The 12 Most Iconic Signs in Harlem


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem

Harlem's signs, whether they're neon, flashing with bright bulbs, painted by hand or issued by the city, are a part of what make the neighborhood so famous.

A captivating blend of old and new, some are lovingly restored remnants of the past, while others have been around for only a handful of years, already leaving their mark.

Still others are in such a sorry state of disrepair, they might not last much longer—all the more reason to visit them now.

Here, then, are the 12 most iconic signs in Harlem, and where to find them. From south to north, they are:



1. Harlem State of Mind

Angel of Harlem, 2272 Frederick Douglass Blvd and W 122nd St

While Angel of Harlem is better known for its bottomless brunches, its "Harlem State of Mind" sign is one of its decorative draws.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


2. 125 Street station sign

W 125th Street and Broadway

Framed signs written in the subway's iconic Helvetica font greet passengers on either side of the elevated 125th Street station on the 1 line.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


3. Old M&G Diner sign

383 W 125th Street and Morningside Ave

The old M&G Diner closed in 2008, but its beloved yellow sign still hangs on the corner.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


4. The Apollo

253 W 125th between Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Frederick Douglass Blvds

The Apollo Theater isn't just a New York City landmark, it's also on the National Register of Historic Places—meaning its red neon sign, the most celebrated in all of Harlem, is here to stay.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


5. Street signs on the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue

​So many of Harlem's streets are named after inspirational Black leaders and artists, but the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue are where two of the most famous meet.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


6. Harlem​-125th Street sign on the Metro-North line

Park Avenue and E 125th Street

A bold sign on the elevated Metro-North line platform announces the famous destination.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


7. Sylvia's

Sylvia's, 328 Malcolm X Blvd between W 126th and W 127th Sts

One of the neighborhood's oldest and most iconic soul food restaurants, Sylvia's just wouldn't be Sylvia's without its vintage flashing bulb sign.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


8. Harlem YMCA

Harlem Y, 180 W 135th Street between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd

One of the few original neon signs still aglow in the neighborhood, the Harlem Y's signature red sign is easy to spot on the 1932 building's central tower (you can thank the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission for that).


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem
Photo: Beyond My Ken


9. Private Road Walk Your Horses

Strivers' Row, W 138th St between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd

Hidden on Harlem's elegant Strivers' Row, this sign recalls the neighborhood's historic—and now practically unimaginable—past.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


10. Mishkin's Drugs

Mishkin's Drugs, 1714 Amsterdam Ave and W 145th St

Mishkin's is a family-owned pharmacy that moved to its current location in the 1930s; its neon sign went up in the 1950s and has hung there ever since.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


11. Lundy's

739 St. Nicholas Ave and W 147th St

This elegant townhouse on St. Nicholas Avenue is now fully residential, but the yellow-and-red neon sign out front is a colorful reminder of its commercial past.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem


12. 400 Tavern

400 W 148th St between St Nicholas and Convent Aves

​Although the 400 Tavern closed decades ago—the club operated from the 1940s to the 1970s—its old sign still hangs on 148th Street in Harlem's Sugar Hill.


The 12 most iconic signs in Harlem

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