haberdashery at First and Washington streets (that store ran from 1923 until the 1990s) and one for Doc Izzo’s TV and Radio Repair at Seventh and Wash.

But another old-timey painted sign, for a commercial stationery store at Fourth and Washington streets, was painted over last week — disappointing at least one local resident.

Hoboken resident and writer Jack Silbert happened to snap a shot last week of someone working on scaffolding near the sign, but he wasn’t sure if they would really paint over the whole thing. Days later, he saw the same sign — covered up in white, with stenciling for a beer ad to come. He expressed some sadness that this piece of history is gone. (For another view of the sign, check out Frank H. Jump’s ‘Fading Ad Blog.’)

© Jack Silbert

Previously posted:

Patron Tequila Ad – 34th Street Megawall – Midtown, NYC

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

Riker & Co, Inc. – Canal Street, NYC

Lofts for Rent - JUdson 6 - 0800 © Frank H. Jump

Harts Printers Rollers – Greene Street – Soho, NYC

© Frank H. Jump

Internet references:

Mrs. William C. Hart was born May Gleason in New Orleans but grew up in New Jersey and was married there, in Jersey City. The Harts lived in Rochester, where her father-in-law established a factory to manufacture printers’ rollers. When a branch was opened in New York, they moved, in 1914, to Kew Gardens. She and her daughter, Jeanne, live in the same Kew Gardens house, the sole remaining original residents on the street, at 119 82nd Avenue.A Picture of Kew Gardens

In 1813, printer Robert Harrild (1780-1853) joined the debated raging inside the London printing community as to the use of rollers rather than balls to ink a printing plate. The majority of hand-printers preferred inking balls but Harrild’s demonstration of his new roller was so successful that rollers became compulsory in every print shop throughout the city. Harrild established a company, located at 25 Farringdon Street, to manufacture the rollers and eventually all kinds of printing equipment. – Harrild & Sons Printing Machinery – Graphic Arts  – Princeton University Blog – July 2, 2009

I was lucky to get a shot of this without the revolting Aesthetic Realism flag flying underneath.

Shoprite – Interstate 280E – Newark, NJ

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

WMCA Radio 570 AM – Kearny, NJ

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

    WMCA, 570 AM, is a radio station in New York City, most known for its “Good Guys” Top 40 era in the 1960s. It is currently owned by Salem Communications and plays a Christian radio format. Its three-tower transmitter site (easily visible from the northbound New Jersey Turnpike) is located on the Hackensack River, in Kearny, New Jersey. – WMCA RadioWikipedia

Paper Makers Supplies – Jones Street – Greenwich Village, NYC

© Frank H. Jump

© Frank H. Jump

BEGO Custom Built Furniture Inc – Architectural Woodwork – No Area Code – Stove Pipe – Razor Coil – Deegan Expressway, Bronx

PLUS: Express Furniture: Wall Units, Bedrooms, Kitchens, Murphy Beds, Custom Designs - Deegan Expressway - Gerard Avenue - Bronx © Frank H. Jump

Mega Party! - Deegan Expressway - Gerard Avenue - Bronx © Frank H. Jump

Mega Party!!! - Deegan Expressway - Gerard Avenue - Bronx © Frank H. Jump

BEGO Logo - Deegan Expressway - Gerard Avenue - Bronx © Frank H. Jump

PLUS! Express Furniture: Wall Units, Bedrooms, Kitchens, Murphy Beds, Custom Designs - Deegan Expressway - Gerard Avenue - Bronx © Frank H. Jump

Bronx Disaster Billboard – Major Deegan Expressway

© Frank H. Jump

In light of the BP Oil Disaster, Hurricane Katrina, the Stock Market, this summer’s hurricane forecast, and the re-election (takeover) of Michael Bloomberg – be ready for anything!


Apparition of sign doesn’t return when you paint a new one – News Tribune – Peter Callaghan

Apparition of sign doesn’t return when you paint a new one– PETER CALLAGHAN; STAFF WRITER – THE NEWS TRIBUNE

It seems like such a simple response to a careless mistake.

Rather than lament the loss of the 77-year-old hand-painted Alt Heidelberg sign on the side of the Joy Building, just repaint it.

“Do we want to preserve the sign or the paint?” wrote one reader of my column on the screw-up by the architects and contractor charged with renovating the building AND preserving historic artifacts such as the sign.

Others pointed to the “New York and Washington Outfitting Co.” sign on the exposed wall of the Knights of Pythias Temple on Broadway as an example of repainting.

© Frank H. Jump

I’m not a fan of that sign but I was having trouble articulating why. It not only looks new, which it is, it covered the actual-though-faded sign underneath. It is so bright it detracts from the real ghost signs on the walls that were exposed when the Colonial Theater was demolished in 1988.

But paint is paint. Besides, most of the prime sign locations downtown were repainted repeatedly as new products, new businesses and new fads came along.

The Alt Heidelberg sign featuring the Student Prince from the 1920s operetta and the slogan “Everybody Knows It’s Better” was itself painted over other signs now partially exposed. (And the stein he raises in a toast was originally a bottle, according to Doug McDonnell, a local historian and descendent of the brewery’s founder.)

© Vincenzo Aiosa

So I asked a few people with a special affection for ghost signs, such as New Yorker Frank H. Jump, who features the Student Prince sign on his website Fading Ad Blog (fadingad.wordpress.com/).

“I tend to abhor repaints,” Jump wrote back. “It is the decay of a sign I find beautiful. It is a living process in a way.

“But just like all living processes, all things must die,” he wrote. “Although preservation attempts are good for historical and tourist reasons, they can’t always be realized since buildings are at risk if they become porous.”

He [Jump] included a poem he’d written that touched on the question:

“Signs and vines weather and grow.
Brick, pigment, plant and lime-
Tenuously intertwined through time.
As paint degrades and image fades,
Soft tones evolve
From salmon pinks and jades-
Into sand and grime.”

Reuben McKnight, Tacoma’s historic preservation officer, said city policy is for ghost signs on protected buildings to be preserved. But it has no policy on repainting faded or destroyed signs.

“One issue is that for multi-layered ghost signs, restoring one layer necessarily means losing or destroying another,” McKnight wrote. “As you know, multiple shadows of signs are usually visible in the unrestored signs.”

The University of Washington Tacoma, owner of the Joy Building, will report to the city landmarks commission June 9 about the loss of the Alt Heidelberg sign. The commission may discuss the idea of repainting at that meeting, McKnight said.

Michael Sullivan, a preservation consultant and former city landmarks officer, said he thinks repainting is a bad idea.

“You can’t wind back the clock,” he said, adding that repainted signs look “hokey.”

I agree. The beauty of ghost signs is that they are an apparition. The same image that you can’t see or overlook in certain light appears when the conditions are right. To come upon them is to discover an artifact of a city’s history. And to be able to see multiple layers of advertising is a sort of visual archeological dig.

Repainting, therefore, is contrary to all that makes these signs fascinating. Acknowledging that the Student Prince is lost forever makes it an even bigger debacle. But putting an inferior reproduction on the wall would be very cold comfort.

One commenter suggested a compromise of sorts. Billyizme said a recent photograph of the sign could be projected onto the wall in the evenings. It would be clear that it isn’t original. But it would be an homage to what was the last stand of an iconic Tacoma brand and mascot.

Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657
Read more: www.thenewstribune.com

Here I'm not making a statement about preservation, but the lack thereof. - © Vincenzo Aiosa

This wall above is opposite the New York – Washington repaint in Tacoma, Washington – a treasure trove of fading ads that now has one less gem.