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A, B, C and the Rest in Cynthia Dantzic's "Alphabet City: Signs of New York"

Brooklyn Campus' Senior Art Professor illustrates the City’s playful inventiveness in her unique postcard book


Helen Saffran,Associate Director of Public Relations
Brooklyn Campus,
Long Island University
(718) 488-1419

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Just in time for the holidays comes the perfect stocking stuffer: “Alphabet City: Signs of New York,” a one-of-a-kind postcard book that shows each of the alphabet’s 26 letters being used pictorially in business signs across New York City.

Long Island University Senior Professor of Art Cynthia Maris Dantzic spent six years searching the city’s five boroughs to find each letter — and even several punctuation marks — illustrated within the name of a business. For instance, two palm trees serve as a Middle Eastern restaurant’s “H” and a barbershop uses an open pair of shears crossed by a comb to represent the letter “A.”

“Throughout the search there was a growing concern — would they all be found?” said Dantzic, a practicing artist who has taught art for over 30 years at the University’s Brooklyn Campus. “But, oh, the thrill of success at discovering every single letter, plus a sprinkling of punctuation marks.”

In recent years, Dantzic, who photographed each of the signs featured in her book, has published a flurry of books, including “100 New York Painters,” “100 New York Photographers,” two college-level art texts and two children’s books. Her next book is the soon-to-be-published, “100 New York Calligraphers.”

Dantzic said she was lucky to have captured the “charming documents of the playful inventiveness that marks the New York spirit.”

“Alas, these types of signs are fast disappearing, often replaced by newer, more sophisticated typography or sleek plastic signage. They will be missed,” she said.

The book is dedicated to Nancy Gleason, a visiting nurse who died before the book was published. Gleason had traveled around the city with Dantzic in search of many of the letters.

A graduate of Yale University’s School of Art and Pratt Institute, the Brooklyn-born author is a member of PAI, the distinguished New York photographic society, and she serves on the board of the Society of Scribes. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

For more information about Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, call (718) 488-1011 or e-mail

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dynamic curricula reflecting the great urban community it serves. Distinctive programs encompass the arts and media, the natural sciences, business, social policy, urban education, the health professions and pharmacy, and include the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, the Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, the D.P.T. in Physical Therapy and the Pharm.D. in Pharmacy. A vibrant urban oasis in downtown Brooklyn, this diverse and thriving campus offers academic excellence, personalized attention, small class size and flexible course schedules. In 2006, a $45-million Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center was opened to serve the Campus and the surrounding community. In 2007, the Cyber Café was launched, providing a high-tech hot spot for students and faculty members to meet and eat.

Posted 12/06/2010

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