nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-22Pinto’s and Ernie’s, Thompson at West 3rd. (NYU)

Author Thomas Rinaldi, who wrote the book New York Neonis the guide for our tour of Greenwich Village’s Disappearing Neon Signs. Here, he shares the neon signs to be found in a black and white vintage photography collection from NYU Archives.

In 2012, a new online archive of historic photographs was released by New York University.  The collection, whose formal name is the “Washington Square Park (New York, N.Y.), Washington Square Area, and Campus Buildings Image Collection,” reveals a treasury of midcentury New York neon that once lit the streets around NYU’s Greenwich Village campus. 

In my book, I assert that neon signs characterized the streetscapes of the midcentury city. Especially in Greenwich Village, the signs were such a characteristic part of the cityscape that almost any  assemblage of photographs from the period will be rife with classic neon. Dozens of neon signs appear in the NYU photos. One or two are still in place – keep an eye out for the Back Fence and Monte’s Restaurant. But most are long vanished. Enjoy a few cropped samples here below and be sure to check out the full collection at dlib.nyu.edu.  

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-17The Greenwich Hotel, Bleecker Street, looking west toward Sullivan. (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-16Renaissance Liquors, Bleecker Street between Sullivan and MacDougal. (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-15The Art Theatre and Sea Village, Eighth Street, looking west from Greene St. (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-14Cinderella, on West 3rd Street between Thompson and Sullivan. (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-18The Captain’s Table, on Sixth Avenue South right next to Bigelow’s. Zoomed in inspection next to the letter E reveals this as the work of the Globe Neon Sign Co (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-20Googie’s Bar, opposite Vanderbilt Hall, 1981. (NYU)

nyu-archive-greenwich-village-neon-signs-thomas-rinaldi-nyc-21Tilli’s Luncheonette, at Mercer and West 4th, 1965. (NYU)

vintage-photo-greenwich-village-neon-signs-nyu-archive-nycThe Greenwich Hotel, Bleecker Street, looking west toward Sullivan. (NYU)

Join our next tour on of Greenwich Village’s disappearing neon signs, led by Thomas Rinaldi on Wednesday, September 21st at 7:30 pm: 

Next, trace the history of the neon sign at the White Horse Tavern and discover the secrets of Greenwich Village.

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