Synopses & Reviews
A Photographic and Historical Record of the Cityand#8217;s Vanishing Advertisements
As the great city of New York moves, changes, and evolves every day, the few remnants of its past go unnoticed. New York Cityand#8217;s and#147;ghost signsand#8221; and#151;advertisements painted across the facades of buildings that date back to the 19th centuryand#151;are often invisible to the busy New Yorker, but defiantly conspicuous if only we turn our eyes and look upwards. These faded representations of the cityand#8217;s rich economic and social history are slowly disappearing before our eyes, but not before they were captured by this photographerand#8217;s lens.
At the tender age of sixteen, Ben Passikoff roamed around Manhattan with his camera to document these fascinating signsand#151;hand-painted messages written all over the city. This photographic collection features signs painted in the 1800s as well as in the 21st century; signs that advertise funeral homes, meat, and underwear; signs stretched across iconic buildings; and even signs that are no longer legible. Using his photographs as a looking-glass into the past, Passikoff provides insightful commentary on the economic, social, and historical significance of commerce in New York City, and its vanishing ghost signs, now preserved in this photographic record.
and#147;Passionately sought out and photographedand#133;the most exciting visual concept for a book about New York in many a year.and#8221; and#151;George Lois, legendary ad man and designer for Esquire
and#147;A quiet unassuming gem of a book thatand#133;offers up a procession of memories floating on the surface of the present.and#8221; and#151;Benno Schmidt, chairman of the board of CUNY and former president of Yale University
"Ben Passikoff has created an important record of the cultural, social, and commercial development of New York City in the 20th century." and#151;Gerald Protheroe, Ph.D., chairman of the history department at The Browning School
About the Author
Ben Passikoff started photographing old advertisements around his birth place of New York City when he joined the photography club in high school. His self-published book The Writing on the Wall was first launched at The New York Historical Society, in whose archives his photos now reside. He is the youngest contributor in the Societyand#8217;s 212 year history. Ben works as a freelance writer and filmmaker in New York City, New York.