Ghost Signs 2

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Ghost signs hold the secrets of businesses and products that vanished decades ago. Clues to our jobs, schools, places of worship, cafs, and concert halls are hidden in their stories. New York City's neighborhoods, from 14th Street to its northernmost point, contain scores of timeworn ads that have improbably survived for decades, and journalist and television producer Frank Mastropolo has captured their stories. Often, a storefront renovation yields the discovery of a sign that has been long obscured. Familiar brands like Studebaker and Horn & Hardart's Automat live on in these faded ads. Other more-puzzling signs refer to streetcars, snake oil cure-alls, and the forgotten aspects of city life. All are part of more than 100 photos and stories that sketch uptown New York's economic and social fabric over the past century.