09 April 2010

Eternal Liquor on Eighth

Liquor stores are some of the most unheralded relics of old New York. There are dozens of booze shops throughout the boroughs that very likely opened in 1934, after Prohibition was repealed, and are still there, using the same gaudy neon sign and cramped interiors. Few of them make a big deal of being 75 years old. It's not liquor-store style. They just sell spirits, not history.

Cambridge Wine & Liquor on Eighth and 39th is one of this sort. It's got the huge red "Liquors" sign up top and, at the corner, a vertical sign, just as old, pointing to its location. For all that ballyhoo, it's a small shop. Maybe it was once bigger.

Funny thing about Cambridge is the address was a liquor store before Prohibition as well as after. According to a New York Times article, there was a liquor store at this address (594 Eighth) in 1911, when a man wielding an ax (!) was shot by a policeman and pursued into the store.


Upstate Johnny G said...

Brooks, thanks for another AWESOME sign! I love period neon signs like this one. I especially like the combo of the horizontal and vertical signs. For me the urban nighttime landscape is much more exciting when I can look down the street and see a long line of vertical neon signs facing me. Looking from across the street a long run of neon signage with both horizontal and vertical elements makes a sort of dentil molding shaped by light. The variation of color, line, and wording gives any street a lift; signifying activity, excitement, welcome....in short, iife. Hooray for neon.

Ken Mac said...

not just a good sign, a great sign !

Unknown said...

Another old-time liquor store with a great neon sign is Mitchell's on W. 86th and Amsterdam. Stumbled upon it recently.

Here's an older photo; the store is now covered by scaffolding:

123neonsigns said...

I love period neon signs ! i especially love to see old photos from the 40's of urban landscape with lots of neon signs and exiting nightlife in the background.

JJM said...

Nice classic neon signs and the history that goes with them ,Thank you!!