The sign for this Italian-American grocery was assembled from a series of glazed tiles fitted together in line. Since the time of its installation — the 1930s is a good bet, by the look of the typeface — one tile has slipped a bit.
"Fruits" is interesting. Perhaps the signmaker need one more word to balance the design, or perhaps it marks a time when fresh fruit was less easy to come by, and so more worthy of note. Cured, less perishable items, on the other hand, would certainly have been part of the stock in trade. Is it just a coincidence that the grocery was mere steps away from Olive St.?
Linzalato Canio Surviving signage, 855 Grand St. (Bushwick Ave.-Olive St.), Willamsburg, Brooklyn
Domestic cottonseed oil mustn't be misrepresented as imported olive oil, the Department of Agriculture confirmed for the Korbro Oil Corp. in 1935. Cans of salad oil were "alleged to be misbranded in that the word 'Oil', together with the statement, 'Recommended for the Italian Trade', the vignette of a woman in foreign costume, presumably Italian, and the Italian landscape in background, appearing on the label, were misleading and tended to deceive and mislead the purchaser." Under a consent decree, the product was released under bond and permitted to be relabeled — and repacked, too, since "sample cans taken from the lot were found to be short volume."
A modest sign for a later tenant of the building, Montrose Smoked Fish, is also extant; on this afternoon, construction next door cluttered the view.
For this humble, out-of-fashion example of the typographer's art, the letters were cut from wood, painted, then mounted with screws. Several, such as the "W" and "N", were fashioned from multiple pieces stapled together. The sign might have been commissioned by Junibois, but more likely it was made at the behest of some long-forgotten predecessor — when a simple "I" fell victim to some mishap, the owner at the time used a shortcut to fill the gap.
"Breweries" caught my eye, but only after several years. In April 2010, when I first photographed this overlapping set of signs for a custom supplier of pipe and fittings, it was difficult enough just to make out the company name. Appliquéd artwork and spray-painted tags have since added to the visual hubbub. On a recent return visit, I saw this building in a different light, literally.
It's fascinating to imagine a time, a century ago, when many breweries were opening and expanding nearby. So many, in fact, that they would be called out in business-to-business advertising — not only in the papers but also in public, painted signs.
Any excuse is a good excuse for butternut squash (doughnut, $1.50). Rockville's recipe uses the farm's own eggs, too.
Rockville Market Farm Starksboro, Vermont www.RockvilleMarketFarm.com At Smorgasburg, April till mid-November Saturday: 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, Dumbo, Brooklyn
Hatch chile peppers — an umbrella term for several varieties of medium-hot, very flavorful chiles grown near tiny Hatch, New Mexico, and still uncommon in New York — are the namesake attraction. They dress up the Southwestern frybreads called sopapillas (three for $9), for this order stuffed with "hand-pulled" chicken that was duly chunky but otherwise humdrum. Next time, maybe the carne adovada.
Zia Green Chile Company At Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Saturdays during the warmer months www.ZiaGreenChileCo.com
In full sunlight, it's easy to see that this bindle of sweetened coconut black sticky rice ($3) is actually coconut purple sticky rice. The distinction is mainly an aesthetic one: If you eat it like khao lam, you'll have a slightly more colorful set of stains on your fingertips. The sticky rice, served warm, would be even better (noted a commenter in another forum) if complemented by slices of chilled in-season mango.
Queen Cobra Thai During the warmer months, at Smorgasburg Saturday: 90 Kent Ave. (North 7th-North 8th Sts.), Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday: Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park www.Facebook.com/queencobrathai