Crown Coat Front Co. Inc., 105 E. 16th St. between Irving Place and Union Square

Photo taken in 2011.

The business was in operation from 1947 to approximately 1957 and produced coat fronts, which are defined “…by George E. Linton (The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, Fourth Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1973) as [a] “Trade term for a built-up stiffening or shape-retaining interlining for the fronts of coats, made of stitched layers of haircloth, felt and canvas.””

For more information about the company and building, and as a reference for the above quote, please visit 14to42.net. There is a nice photo at that link of the same sign in 1986. The color was a lot sharper back then. I took this photo 12 years ago. I wonder if it’s even there anymore, and if it is, whether it’s legible at all.

Chiese Food Restaurant Sign

"Chiese Food" sign on a Chinese food restaurant.
“Chiese Food” sign on a Chinese food restaurant.

When I lived in Singapore, I used to joke about the misspelled English words I saw everywhere, or the jumbles of random phrases used as shirt slogans. Having English on the shirt made it foreign and cool, I suppose. After working on learning two foreign languages (Arabic and Hebrew), I’m not nearly so critical of spelling mistakes by non-native speakers. Remembering vocabulary is a pain.

However, I can’t help but find it amusing that a person would misspell their own nationality on a manufactured neon sign placed in the window of a restaurant that sells said nationality’s food (or the Americanized version of it anyway).

How do you open a Chinese food restaurant and put up a sign for Chiese Food? Was it really poor business management, or a clever attempt to draw attention? Or did the guy purposefully misspell it because he knew that what he’s selling isn’t truly Chinese food? American Chinese food is nothing like what I ate in Singapore, which in most ways is far superior.

This particular establishment is on Amsterdam Avenue between 169th and 170th.