I know that NYC’s corner delis (bodegas) don’t have giant advertising budgets or anything, but I can't get past how generally terrible their signage has always been. It’s not just that the signs are of poor quality; it’s that they’re awkward! There is zero rhyme or reason to the quantity, selection or arrangement of wares for sale. That white-on-white turkey wrap looks terrible next to the stock image of the perfect burger hovering oddly by a breaded chicken cutlet with a back-lit glow like some kind of greasy Holy Grail. Basically, that shit is broke.
Brooklyn graphic designer Michael Silber is the creator of Deli Grossery, a blog dedicated to terrible deli-sign awareness and, ideally, prevention. The worst offenders from all over the city are chronicled right here. But wouldn’t you know it? Not a thing has changed. Bodegas advertise overschmeared bagels and bottles of kombucha in the same breath, and DO NOT artfully arrange slices of deli meat on a roll (also, the roll fell off the back of a truck). Sunny-side-ups may beckon from the sign, but inside, it’s more like sunny-side messed up. Lamb gyro sound appealing at 3 a.m.? They know. It’s a ruse. There are no gyros in there, as you learn upon entry. You can have some messed-up eggs or dried-out Buffalo wings, though.
You, too, can submit your deli for consideration. According to the site, Silber’s always on the prowl for “unique, interesting or ugly food marketing.” And NYC delis, where you can reliably find a large bowl of egg salad with a dull film over it, are prime hunting ground.
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