05 November 2009

Cigars and Rooms

There are many faded advertisements painted on building walls in this City, but his survivor in Times Square may be my favorite. I may like it so much because it is in Times Square, where so much has changed in the last decade. It's amazing that it's still there and hasn't been torn down, painted over or built in front of.

I also like it because it's not just one ad, it's two—one painted over the other. The first and bigger one was for cigars. The diagonal rectangle is a picture of a cigar box, the brand of which I can't make out. The words read "Society Smoke" on one side and "Cigars" on the other. There's still quite a lot of color left in what must have been a brightly hued ad in its heyday.

At some point, however, the owner of a hotel or boarding house painted over part of the cigar box to advertise, "Furnished Rooms. 1 * 2 * 3. Steam Heat. Housekeeping. Hot and Cold Water." The wording is so redolent of an older, early 20th-century Times Square, one of hopeful and hopeless people coming and going, trying to make it, getting by, living out of a rented, furnished room and a bath. Could very well have been an ad for the building it's painted on, which is still a house of lodging, albeit not a very nice one.


Ken Mac said...

where is this please?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Eighth Ave and 44th. Around there.