I found this interesting little ad for the New York City Car Advertising Company in the January 1910 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. From what I can tell, the New York City “surface cars” they are referring to here sound like they must have been trolley cars. Here, on a website I found called New York Diaries, is a picture of such a car in 1936.
If you notice in this ad, patent medicines, as well as objectionable announcements, were barred from advertising on the cars. The ad also claims that “…it has been proved that whatever has been made the vogue in New York City becomes known throughout the United States.”
The surface cars “gridiron the entire city of New York and tap every approach to the city by ferries, railroads, bridges and tunnels.” Finally, the New York City Car Advertising Company explained that “We have the exclusive control of all advertising space in the New York City Surface Cars – boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Richmond and in the Fifth Avenue Auto Busses.”
This is a fascinating glimpse into a part of New York City’s history that I have never really thought much about before.