Photo courtesy: Thomas Rinaldi, Facebook
Cricket Wireless recently moved out of 30-29 Steinway Street in Astoria, a hop, skip and jump away from my former haunts at the Quinn Funeral Home at Broadway and 36th Street, where the Greater Astoria Historical Society had its offices.
What was under that Cricket facade? A vintage linoleum and neon sign for Rickard’s, a men’s haberdasher. The sign was in place in the 1950s and 1960s; Municipal Archives photos of 30-29 Steinway taken in 1940 and the mid-1980s do not have it. Catch it now, before the next tenant covers it.
It’s likely that Van Heusen shirts picked up at least some of the cost of production and installation, since their name appears on the sign. The clothing line was founded in 1910 by Dutch immigrant John Manning Van Heusen, who invented a process that fused cloth on a curve that made the high detachable collars popular in the era softer and easier to wear. In 1957, Van Heusen was acquired by Phillips-Jones (the result of a merger by clothing companies founded by Dramin Jones and Moses Phillips) and today it’s known as PVH.
When I began this piece I was under the impression that Van Heusen print ads in magazines featured an eyepatch-wearing model. I was wrong: that was a competitor, Hathaway.
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