Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hidden signs

Somebody call Dan Brown, because there are hidden signs all over Stamford!

OK, so they're not secret symbols of the Illuminati; they're actually much cooler. Back in the days before internet pop-up ads and stadium naming rights, one of the best ways to market your product, service or store was to paint a big freakin' sign on the side of a building. Forgotten NY has a page full of these ads.

Surprisingly, a few of these old-school ads have actually survived on some buildings right here in Stamford. Check out my pictures -- and feel free to email me if you have vintage pictures of them or if you know of any that I missed.

On the side of 109 Atlantic Street, where Uncle Dai's Precious Dynasty inhabits the ground floor, is an ad for the "something" Candy Co. All I can make out is that they sold ice cream for 5 cents.

Just to the left of that ad is a very faint remnant of the Coca-Cola logo.

This sign on the side of 84 West Park Place is so faded that all I can make out is "Stamford House" (?) across the top and an H and a U between the windows. Any guesses?

On the side of the old Advocate building at 258 Atlantic Street is an ad for the Stamford Advocate, naturally. (You can just make out the "-ATE" in Advocate.) Incidentally, this building is for sale for the low, low price of $4.5 million.

According to the Atlantic Street railroad bridge, the safest place in Connecticut is 3000 Summer Street, which I hope is true since it's the home of José Grant Jewelry.

Hundreds of people pass under the Elm Street railroad bridge every day, but how many have noticed this very old ad for U.S. Royal Tires?

And finally, here's my favorite set of painted signs.

This is the old home of the Pacific Plumbing & Heating Supply Company on Pacific Street in the South End. Right on the front of the building, the company name is painted under that big arch.

On the north side of the building you'll find this fading beauty. It looks like there are several signs painted over each other, with the most prominent one advertising Schleicher & Sons' High Grade something...

A view of the other side of the building reveals that this was once a piano factory! This is a very cool sign, and it's very well-preserved.

A closer look at some of the details reveals that they actually made player pianos. How cool is that? The only link I could find about the Schleicher family is this thread on a Genealogy.com message board.

In the top left corner, you can see an even more faded sign for The Pacific Plumbing Company. That would make Pacific Plumbing even older than the player piano factory!

As a little bonus, here's a shot of another relic of the past:

These are spots on Elm Street near I-95 where the pavement has been worn away all the way down to the brick. I can't even begin to guess at how old these bricks must be.

Bonus #2: While I was working on this post, The Times wrote this article about NYC's fading ads. You can see these all over the city or at these cool sites:
Fading Ad Blog
14to42.net, which features this awesome example: 33rd Street.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hide the evidence!

If you've got incriminating documents like John Rowland or Joe Ganim, head down to Seaside Tavern this Saturday and let On-Site Shredding destroy them for you.

For just $25 for the first box and $5 for each additional one, they'll turn those naughty emails and shady "waste management" contracts into confetti.

Now I can finally get rid of these old copies of Tiger Beat -- I mean Guns & Ammo!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fighting blight with SHAME (and fines)

You may be shocked to learn that in a city with some of the most expensive real estate in the country, there are numerous dilapidated and run-down houses. Thanks to a change in state law, the City of Stamford can begin to directly address these derelict structures. Here's the Advocate article.

On top of fines and the City's new ability to use blight funds to fix derelict properties, the other tool in this battle is a
public list of blighted properties! Take that, absentee landlords and property owners! Shame: it's not just for dinner anymore.

Now if only they could use the blight ordinances against the owners of The Hole...

Friday, May 14, 2010

How does Superman zip up his pants?

With a Super Fly!!

The Avon is showing this blaxploitation gem next Thursday as part of their Cult Classic series. They have some awesome Cult Classics coming up this summer, including Airplane!, Escape from New York, Jaws and Animal House!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gold diggers

No, this isn't a rant about trophy wives. Rather, everybody's favorite non-profit animal shelter, PAWS, is holding a rather unorthodox fundraiser this weekend. Your unwanted gold and jewelry can help doggies and kitties!

From their press release:

On Saturday, May 15th from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday, May 16th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm you can bring your old jewelry, broken necklaces, gold coins, old wedding rings, that ingot you received from work for that "Top Performer" award that is just sitting in your sock drawer collecting dust - anything gold, platinum or silver - for a free evaluation. If you decide to sell, Gold Buying USA will donate a portion back to PAWS! You can even donate jewelry to PAWS, and we will receive the entire amount of its value!

And there's an added bonus! Tell the appraiser that "PAWS sent you" and they will increase your appraisal by 5%!

The buying event will be held at the Stamford Marriott, 243 Tresser Boulevard (across from the Stamford Town Center).

Now I'm off to train my dog to dig for gold!! Just kidding - I don't have a dog. But if I did...

Monday, May 3, 2010

South End Police HQ?

While driving around the South End, I came upon this forgotten relic at Pacific and Market Streets:

It's an abandoned police station (obviously), but one with a misleading blue police sign on the post out front. How old is this building? When did the Stamford Police last staff the booking desk? Are there any future plans for its reuse?

Here's a picture taken through dirty glass of a beautifully painted Stamford Police shield:

It looks like BLT owns it, since there's a letter posted inside the front door from 2009 asking the second-floor tenant to kindly contact BLT management. It would be a shame to lose another historic or even semi-historic building in Stamford. Maybe they can turn it into apartments (luxury, of course!) like the former NYPD headquarters at 240 Centre Street. $4,000,000 to live down the street from Fairway? Sold!