Day 4: NY Mini Trip Wrap-Up

Back to our routine here.  The dogs got their usual park run this morning and have four days of sleep to catch up on.  I’ve got my big screen TV and leftover chocolates.  So it’s almost nice to be home.  If only I didn’t have to work tonight.

A very productive day yesterday.  But it was still frustrating having the sun fade at 6pm and having to put away the list and remaining maps. I was tempted to stay another night and shoot some more stuff in the morning before heading home.  But for once, I did the sensible thing.

Let’s start the show with this one in Owego – at Owego Soft Serve.  I assume this world’s cutest ice cream truck is driving around locally:

Just down the road still in Owego — an unidentified mini golf course which must be owned by Metro’s Restaurant next door.  The course itself looks new — fresh brickwork and greens.  I don’t know the history of the sign but I assume it’s been repurposed either from a previous business here or brought from somewhere else.  Love the neon trio of club, ball and hole:

This fun plastic sign is from Candor.  According to the owner, it was originally the Brush & Palette Tavern:

A decently intact Imperial 400 Motel in Cortland.  More about the chain here:
Flickr group here:

I was anxious to reshoot this place since the last time I shot it in 2007, it was pretty much at night:
But today was painting day.  So I’ll revisit Cortland yet again another time.  This was believed to be a gas station originally.  A Texaco possibly initially.  A Hess later on.  But it’s been Coffee Mania for many years now.  They are sprucing up here — yellow and purple paint to match the company’s logo.

Not enough doggie pix on this trip for some of you.  So here’s one of Grippie and one of her peculiar, adorable habits.  Before settling in for a good long snooze, she does that puppy/kitten thing of blankie sucking, combined with paw kneading and eye rolling.

In Cortland in the afternoon, we finally got real sun — not the overcast murky stuff — and pretty clouds.  True, this is not one of the building eras that I normally shoot — but this one looked so good illuminated.  And even more heroic without adjacent buildings which must’ve been there originally:

Also in Cortland:  an unexpected used car lot sputnik.  I put a close-up of it over at Flickr last night:
(see caption at that photo for a link to more signs of this same style)

I’ve always loved this sign in Vestal.  The swimmer, bubbles, lettering — all embossed:

In Endicott — a mid-century, flower power-ish sign on a metal slipcover — superimposed over what looks like a 1940s storefront:

Painted plywood mowing woman — never noticed her before — maybe she’s new?

Still hanging in there — in Endwell:

On to Binghamton – a little strip of stores.  Ellis Bros. still open & the sign lit (even here during the day).  Phil’s Gift Shop is vacant though.

Both of these stores are deep enough to have entrances and signs on two other streets.  Here’s the west side of Ellis.  Perfect vitrolite tile and a reworked neon sign:

And here’s the south side of former Phil’s.  Check out the variety of display windows here.  Makes you try to imagine what every street in America used to look like with all those glorious window displays.  When people really DID walk around downtown and window shop.

This one caught my eye downtown — and then I realized — nut shop!  Followers of my blog know that I have a thing for nuts.  Had to pull over….

and seeing that door mat… I couldn’t pull it back fast enough since I had my suspicions.  Most nut shops were originally Planters Peanuts shops — and sure enough, this was one! 

Opened 1923 or so and still had the original peanut roasting machine inside.  It’s still in use but unfortunately no more Mr. Peanut riding it.  Great display cases and old-time atmosphere.  I got my usual:  a half pound of Bridge Mix.  It’s fantastic and I’m especially happy that there are no Whoppers in there.  For more former Planters shops, see this page at my site:

Last stop of the trip was in Deposit where the light began fading.  So we’ll end this photo round there.  Pretty much as this trip’s blog posts began back in Peekskill — with a vitrolite storefront:

and a couple fun signs:

Thanks for tagging along and entertaining me with your comments.  I hope you enjoyed the brisk air and fall foliage and glimpses of things in the Empire State.   Back with another mini trip soon.  Hopefully, in just a month or so.  The “What’s New” page at the site has a list for the where & when:


Day 4: quick hi from home

The dogs & I are safely home.  I’ll post the final blog post in the morning.  I’ve got the batch of photos all set to go but not enough umph to write right now.

Some general wrap-up talk.  I didn’t keep track of gas cost or miles for this trip.  But I can report no tickets if you’re keeping score.  Which is especially a good thing since tickets “count” in New York state for me (DMV points and insurance).  According to both of them from my clean record, I always obey the speed limit (ha!) and never do crazy/illegal maneuvers.

It’s 20 degrees warmer in NYC than it was in the Catskills.  NY state is way bigger than I thought it was.  After these two mini trips, I STILL have at least a couple more days worth of stuff on my list to shoot.  Maybe I can sneak off at Thanksgiving weekend and wrap up if I don’t have to work.

Meet y’all back here in the morning.  Nothing like the bed at home….zzzzz.

Day 3: Miles and miles in SW New York

OK, so technically, it’s called the Southern Tier I think.  But anyway, I’m referring to that little corner of NY state that touches PA just before it becomes OH.  As west as you can get.  Since south would be NYC.   Anyhow.  Lots of highways, few destinations, few stumble-intos.  So a very low volume, slow news day here.  Somewhat crappy weather.  But not so nearly annoying since I was mostly behind the wheel.

The dogs got cemeteries and fields here and there.  They’re all excited when they see water but it’s far too cold for that.  I’m sure they think I’m a big meanie for not pulling over.  I believe I’ve seen Nik glaring at me from the back “this trip sucks”.

So let’s go to the photos.  Not many.  And I’m posting in a frenzy since it’s already morning.  I petered out early last night.  Looks like another grey day out there but I’ve got a ton of stops before I hit the highway for home.

From Jamestown.  A twirling plastic Pepsi sign.  No longer twirling.  Never seen one like it.   There’s a pool place below now — so I’m just glad this sign is there at all.

I’ve been shooting a lot of former Minute Man (later Kwik Fills) gas stations on this trip.  It seems this building style was mostly used in this corner of NY & PA.  I’ve got a bunch at my site but here’s an example of what they look like – one from Rochester:

Never have I seen one so drastically made-over though!  In Jamestown:

A cute/nice hand-painted sign from West Valley, NY.  Not so cute/nice what happens to the cows though:

Also in West Valley — “Real Stuff Gallery & Gifts”” — with neat sculptures:

Gosh, this sign in Springville sure looks like a repurposed Dog N Suds drive-in sign:
although the plastic panels sure look original.  I don’t know if there ever were DNS restaurants in NY.  So I have no explanation….

And last one for the day — from the Chuck Wagon in Olean.  Had to be inspired by Wendover Will:

Gotta get rolling.  Next post will be tomorrow morning since I’ll be driving home tonight and will be absolutely beat when I get there.

Day 2: Buffalo Boogie

Hopefully boogie makes you think of racing through someplace not “boogers”.  Though with my lingering congestion…

Got lots of good sun today.  Though the first several hours though were more like a cloudy translucent film between us and Mr. Sun.  And then evening came much too quick.  Out of decent light at 6pm.  Miss those long summer days where I can shoot til 8.  But then again, I’ll get more sleep this way.

Dogs got tons of exercise today.   In addition to their usual quick runs, we stopped at Buffalo’s Central Station renovation where it seems they’re building a park or at least a big green vista.  Leave it to the dogs and I to break it in properly with racing about.  Later in the day, we checked out Buffalo’s big dog park at La Salle Park right on Lake Erie.  Probably not a lot of fun in winter with the cold wind but must be great for summer relief.  My guys ran in the big dog section until some big dogs started ganging up on Nik for his ball.  Back to the little dog area where Grem ran with a Springer twice her size until he got tired and she started bullying him for more running.  Fixie spends her dog park time making new people friends, hopping from lap to lap.  Grip stays close to me — since she knows these dog park dogs are usually inexperienced socializers:  pushy, often aggressive, and just plain dumb.

So that covers the weather and the dogs — on with the photos!   The day began in Niagara Falls.  Here are a couple of the lesser, non-lit signs that remain.  Here’s one that’s had a few makeovers. I have no idea of the original name:

Probably no bit of Parisian-ness left at this place now:

Still in Niagara Falls.  I believe this was a Howard Johnson’s based on the orange roof tiles and the apparently missing steeple.  But then again, the building shape just doesnt’s seem right.  It’s almost like a merging of their gate lodge and restaurant buildings.  Or maybe I’m just tired and forgetting some layout.  Regardless, I was amused by the trading post makeover.  And the tourists at the right.  Koreans maybe?  They were all giddy over the helicopter ride taking place on the left of the frame.  I did the right thing and took a photo of the three of them together with their best camera.

Moving on to Buffalo.  OK, so this may look like ghostie Halloween decorations to you — but to a van full of terriers — this is 50 white rats on a lawn.  Insert sound effects of screaming and barking and humiliating pandemonium while Mom’s off shooting a building across the street.

This was today’s kick to the gut.  One of my fave Buffalo gas stations — now abandoned and denuded and probably doomed.  Here’s a scuzzy photo from 2005 for comparison:
Originally (1930s I believe), the wedding cake topper which is/was all glass and shone like a beacon.  Heavy sigh.

I went to one of those architectural salvage places hoping to get a glimpse of the old Tunmore Oldsmobile sign which I was told quite awhile back had been moved here.  Apparently, no longer there that I could see — but there was this wonderful sign instead.  No one to ask re: this one or the Tunmore sign since all locked up on a Sunday.  Apparently from a quick Google poke, Streng was another local Oldsmobile dealer which closed in 1998.  Oldsmobile was fond of rocket imagery in their ads and signs. But I haven’t seen another sign like this one though:

Voelker’s Bowling Center features these two “can’t-miss-it” rooftop signs —

and this smaller but much more interesting sign – unfortunately stuck behind nearly opaque plexiglass.  The other side was worse.  Certainly, this was fun animated neon originally with a rolling ball & flying pins:


OK – let’s go off on a tangent, shall we?  Parkside Candies.  If you haven’t been.  Go.  I’ve been before, many times.  But somehow, I missed this great sign back in the parking lot.  If you don’t already recognize it, that’s opal glass.  Translucent letters lit with bulbs from inside the sign.  Most of these signs, and they are really rare, have some breakage — which I find charming really since it draws attention to its construction and fragility.  I’m always on the prowl for these so if you discover any more of these, email me.  Immediately.

Here’s the building — and some interior shots.  For a close-up of the exterior sign, you’ll have to go over to my Flickr photos from tonight.

Ice cream as well — though I’ve never tried it:

And I was happy to plunk down $18-something to show my support.  As usual.  Them thar’s a big box o’ truffles.  And there’s probably only a slim chance that any of them will make it back to Brooklyn:

Moving on… to West Seneca.  Now, I can’t attest to the goodness of this place since I’m a vegetarian and all.  But if I were the meat-eating type, I’d probably give Schwabl’s a shot.  Since 1837 — and they’re obviously taking good care of that sign and keeping it on day and night.  Some nice gory meat photos at Flickr — but no good nighttime shots of the sign.  Come on folks!

On the reservation, the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation that is, Indian imagery is cool not racist.  These giant guys urge you to fill up your tank.  And so I did.

Meet you all back here tomorrow night — send more sun.

Day 1: New York Quickie Trip

The dogs and I are sneaking off for a few days.  Might be three or four days depending on the weather and my productivity.  This mini trip is an attempt to finish the previous NY trip where I had to ditch the entire Buffalo to NYC southern path when time ran out.  Two interfering circumstances on this little trip:

#1:  We’re in a “mixed weather pattern” — having just had a brush with a Nor’easter.  I’ve been studying the forecast all week.  Expected sun today but got clouds and sprinkles.  Dammit.  As soon as I finished some stops around Albany and hit the interstate for a few hours, naturally, the sun came out.  Didn’t get to my destination (just west of Buffalo) until late afternoon — so I didn’t get to capitalize photo-wise on the weather but it was very pretty, fall foliage and all, and the dogs enjoyed the spa-like dozing.  With occasional outbursts from the two yung-uns who didn’t get nearly enough exercise today.

#2:  I’ve got a nasty cold.  I never get sick.  Never ever.  But I had the misfortune of sitting in a super cold corner at work a couple nights ago and that was that.  A saner person would be home in bed instead of fighting traffic and cranking through lists.  The dogs hate it when I cough — they usually jump sky high with shock and fear.   But they’re getting over it now.  Despite only three hours sleep, I think I might be pulling through this thing.  My throat is sore and I’m loaded with congestion but the fever is over.

Enough whining!  Let’s get to the photos so that I might get a reasonable night’s sleep tonight.  Five hours would be great!  Peekskill was on the way to one stop so I did a quickie pass through town.  Though I’ve been through many times before, I missed a few things.  Including this nice trio:

The big guy on the right appears to be a 1940s-ish department store.  Guy in the middle a deco-ish bank with neat lettering.  And a far left is a Woolworth-y building & sign but GREEN.  That really throws me.  Kresge & Woolworth were always red.  And this didn’t appear to be repainted.  Not this side or the identical sign at the back of the building.  Anybody know the deal?

Also in Peekskill — a couple of nice vitrolite-faced bldgs.  This one with those nice stainless steel freestanding letters — and unusual display windows:

This one also incredible display windows and some terrazzo:

I’ve been wanting to shoot this guy in Albany for awhile now.  Went to the Huck Finn Warehouse hoping to get a close-up but there’s absolutely no way to shoot him from over there.  You’re stuck pulling over on the shoulder of I-787 and hoping a trooper doesn’t catch you.  There was a huge grassy field between the shoulder and Huck that I was really tempted to walk through to get closer – but thought better of it.  I’ve no idea how old this sign is but it’s BIG (note stairs on the right for scale):

A couple mid-century buildings across the street from each other in Schenectady:

More brick & stone — and colored brick glass:

And lastly, let’s not forget my traveling buds.  Tis the season:

I didn’t mess with posing much for this scene.  WAY to dangerous with busy traffic on the road behind these guys.  Took three photos and had them hop immediately back in the van (Sparkle’s tire at left).

The serious seniors (Fix & Grip):

The challenging youth (‘Nik & Grem):

Big day in Buffalo and beyond tomorrow.  Sun would really be nice.