As much as we try to paper over the past, it’s usually still hiding near the surface. Two signs that were recently spotted in the neighborhood brought back memories from decades ago.
Peter Salwen spotted a 38-year-old campaign flyer on a building on Amsterdam near W. 83rd. “Frank J. Barbaro, a former longshoreman and liberal state assemblyman from Brooklyn, was Ed Koch’s chief challenger for re-election to a second term as mayor of New York,” Salwen — an historian — wrote. “In the Legislature, Mr. Barbaro was a fierce advocate for organized labor, tenants and minorities. He later served for six years as a State Supreme Court justice,” the Times noted. “Outspent by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1, Mr. Barbaro nonetheless ran a spirited campaign, vowing to ‘liberate the legend of Fiorello La Guardia from an impostor.’..Mr. Barbaro lost the primary with 36 percent of the vote. He continued his campaign in the general election through his independent Unity Party, but got only 13 percent to Mr. Koch’s 75 percent.” Barbaro died in 2016.
Bill Hindlin spotted a sign for a famous electronics business that disappeared more than a decade ago. “I took this picture the other day on 97th street just west of Broadway, site of the now closed Walgreens. When they removed the Walgreens signage it exposed the sign of “The Wiz” electronics store which closed years ago and into which Walgreens took over. Ah, memories of ‘Nobody Beats the Wiz!'” The Wiz opened in the 1970s but closed most of its locations in the early 2000s after going bankrupt.
It’s not the first time an old sign has popped up in the neighborhood.