Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Porteño Neon Fantasmas

Amid the recent flurry of stress-inducing headlines here at home, this seems like as good a time as any for a little retreat down memory lane - more than 10 years and 5,000 miles down memory lane, in fact, south of the border, south of the equator, to Buenos Aires, where I found myself in November 2006.  

Restaurant Confiteria El Cervatillo, Arenales 1900, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Buenos Aires back then was a purgatory of beautiful people living among beautiful relics.  One couldn't tell whether this owed more to economic realities or to an ingrained reluctance to part with relics of the past.  From high-ceilinged coffee shops to the incandescent glow of century-old subway cars then still rolling beneath Avenida Mayo, Buenos Aires felt like a portal into an earlier time.

Hotel Los Tres Reyes, Pte. Luis Saenz Pena 284 CP, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Farmacia San Roque, somewhere around centro Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

This condition extended to the city's neon.  Old signs presented themselves around every corner.  After the trip, I found myself back in New York with a small album of Buenos Aires neon that became one of my favorite souvenirs of Argentina.  As it happened, I had just begun scouting New York's old signs for the project that eventually became the New York Neon book.  Buenos Aires and other towns on the way to Patagonia turned out to be a proving ground for the photographic approach I would take to record old signs back home.  

Zum Edelweiss, Libertad 431, Buenos Aires(T. Rinaldi)

I haven't been back to Argentina since that trip in 2006, leaving me to wonder what's become of these old places.  Like so many of New York's neon landmarks that have vanished in the years since then, these visions of Argentina flicker on in my memory.  

Luna Park, Av. Madero 420, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Dos Heladerias, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Teatro Gran Rex, Av Corrientes 857, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Bar Americano, somewhere near San Telmo, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Hotel Guido Palace, Calle Guido 1780, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

Farmacia Pasteur, Bahia Blanca. (T. Rinaldi)

Harrod's, Calle Florida, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)

"Dali," Comodoro Rivadavia. (T. Rinaldi)

Hotel Central Cordoba, San Martín 1021, Buenos Aires. (T. Rinaldi)  

BsAs Night Neon. (T. Rinaldi)  


 Thursday, April 20, 2017
 May date TBD

Mark your calendars!  Tickets will be available at this link.


 When in Mesa, AZ, don't miss "Mesa's Main Street Neon By Night," a guided bus tour led by Marshall Shore the Hip Historian and Vic Linoff of the Mesa Preservation Foundation.  Tour dates at the link.

 Via Jeremiah's Vanishing NY:  the shuttered Carnegie Deli's neon was spotted being carted off to points unknown.

 Neon in the backdrop of these supremely beautiful New York scenes from the 50s and 60s by photographer Saul Leiter, from the Ephemeral NY blog. 

 Lysande Skylt: A celebration of Swedish neon, at the Staadsmuseet Stockholm. (Here's the English translation - lots to peruse here.)

 In Los Angeles, the Museum of Neon Art is now displaying the restored Brown Derby sign.  

 "21 Iconic Upstate NY Places We Miss" - Bygone Upstate neon and other signs. 

 And finally, when in Liverpool, England - "The World's Largest Collection of Neon Signs is Ridiculous And Amazing" - via The Creator's Project.