Available July 26, 2022


Ghost Signs 2: Clues to Uptown New York's Past

Frank Mastropolo

New York City's scores of timeworn ads have improbably survived for decades. These "ghost signs" hold the secrets of businesses and products that vanished decades ago. Clues to our jobs, schools, places of worship, cafes, and concert halls lurk in their faded outlines.

Frank Mastropolo brings more than 100 of these signs to life in each of his collections of Downtown and Uptown ghost signs through insightful commentary on the history of the distinct neighborhoods and the eclectic businesses that anchored them in the first half of the 20th century. The collections offers an important and timely look at New York City's rich economic and social fabric, especially today, when long-established businesses are rapidly being priced out of their neighborhoods.

Mastropolo is a journalist, photographer, and former ABC News 20/20 producer, winner of the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University silver baton. He is the author of Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock History; New York Groove: An Inside Look at the Stars, Shows, and Songs That Make NYC Rock; and the What's Your Rock IQ? Trivia Quiz Book series.

“Frank Mastropolo gives us a glimpse into New York City’s past by introducing us to a town many of us didn’t know existed. You’ll never be able to walk down the street again without keeping your eyes peeled for ghost signs!”— Dana Arschin, Reporter, Fox 5 News, New York 

"Part deux of Mastropolo's tour de force of ghost signs in New York City provides not only a visual glimpse of the city's vintage signage but also a veritable walk back in time when industrial activity made the city buzz. These are the remnants of the factories that served a growing city, the restaurants that fed its workers, the department stores that fascinated, and more. Mastropolo is that true expert that turns a fleeting observation into a lifelong exploration." — Michelle Young, Founder, Untapped New York

"Frank Mastropolo takes us on a delightful journey through New York City’s past by exploring the vestigial signs of bygone businesses. His photographs and commentary rescue the stories of once-thriving enterprises from obscurity while reminding us that layers of history lurk behind facades and under our feet, awaiting our discovery." — Margi Hofer, Museum Director, New-York Historical Society

"Mastropolo's latest installment chronicling the ghost signs of Manhattan highlights some truly fading legends. From my personal favorites in Union Square to a collage of hidden gems in the Fashion District, this book offers great coverage across all the smaller neighborhoods formed within Uptown's localized past, hidden within plain sight." — Craig Winslow, Artist & Founder, Light Capsules

Ghost Signs: Clues to Downtown New York's Past


Winner 2021 Independent Publishers Book Awards


From Schiffer Books

"Ghost signs remind us of long-gone times, reminding us all that this (our time) too shall pass. In capturing and preserving these images, Frank Mastropolo has created an invaluable documentation of New York's history before it (literally) fades away. A must-buy for any history buff!"—Kevin Jennings, President, Lower East Side Tenement Museum


"New York’s rich history of its changing neighborhoods is well-documented, but what Mastropolo has done is take a new twist. By using the backdrop of ghost signs—those of the past and those remaining—he has created a unique and more personalized storyline street by street, business by business. His book can be enjoyed by many audiences."—Tod Swormstedt, Founder, American Sign Museum


"Mastropolo treats his oft-forgotten subjects with wonder and respect. This book is a charming tribute to New York's built fabric, and one that nurtures the deeply human story at the heart of all our city's historic streets."—Chelsea Dowell, Director of Public Engagement, Museum at Eldridge Street


"Ghost Signs feeds the yearning all New Yorkers share to leave our mark on this ever-changing metropolis, a shout to the future that we were here. If you've ever squinted up at a fading message from the past, pick up this book. Frank Mastropolo has solved their mysteries for us."—Dean Karayanis, The History Author Show, iHeart Radio


"Ghost Signs is a thrilling visual tour of the iconic nineteenth and early twentieth century signs hiding in plain sight above New York's doorways, underfoot on sidewalks, and on building facades. Mastropolo brings these signs out of the shadows and provides historical context that will charm and fascinate anyone interested in peeling back the layers of the contemporary city."—Esther Crain, author of The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910 and founder of Ephemeral New York


Music: Interstellar Space by John Bartmann

© 2022 Frank Mastropolo. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED