Monday, March 14, 2016

Pepsi and Other Neon News

First, the big news, which happens also to be good news: the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has voted to prioritize Landmark Status (i.e. legal protection based on heritage value) for the Pepsi Sign in Long Island City, Queens.  Pepsi thus seems poised to become New York's first and only sign to be Landmarked in its own right (some other historic signs are protected incidentally if they happen to hang from Landmarked buildings).  The decision is pending confirmation by the Commission later this year.

Pepsi Ablaze.  (T. Rinaldi)

While this is basically good news, the actual ramifications of the designation remain somewhat murky.  Per Curbed: "even if the sign is landmarked, the Commission will have no say on the lettering. For example, as a commissioner wryly pointed out during the meeting, a beer company could purchase the sign from Pepsi and put up its own lettering. Where the Commission would step in would be the actual movement of the sign, so, continuing with the same beer example, if the beer company wanted to move the sign to install its own lettering it would have to come before the Landmarks Commission."

The Pepsi sign is one of just 30 sites prioritized by the Commission from its list of 95 "calendared" sites earlier this year.  65 other sites have been left to their fate.  


• More big news, also good, from LA:  the Museum of Neon Art has re-opened in its new permanent home in Glendale.  

• Related:  Blogger and sign-documenter extraordinaire Debra Jane Seltzer reports on MONA's Grand Opening.

RIP to the Stage Deli, long-time neon neighbor of the Orpheum Theatre on Second Avenue in Manhattan's East Village.

(T. Rinaldi)

• From the why-God-why department, news that one of New York's greatest ghost signs was recently senselessly obliterated on Eighth Ave by Times Square.  

Rooms 1-2-3, pre-desecration.  (T.Rinaldi)  

• A sliver of happy neon news from upstate:  the old signs of Troy's sadly-deceased South End Tavern have been preserved, restored and now displayed (scroll down) at the Rensselear County Historical Society in Troy.  The RCHS crowdsourced funding to acquire the signs last year.

(Rob Yasinsac)

• Enjoy this short video tribute to Vegas neon and the efforts to keep it alive.

• Sign art:  a gallery of sign photography by Tim Davis.

Philnea 1924 - an early neon curiosity unearthed at the Design-is-Fine blog via Memory of the Netherlands


• Ending on an up note:  New York's Carnegie Deli, a neon landmark among neon landmarks, finally re-opened last month after a prolonged closure.

(T. Rinaldi)