by Kevin Walsh

What is likely the best-preserved Fletcher’s Castoria advertisement remaining in NYC can be found on Archer Avenue just east of Sutphin Boulevard, in the shadow of the massive Long Island Railroad / AirTrain station in beautiful downtown Jamaica.

Fletcher’s Castoria, marketed as a gentle stomach remedy for kids, has been sold since 1871 when Charles Henry Fletcher purchased the rights to a formula developed by Dr. Samuel Pitcher as a cathartic. It has been marketed ever since then, though in recent years the “Castoria,” (for castor oil) has been dropped and it’s now called Fletcher’s Laxative for Kids, though adults can also use it.

Castoria was marketed extensively through much of the 20th Century, with large painted ads appearing on sides of buildings in major cities. The paint used proved quite resistant to sun bleaching; only during the last 20 years have they started to fade considerably. Buildings like this one that see limited sun can preserve them better; perhaps other signs placed over them also obscured them.

Photo: Gary Fonville



Walt Gosden March 18, 2014 - 7:32 am

I see this every time I ride the LIRR west heading to Manhattan, it is easy to spot just north of the train tracks. Great it has stayed in such good condition.

C Fletcher March 19, 2014 - 2:35 pm

Being a part of the clan, it’s always a treat to see this and other signs, in various states of decline, all over the city.

Maybe like linseed oil can be added to paint to make it more durable, perhaps the syrup was added for longevity, too?

april March 26, 2014 - 7:07 am

I well remember Fletcher’s Castoria and possibly this sign as well. What I can’t fully recall is the bus terminal that used to be so close by, maybe two or three blocks from May’s. Was it Lind’s or Lin’s? Anyone??

SP June 2, 2014 - 10:00 am

There’s a 1800mattress ad, I think, on the corner of Elmhurst and Broadway in Queens. I’d love to know if it is 1800mattress.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.