A return to the “Ladies Entrance” sign

Last year, my model friend Muse posed in front of a distressed sign on North Lake Avenue in Albany.  The picture, Ladies Make Their Own Entrances, later found its way to the Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT charitable auction.

Ladies Make Their Own Entrances. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens, 1/125 sec., ISO 400, f/5.6. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

The other day, as I’m testing out some redscale film in my Leica M3 camera (“Leica Green”), I drove past North Lake Avenue.

What the hell, I’ll take another picture of the sign.  I’m only testing out the film anyways…

And I can tell you this … from March 2018, when Muse posed wistfully in front of that sign, until June 2019 … something happened to that sign.

Ladies’ Entrance. Leica M3 camera, Red Dragon redscale film. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

It looks as if the sign had buckled – like it was pushed and pinched and the metal just gave way.  Mind you, this sign is between two buildings – 70 North Lake Avenue and 68 North Lake Avenue, and the “Ladies’ Entrance” was the space between those structures.

So what happened here?  Did someone try to rip the sign down and couldn’t do it?

Did one of the buildings shift, causing the sign to pinch and come loose?  (Both buildings are abandoned, and one has the dreaded red “X” on it – meaning that if the building catches fire, first responders do NOT have to enter it.)

I looked at the sign.  Yeah, it’s got some damage to it.  Maybe I can yank it down and salvage it.

No.  Can’t do that.  First off, it’s not my sign to take.  It’s still attached to the building, and that building has an owner somewhere.

Also … I didn’t bring any crowbars or chisels or tinsnips to free the sign.  Or a stepladder.  This thing is too high up.

Let’s face it.  At some point in time, that sign will come down.  Whether it lands in the trash or it ends up in someone’s mancave, it happens.  It’s a relic of a distant era, a time of gender segregation that we don’t need any more.

Then again … it still works as a photo opportunity.