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Ghost Signs: Clues to Downtown New York’s Past

Frank Mastropolo

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New York City’s oldest neighborhoods are downtown, where scores of timeworn ads have improbably survived for decades. These "ghost signs" hold the secrets of businesses and products that vanished decades ago. Clues to our jobs, schools, places of worship, cafes, and concert halls lurk in their faded outlines. Journalist and television producer Frank Mastropolo brings more than 100 of these signs to life through insightful commentary on the history of downtown’s distinct neighborhoods and the eclectic businesses that anchored them during the first half of the 20th century. The collection offers an important and timely look at New York City’s rich economic and social fabric, especially today, when long-established businesses are rapidly being priced out of their neighborhoods.

Size: 9" x 6" | 125 color and b/w images | 128 pp
ISBN13: 9780764358319

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Frank Mastropolo is a veteran journalist, photographer, and television network news producer who has documented hundreds of New York City’s ghost signs. A lifelong resident of the Lower East Side, he has unearthed the stories behind hundreds of the city’s faded ads. His series on ghost signs and the history of New York’s long-forgotten cafes, jazz clubs, and rock halls appears in New York magazine’s Bedford+Bowery blog.