As South Brooklyn folk know, the old St. Clair Restaurant at the corner of Atlantic and Smith was recently given a redo, complete with shiny new sign. Between the time when the old sign was being taken down and the new one installed, an even older sign (see far below) was briefly revealed. Such "reveals" are quite common in these days of widespread construction and renovation. Old signs, it seems, never die. They're just covered up.
Walking by the diner recently, I peered closely at the space between the new sign and the awning and—sure enough!—it became clear as day that the builders has not taken down the very oldest sign. They just left it there and built over it.
That means that some day in the future, when the latest owners of the St. Clair decide to renovate the restaurant anew, Brooklynites will once again be stunned and surprised by the uncovering of the original brown-and-cream-colored metal sign. The cycle continues and the archaeological dig that is New York City takes on one more layer.