Saturday, January 4, 2014

Salvation Neon

The whole flu shot thing sounded a bit tenuous to me, so I decided to skip it this year.   Well folks, not a good idea: I have rung in 2014 mired in the throes of what the Italians call "l'influenza."  The silver lining here is that I now have plenty of time to get caught up with my neon blogging.  

The following was to have been my holiday-themed post: an homage to the lovely Salvation Army neon on 14th Street in Manhattan.   A simple sign, but one of my favorites.  Alas, rare is the sighting of this sign alight.  For years, in fact, I'd assumed it had burned out fatally, been given up for dead.  Then one night, rushing across town to meet a friend for a few beverages at Johnny's Bar on Greenwich Avenue, there she was, ablaze in all her glory.  

The Salvation Army HQ: 120 West 14th Street, Manhattan. (T. Rinaldi)

I could never pin down a fabrication date for the existing sign: its simple letterforms and stainless steel channel letters over a red porcelain enamel "prism"-type box suggest a mid-1950s installation.  Old photos show what appears to be an earlier neon sign of roughly the same configuration in the same spot, with somewhat jazzier lettering that must have gone well with the Salvation Army's great art deco headquarters building behind it, the work of architect Ralph Walker.  So keep an eye out as you cross town at the 14th parallel, for this great white whale of New York neon. 

The Salvation Army HQ: 120 West 14th Street, Manhattan. (T. Rinaldi)

Oh, and next year, let's maybe all get our flu shots.  A happy Neon New Year to all.


  Not New York, but - surely one of the most evocative neon Shorpies to date.
  Another neon shot from Shorpy, less evocative but closer to home: Wanamaker's (and Miles Shoes, and Miller's, and Woolworth's) in Great Neck. 
  More So-Cal neon appreciation from Debra Jane.
  Via my friend Kett Murphy: a short and sweet audio interview on Faythe Levine and Sam Macon's book Sign Painters, from 99 percent invisible.
  By way of Lorne Covington: lots of neon at this year's Art Basel in Miami.  
  Portland, Oregon has lost its "Wentworth Chevytown" sign.

No comments:

Post a Comment