The Fading Ad Campaign began as a photographic project documenting vintage mural ads on building brickfaces in New York City spanning nearly a century. It has become a metaphor for survival for me since, like myself, many of these ads have long outlived their expected life span. Although this project doesn’t deal directly with HIV/AIDS, it is no accident I’ve chosen to document such a transitory and evanescent subject. Of the hundreds of ads I’ve photographed, many have already been covered up, vandalized, or destroyed. But still many silently cling to the walls of buildings, barely noticed by the rushing passersby.

This blog was originally designed to be a cross-curricular instructional tool, emphasizing science & technology while examining media literacies and cultural movements. Fading Ad Blog has since grown to become a collaboration with urban archaeologist around the country and from here in Brooklyn as well. Check out the Assignments Page!

Share your fading ads & comments!

Frank H. Jump is a Flatbush, Brooklyn artist/teacher/resident.


102 responses to “About

  1. I truly feel that the ads from NY are messages from a period of time. As most messages they have their 15 minutes of fame and then they are forgotten. However, at times in NY it could take 15 months, 15 years or 15 decades for the material aspect of the message to vanish. From a certain perspective these messages are historical snapshots leaving us to wonder and calculate regarding their intended audience and communication. Nice blog. How will you use it with your students to teach?

  2. Great blog. I like the pace and scope of it.

  3. Thanks! Sometimes I worry I post too much. So many images, so little time.

  4. You have it all well categorized and therefore the magnitude of pics is manageable and appreciated. Go for it!

  5. Great blog. Don’t apologize for too many images.. I like them. =Paul

  6. Thanks Paul. I’ve been using a Pentax Optio mini camera up till now and using a plastic magnifying lens for macro shots. It’s been fun but I’VE JUST BOUGHT A NIKON D40X!! So excited. Waiting for the macro lens to come in.

    Best and have a healthy and happy New Year. Will check out your blog. Are you in Italy?


  7. Frank,

    I would love to take a trip up to Connecticut (home state) as I’m sure there is fuel for this type of art. I love the photos you take.

    FYI.. i’m in Sorrento, FL. I know… i could keep people guessing 😉

    All the best.


  8. Hey Paul- Thanks for getting back to me. I’m loving my new D40X. Was down by you not too long ago. Glad you like the pics. All the best to you too.


  9. I’m a big fan of the blog. I always see these signs around town or in other states and was happy to see you devoted a blog to it and give some history when you have it. Keep it up!

    Do you take guest signage from other states/countries? I have some cool stuff from New Orleans if you want.

  10. Absolutely! I host Bob Kisken and Vincenzo Aiosa and feature other artists like Wes Carr and Chris Adams. I would love to see your images and post some of your captions with them! Always wanted to go to N’Orleans.

  11. Good stuff here! If you get the chance you should check out the interior of Sidecar bar/restaurant on 5th ave btwn 15th & 16th in Park Slope. When they took down the interior drywall to build it out they uncovered a billboard for what looks to be a snake oil type of cure-all (Dr. Tucker’s 59). It is pretty well preserved since it was behind a wall so they kept it exposed as a design element.

  12. Mark Ballschmieder

    I enjoy the site a great deal. I drive a truck and get to New York and other cities and am always on the lookout for these old signs. There is however a brand new sign in NYC. If you are on the Major Deegan Expy and take the 3rd Av bridge exit you will see a new sign on you right when you get to the stoplight and McD’s. I saw the painter hanging up there about 3 weeks ago and the sign was about 1/2 done. It is now complete. A building supply dealer if I remember correctly. Sorry about the loss of your dog. A writer- friend of mine said that the only place you can bury a dog is in your heart. I have 3 there now.

  13. Thank you for your kind words Mark. I’ll check out that sign on the way home from the Poconos this weekend. All the best to you and thanks for visiting my site.

  14. Very cool site. I love the photos. I travel around for work and I am always looking for old signs like this. Here are a couple from the west coast for your collection:

  15. Glad you enjoy the site. Would love to see the pics. You can send them with a narrative to frankjump@fadingad.com.


  16. I haven’t been to your website in some time. So i decided to check it out. You have added so much to the site. I really love it. I constantly see “fading ads” all over town. I often say to myself , I’m sure Frank already has a photo of this.


  17. Yo Kisha! You can never be too sure. Snap it and send it to me or write down the cross-streets. How are things in Abraham Lincoln? Did you see the Evans Dairy shots near the school? Thanks for the note and call me soon. Let’s hang. You still have to show me your St Albans signs.
    xo Jump

  18. (I tried to email this letter and it bounced back…)

    Frank: Hey–I just stumbled across your site via Curbed, and wanted to say I think it’s very cool. I also like to photograph old signs, e.g., you can see several I took on a recent trip to Pittsburgh here:


    and here’s one in Washington Heights, where I live:


    Look forward to seeing more! Regards,

    Matt aka TGR

  19. Ana Nery Fragoso

    Hola Frank,
    me encanta tu website, tu blog y tus fotografias.
    Mil besos.

  20. Gracias Chica Guapa! Tu eres simpatica.

  21. I tried emailing you this weekend the below, let me know if you want the photo and where to send it to.

    Blog looks great. I took this picture of an old gas pump today in Red Hook on Van Brunt between Commerce and Delevan. Its not an ad but I thought it fit the theme on your site and relevant for the times. I believe this is a Wayne 866 Clock Face model. Wayne was the first maker of gas pumps, started in Ft Wayne, Indiana back in the 1880’s.

  22. Miss you! Come w/V to vist us in TO!

  23. Perhaps in August after we visit Enzo’s mamma.

  24. Awesome gorgeous work! Those old signs have always caught my attention, too — so beautiful and evocative. I also liked your idea about memorializing those lost to AIDS on Memorial Day. That Reagan stamp was genius, whoever designed that.

  25. Thanks Emily! The original poster of Reagan was designed by a sub-group of ACT-UP in 1987 called Gran Fury. The commemorative stamps series was an idea I had to memorialize the darkest moments of the Reagan, Clinton, Bush eras. Seems like we are going to have an exciting election this year. See what eight years of Bush does to a country – and a world.

  26. Great pictures that chronicle some great art. It’s interesting to see the slice of life from past era’s displayed as history, preserved in a moment
    in time.

  27. Just took a look at your picture, love it, I’ve been taking some photos, myself, and find it quite fastinating, would like to see the art work preserved, or restored, have see, and photgraphed the Owl Cigar sign in Great Fall, Montana, and really like it. Thank you.

  28. I didn’t see any way to contact you except this comment area, and don’t know if you check comments, but I thought you might like to know that I discuss your fotoblog on my fotoblog, Newark USA, Wednesday, September 17, 2008. I also was pleased to see an acquaintance and fellow AIDS Dissident, Peter Duesberg, in the “Assignments” area (Gary Null video). Little thing: heading “Habadashery” s/b “Haberdashery”. That jumped out at me in that I recently offered reform of that word to “habberdashery” on my Simpler Spelling Word of the Day website.

  29. LCS- Thanks for the mention on your Newark USA site. Checked it out and will also feature your Coca-Cola signs. Great site! Updated the category Haberdashery. Thanks. Hope to run into one day while shooting Newark.


  30. Hi Frank,
    Is the Michelan Man an image that you took?
    We would like to use the image in our magazine but are unsure as to whether this is an ad, or an ad that you photographed?
    Could you please get back to me as soon as possible.
    Diane Marie

  31. I’m so glad I found your site. I’ve been obsessed with old painted-on-brick ads for a long time, and I started photographing them when I lived in London about 25 years ago (gasp!). It never really occurred to me that other people shared this fascination. Your work is wonderful.

  32. Eric- would love to see your images if you care to share. I will feature them. The bulk of my London shots from early 2001 haven’t yet been scanned. Thanks for the kind words. Frank

  33. Frank, your site is fabulous! Great stuff here. As an avid bike rider I’ve seen some of these ads in my travels, but obviously your ‘roving eye’ has picked up much more of the ghost ads than I could possibly find.

    I’m into collecting antique beer bottles from the Brooklyn’s heyday as a beer-brewing center, so I appreciate the history and asthetics of the buildings and the disappearing advertising. Keep up the good work!

    And coincidences occur here: you were a teacher to my nephew, and we have a mutual friend.

  34. Thanks Doug! The world just keeps getting smaller. Who do we share in common and who is your nephew. I hope he remembers me well.


  35. Hey Frank, just web surfing and came upon your website. I like the concept. My dad was a photographer for many years during the old black and white days. With the advent of technology, we are able to do so much more with photography. I recently had my camera stolen, however, I will replace it soon and I will add some pics to your website. I usually see so many faded ads in and around NY and also when I travel out of town. I never really considered them works of art, although they always seemed interesting. Your website has given me a project to work on when I’m back up and running. Added you to my Favorites. Peace.

  36. Huwd, thanks and let me know when you get your camera!

  37. Dear Frank,

    Nice site! I have always loved old signs — fading, hit by sunlight — and the hints of a different age and immigrant groups that have inhabited our cities and landscape, and your shots do a great job of capturing them.

    I am doing a life history of my Dad’s life (just celebrated his 94th birthday) and am wondering if I could have permission to use one of your S. Klein Department store shots. He worked for Klein’s Department Store in Quincy, Illinois right before World War II. This would just be a way to give add an iconic flavor to his reminiscences. I will probably print up to 20 copies for family.

    He never mentioned “S. Klein” as the name. Was this a department store in Newark? I’m in Highland Park, N.J.

    Many thanks,


  38. Dear Rick-

    S. Klein’s had stores in the Northeast, with the flagship store in Union Square NYC. Good chance there was one in Illinois. Flattered that you want to use my image for your printed ephemera. Feel free to do so, and if you feel so inclined, feel free to make a donation to the Fading Ad Blog through PayPal if you can. I hope the link was helpful at Wikipedia.


  39. I never really paid much attention to the fading ads I’ve seen on walls but it’s nice to know that someone is out there capturing them before they disappear.

  40. great project! here in Ventura CA people have worked to preserve some of the building art like this.

    i love how your header art is a slide show!

  41. Hey thanks artpredator. The header slideshow is a new addition after I changed blog theme. Send me some fadepix of Ventura and I’ll feature them.

  42. i’ll see what i can do!

  43. Great site! I enjoyed exploring it…you have done a great job here.

  44. Thanks so much tothewire. Had an Internet presence for around 9 years with my website but I had to bite the bullet and blog. Lileks was one of my early mentors, used to write to me on occasion and share his fades from Chicago. His blog is huge.

  45. tothewire- when did you start your blog?

  46. Just 2 months ago…does it show?

  47. it must not have surprised you…lol

  48. Thanks for your kind words. I’m really enjoying the blogging experience and have passed the compulsion over to my students who are starting to blog as well with their school blog I created for them. Check it out if you can http://blog.ps119amersfort.com

    Be well

  49. Thank you for sharing that is an amazing site! I imagine it is a great tool for your students and other teachers as well!

  50. I was wandering the net and found your blog by chance. I’m really touched by the ad photos, thank you for this beautiful experience.

  51. Frank — I really enjoy the old family photos – they’re great! Looks like a great family, fun times, and love. When I look at old family photos, I stare for a long time (it seems), as if I’m waiting for them to say something. I hope they whisper something wonderful to you. ==Paul

  52. Thanks Paul- Mom gave me a suitcase full of stuff that has become a treasure-trove of posting material. Didn’t think it would be of interest at first but the response has been good. We were in Florida over the holiday! Just checked out where Sorrento is in relation to I-95. We didn’t stray too far from the interstate this trip. We are definitely driving down again. Best,

  53. Nice blog. Fading ads have always caught my eye and impressed my soul with some of the themes you’ve mentioned. It’s nice to see someone has captured this uniquely significant phenomena so artfully.

    Best to you.

  54. Thank you April. How did you stumble upon my blog? I will check yours out as well. Artists Unite!

  55. I came to your site as a Hollywood bread fan.

    After seeing your pictures, I am also a

    fadingad fan. Thank you for sharing these

    wonderful pictures.

  56. Frank, I have so enjoyed reading your blog and it has piqued my interest in fading ads. After my husband died in 2004, I found myself drawn back to the city of my birth, New York and developed an interest in its history. I would take a bus in from suburbia and attend walking tours or just wander about different neighborhoods, photography anything that struck my fancy. Eventually I realized so many things I assumed would be there the next time, would be gone the next time I revisited an area. I started reading many blogs, forgotten-ny, vanishing New york, etc and came across yours. I now photograph fading signs also. Anyway, I just read your recent entry concerning Belinda Hogan of Brisbane, Australia and her work there. I so enjoyed her interview with you which read like a wonderful dialogue between two people of similar minds. Have you ever seen the movie, 87 Charing Cross Road with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft? If you haven’t, you should. The relationship between the two characters, one in New York, the other in England, reminds of the written exchanges in this film. I hope that you and Ms. Hogan get the opportunity to meet someday. I was also wondering if you ever hold any classes in New York that the public can attend.

  57. Dear Laura- I don’t give classes but have had walking tours in the past through the Brooklyn Historical Society. Since I’ve become an elementary school teacher I haven’t had much time for anything else. I will certainly rent the movie 87 Charing Cross Road since I’ve heard about it and have always loved the work of both actors. Let me know when you plan to come to NY and I can suggest a walking path of interest.


  58. Thanks, Frank. I am not as familiar with Brooklyn, maybe you can give me some pointers on a walk. I hope you enjoy the movie.


  59. Love the blog. Have you been to the restaurant Sidecar on Fifth Ave & 15th St (Park Slope)? There is a great vintage sign they uncovered inside the restaurant. Originally it was an exterior wall. It is for an elixir. Great food & drink too.

    Also, are you familiar with the work of Bernd & Hilla Becher?

    Keep on shooting!

  60. I saw the restaurant but didn’t eat there. Food’s good? Gotta check it out.

  61. Pingback: Fading Ads Blog feature on Brooklyn Review « BRIC Community Media

  62. I have photographs of a 1923 ad for Wrigley’s P.K. gum that was just uncovered after a fire damaged wall was torn down. I’ll be posting then on my blog this Thursday. Although there is some fire damage, over all the art doesn’t look all that bad off for being 85 years old.

  63. Cool beans Gregg! Looking forward to Thursday. Shoot me a link and I’ll feature you. Best, Frank

  64. I have a very old bottle that has a sticker on the bottom of it that says “Bonwit teller” on it. It is a Bourbon bottle that has a pewter encasing on it. Its very mysterious looking and I can not figure out where it came from? We found it under my mother in laws house and her house was built in the 40`s or 50`s. Please help!

  65. i am looking for the vermeer hotel on 7th ave.
    any elp would be apce.

  66. Ricki Randall Zunk

    Just found your photos today. Saw the photos of the “Saul Rendelstein” site. RENDELSTEIN is my paternal family line. It is such a rare surname that after 30+ years of genealogical research, we’ve learned that anyone, anywhere, at any time in history with that surname is related to the rest of us. Saul (1880-1954) was a merchant who specialized in plumbing supplies. His children were Sylvia (1910-1987) – by his first wife (Tillie), and then Nathaniel (1925-1931), and Judith Claire (1932-1996) – by his second wife (Aida). I’m still trying to find living members of Saul’s family – they would be his grandchildren by his daughter Judith.

  67. Thanks Ricki! I hope you get in touch with them!

  68. I just came across your great old photos of the life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex model from the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. In case you’re not aware of this, Rex is alive and well and lives near Glen Rose, Texas at Dinosaur Valley State Park:


    Dinosaur Valley S.P. is a particularly apt place for a fading icon like Rex, as you can still see fading advertisements for the Cretaceous Period in the exposed bedrock uncovered by the Paluxy River.

  69. Hello,

    I was thrilled to see “Keystone Paint and Varnish” pictures on your site. My great great grandfather ran the company until my great grandfather sold it to Valspar in the 1960’s or so. What rare images you have! The clock by chance, where did you retrieve it? What a beauty! And is it for sale? I know that it is probably not but might as well ask right?

    I would love some of your feedback. You just made my night!

  70. Hey, great site! I love the old paint throughout the greater New York area. I’ve been taking some photos of it for a bit now and was going to start to post them to my tumblr account. Will definitely link out to your site! (Stumbled upon you by a search for the “Gowns and Wraps” paint on 65th/Lex).

  71. Hey Mike- Thanks for the shout out. Looking forward to featuring your stuff. Let me know when you post. Best, Frank

  72. Hi There-

    I’ve really enjoyed perusing the beautiful collection of photos here. There is such beauty in these these ads even though they are only a whisper of their former selves. Maybe that makes them all the more beautiful.

    I’m glad I found your blog, it’s lovely. Thanks for documenting~

    Take Care-

  73. Lawrence S. Rothenberg

    This is for Ricki Randall Zunk, who was searching for quite some years I gather about my family. Saul Rendelstein was my grandfather and Ada Meyers Rendelstein was my grandmother (she died when I was 11; my grandfather died before my birth). My mother, Judith C. Rendelstein (later Rothenberg) died a number of years ago; she had three children and two grandchildren.

    I hope that this was of interest to you.

  74. Hello Frank, I’ve written to you before, I have picture’s that are similar to the ones, you’ve taken, in Great Fall, Montana, and I think Helena, love your website.

  75. Thanks Kevin. Would love to see your shots. Best, Frank

  76. Have you ever been to Erie, PA? You should visit before the city destroys anymore old shop buildings–they have lot’s of them here, with vintage ads on them, some that I think are remnants from the previous turn of the century! It’s a moderate city, with lot’s of run-down areas, but it’s got character and I think you’d love it. 🙂

  77. Thanks Victoria- we made it to Sharon PA just south of there a few years ago. Now that we have the RV, it is a definite destination. ❤
    Take care, Frank

  78. hey mr. jump. i had got a call, a robcall talkin say no to gay marriage, then i was like let me see there pg and they got all this crazy bullshit. and i been working on a speech that i want everyone to here, so people can really understand us. theres people out there thats saying the wrong thing, dont know what to say, and got the fake gays thats making people think its a choice and its makin us look bad. while what im tryna say is can u help me be able to talk to new york with everyon watching meaning news, papers, etc. i know u know alot about politics and activists n stuff. get back to me soon and also check out these idiots website it pissed me off. http://www.nationformarriage.org

    • Dear Phedora- So glad you dropped by to chat. I feel your frustration. There will always be people who will hate us- either out of fear, ignorance, or their true commitment to their Bible that we are evil. NOM (National Organization for Marriage) is committed to keeping marriage sacred in their eyes. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone else marriage can affect anyone else. Perhaps they are afraid we will do it better. Many LGBTQs don’t even believe in marriage.

      I married Vincenzo in 2004 when you were still a student at 171 on Valentine’s Day basically because I was told I couldn’t. Most people in Europe don’t even marry anymore. Straight people. But when you create laws for one group of people and laws for another group, we are not equal. These laws will eventually get repealed. Just like the Civil Rights movement, justice will be served. But perhaps not in my lifetime. Hopefully yours.

      So you want to fight. That is good. But fight in a way that you don’t get hurt. Fight by civil protest (non-violent) that is creative and dramatic. Obviously you want to draw attention, but good attention. There are youth groups and activist groups (like ACT UP) that could use some young blood like yours. Go to the Lesbian & Gay Center in Manhattan and ask around. Join a group that suits you and stay committed. Plan actions, and keep your cool. We will prevail. Don’t hesitate to contact me again. All the best, Mr. Jump

  79. I want to ask you permission to use, with credit of course, the image you shot of the Poultry Market, Jersey City, NJ. My late husband worked there after his father died when he was eight years old. I am making a memorial short doc of him and would like your permission for use. I am an independent film maker and the film will be used for educational purposes, not-for-profit. My husband was a Zen monk

  80. How did you ever find this faded gem:

    It is located on GERTRUDE AVENUE in a hard to find out-of- the-way place in Worcester, Massachusetts. In the 1940’s , the sign said: “WORCESTER CITY DELIVERY” and was the garage for a very busy trucking company all during World War II. After the war, the trucking company moved to another part of Worcester and for a time the garage was used as an auto painting shop. BTW, the original name of the avenue was “The Old Wyoming Site”

  81. You know Tom – it’s the luck of the draw. We come into a town often surreptitiously and we find what we find. I caught a glimpse of this ad from the Main Street and scrambled up the hill to the street. Thank you for the historical anecdote. I will add it to the page! Best, Frank

  82. It was surprising to see my painting on your site. I really knew practically nothing about Mr Rubel and now I do. As far as the image , I found it “somewhere” in one of my many books. It actually was the “Rubel Factory” and I used it as the rough basis for my painting simply because I paint Brooklyn and I liked the aesthetics of the image. It nice to discover your site. Keep up the good work.

  83. hello,
    very interesting obsession that i’m sharing..
    for me, the quality of the graphic sign has to be mixed with a nice geometric building to make really a good picture refering to the greatest american phtographers.
    i’m coming soon in the north of usa (montana, N&S dakota, michigan…) to catch some ! if you’ve some advices or some special interesting places to teach me…
    you can see my actual french pictures on “emmanuel-georges.com” (serie = photo2000).
    thank you and good luck !

  84. Having spent my formative years (1950-1965) in Brooklyn, USA, I now find myself a transplanted Yankee in Richmond, VA. Since last July I have been photographing landmarks around Richmond for my Facebook feature “Where in River City is Bert’s camera?” I have become fascinated with all the old fading ads around here. Some of the more than 300 pix I have posted have in that genre. I found your blog because you posted a Richmond sign in 2009 that I posted this week. I will keep checking in.

  85. Hello from Austria. Wonderful pictures. Please send me an E-Mail, I would like to make a bigger print from one of the fading ads…
    Best wishes to dear Brooklyn, where I used to live a while ago

  86. Dear Frank, have you received my mails? I am waiting for your answer… 😉 I am interested in “Royal Paper Corporation” and maybe also “General Pencil Company”. Please write to me soon, thank you. Best wishes from rainy Vienna, Judith

    • Dear Judith, I have just sent you a reply. Best, Frank

    • Dear Judith- I will have a contract out to you for the Paper image by tomorrow morning. I’ve been so busy with work (teacher) and the school year is spiraling to an end. Will be in the Netherlands, Belgium and France at the end of June! Best, Frank

  87. Dear Frank,

    I am the grandson of Pat of Umberto Brother’s. Unfortunately he passed away 10 years ago. His brother Eugene (Gene) is still alive and i will be sure he sees this as well as the rest of the family.

    It is really nice to see the family legacy captured forever in history on the internet.

    Thank You

    Vincent Jacaruso Jr

  88. Dear Mr. Jump:

    I enjoy reading your blog, and was wondering if you would like to do a link exchange. My book blog’s url is educationanddeconstruction.com. Every week, I make a nonfiction book recommendation in the topic areas of education, history, technology, biography and/or humor. I have already put up your link. Please reply if you would like to do a link exchange. Thank you.


    Sally Friedman

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