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NY Ephemera #1

In New York now it’s easier than ever to find out about things you’d been curious about for years.  Intrigued by palimpsests, I’ve always wondered about those old F.M. Ring painted ads about a dozen stories up on several old buildings in the Twenties.  I assumed they were many decades old but failed to notice until my last visit that there was no telephone exchange name, like CH5-4565.  The ads must be no older than the Sixties, probably late Sixties because there are 7-digit numbers painted there.

Faded a bit, but how old?

Faded a bit, but how old?

I opened up my phone and Googled it.  Ah, I saw others have wondered about them too.  Ring bought up to 20 properties in the area in the 70’s and early 80’s, designated for conversion and later resale.  I suppose they wanted to ‘flip’ (a parlance they wouldn’t have used then, and I suspect not even now) the buildings and make a little money.

The trouble is they’ve always looked the same.  I’ve never seen anyone come in or out of there, what’s the deal?  Apparently other area building owners don’t like these guys too much.  They still own the properties, they’re like real estate hoarders. They must all be old school New Yorkers.  I bet they all smoke cigars.  Then half a block up I noticed this:IMG_3346

Wow. A building so full of goods that it’s all literally piled up to the windows.  Was this an F.M. Ring building?  I rounded the corner of 25th Street and Broadway and realized this stuff (a definite code violation and fire hazard) is meant for sale in one or more of the many stores on Broadway between 25th and 28th.  These places are where locals go to buy cheap clothes and size XL a jillion white t-shirts.  I bought a stack of polo shirts there a few years ago, jostling with kids from Brooklyn and the Bronx, huge hefty bags filled with t-shirts meant for resale at Fulton Mall or wherever.

Here's another, with the Empire State in the background

Here’s another, with the Empire State in the background

It’s nice to be able to find these things out on the sidewalk.  I’d like to think that’s why you see so many people in New York with their heads down, typing furiously as they skillfully avoid other pedestrians.  But no, they’re probably just tweeting, letting F.M. Ring and anonymous fire code violators lie low a little bit longer.

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