NEW YORK (PIX11) — When an Upper West Side deli closed and the storefront and sign were taken down, an amazing piece of New York City history was revealed.
Behind 103 Grocery & Flower’s generic sign hid a gorgeous Art Deco neon sign from another time.
Although age has worn the name of the delicatessen on 103rd Street and Broadway, a tipster told the West Side Rag the sign belongs to a family owned store called Hudes.
“They were there in the late 1930’s into the 50’s when they opened the Carnegie Delicatessen on 56th Street and 7th Avenue,” Manhattan Mark wrote. “Whenever I was with my mother at Hudes, Mrs. Hudes made me a salami sandwich on a 1/2 slice of rye for free, the mustard was wrapped in a cone shaped piece of brown wax paper.”
Longtime New Yorkers are calling it a great find.
"The neighborhood is changing so much, so quickly," said preservationist and photographer Everett Scott. "To have the history unveiled like this is very exciting."
"What I like about it, it's kind of like when you tear down a building and you see the ghost of an old building," one passerby said.
It's unclear what new store will again hide the vintage sign.
"It was the quintessential Mom & Pop neighborhood store, with wonderful owners," Manhattan Mark added.
When the Manhattan deli closed, the generic sign went down. Lurking just behind for decades was a remarkable surprise -- this gorgeous Art Deco sign. Notice the sumptuous font, the choice of the words "delicatessen" and "sandwich shop." This sits right outside the 103rd and Broadway subway station, but it couldn't be farther in spirit and civic value from a "Subway" sandwich shop. Also, notice the holes where neon tubing once existed, and observe that an even older sign appears to be behind this one, as you can see from older lettering coming through on the left. How long was this hidden? Did this last see the light of day in the 40s? 50s? Maybe 60s? Well, it's 2014 and there it is again. For now. In a city with so many layers, these retail revelations happen from time to time, but this one is truly extraordinary, and is a welcome if frustrating reminder of a lost city, of a time when signs and stores like this were part of Gotham's heartbeat. H/T to David Freeland, from whom I learned of this, and @verahaller, who alerted me on Instagram to this precious find.
"In a city with so many layers, these retail revelations happen from time to time, but this one is truly extraordinary," said Rolando Pujol, PIX11's executive producer of digital, who took photos of the remarkable find, "and is a welcome if frustrating reminder of a lost city, of a time when signs and stores like this were part of Gotham's heartbeat."