Another year, another litany of lost neon. I can't quite tell whether 2015's losses were less painful than those of previous years, or if I've just become desensitized after so many years of small businesses carnage in New York. As we mark this year's casualties, let's resolve to celebrate and protect what we have left in the year ahead.
It is almost a relief to report that the long, torturous death of this once-lovely neighborhood institution has finally run its course in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The last of Hinsch's old neon, until recently one of the most splendid ensembles of midcentury signage anywhere in New York, disappeared earlier this year. In a could-be-worse turn of events, the space now belongs to a Stewart's ice cream franchise.
Reynold's Bar, 710 West 180th St., Manhattan (installed c. 1959*)
Blumstein Department Store, 230 West 125th St., Manhattan (Installed 1936)
United Airlines (Hanger Signage), LaGuardia Airport, Queens (installed c. 1960)
La Parisienne Restaurant, 910 Seventh Ave., Manhattan (installed c. 1968*)
This humble coffee shop offered a haven of down-to-earth hospitality in a part of midtown Manhattan where ultra-high rents leave almost no room for even remotely ephemeral parts of the urban landscape. La Parisienne bid adieu back in February.
Manhattan Color Labs, 4 West 20th St., Manhattan
Manhattan Color Labs actually seems to have closed back in July 2014. Its disappearance perhaps speaks more to the ascent of digital photography than to the challenges faced by New York's small business owners.
Raccoon Lodge, 59 Warren St., Manhattan
The Raccoon Lodge and its sign seem far older than their 33 years, suggesting an apple fallen nigh in the shade of some spiritual ancestor. An under-age visit to this establishment back in my own wayward youth is perhaps what crystallized the affection I harbor for the signs to which this blog is dedicated. The Raccoon will pack it in on New Year's Eve. The entire block is slated to be bulldozed to make way for a luxury residential high rise.
* = date indicated by records at NYC DOB
• Jeremiah's 2015 Vanishings
• BuzzFeed's "31 NYC Spots That Closed Forever in 2015"
PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES:
• Lights Out 2014
• Lights Out 2013
• Lights Out 2012
• Lights Out 2011