Last weekend I attended a typography walking tour around the Lower East Side of Manhattan led by Tobias Frere-Jones (of Hoefler & Frere-Jones fame). The tour focused mainly on engraved and painted signage from bygone years. Some examples were presented because they were so damn beautiful, and others were presented for the exact opposite reason, but all were very intriguing, representing a place, time, and cultural inheritance in the history of the city and its people. Tobias told us that the tour was inspired by his research leading up to the design of Gotham—a gorgeous typeface, though fast approaching ubiquity—in which he crisscrossed all the blocks below 14th street taking photos of every bit of preserved type he could find. At multiple points over the course of the walk we were treated to some of Gotham’s ancestors and original inspiration. Tobias has only done a few of these tours, and they sell out within a couple of hours, but if you are in the NYC area, I highly recommend signing up (check out the AIGA NY events page for updates). There are few chances to be lead around such a historic city to look at interesting typography by someone so knowledgeable of craft and heritage. I managed to take photos of all the type we stopped to study, as well as a couple other examples along the way, and dropped them on to Flickr for continued viewing pleasure.