I worked at a very small design firm copy editing and proofreading financial PowerPoint slides from May through August 2019 at 1740 Broadway, the “MONY, MONY” building near Columbus Circle. I had an hour for lunch, so I roved about as far north as 72nd street and as far south as Duffy square. One of my walks brought me past Lincoln Center, at Broadway, Columbus Avenue and West 65th Street. It got me thinking about a trio of long-gone artifacts in the area that I discovered from 1999-2002, in the early years of FNY.
A teardown on the northwest corner of Broadway and West 64th revealed this huge ad for Hunter’s Baltimore Rye in 2002. The liquor was first distributed in Baltimore in 1860 by William Lanahan.
From the beginning, the brand exhibited aristocratic pretensions: The label and ads featured a man dressed in foxhunting garb astride a horse set to gallop with the hounds. [Baltimore Bottle Club]
The brand, along with other products, made the Lanahan family rich and Hunter Baltimore Rye was a popular brand of rye whiskey until the 1940s.
The Hunter Rye ad was painted on the side of the former Liberty Warehouse, which had a painted ad of its own above the whiskey ad. The Liberty Warehouse, which was built around 1902 (about the same time the ad was painted on the side of the building facing Broadway, also featured a 37-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty.
“Little Liberty” was built in 1902 by William Flatteau in Akron, OH and shipped to NYC, where it topped the Liberty Warehouse on West 64th Street near Broadway for almost a century. The condo went up in 2002, hiding the rye ad, but the statue was preserved and now stands in the parking lot behind the Brooklyn Museum near Prospect Park.
Lastly, Forgotten Fan Lisa Zaslow snapped this melange of painted ads on the buildings facing West 66th Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue. The buildings are still in place, as are presumably the ads, but they’re obscured by another high-rise with a Century 21 store on the ground floor.
Omega Oil was an all-purpose liniment sold in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Colorful painted ads for the brand can still be found around town, but they’re getting fewer in number.
Columbia was a very old brand — I found an ad for Columbia Soup in a Harper’s from 1894.