Thursday, February 28, 2019

Neon News & Links / February 2019 Edition

• Talkin' neon, in SF! I'll be presenting a status check on the state of New York neon for this year's Neon Speaks Festival & Symposium in San Francisco on Saturday, April 27, 2019.  

• "Neon Lights Making a Comeback as Smaller Businesses Desire Unique Signs" - a nice write-up by Scripps Networks reporter Chris Welch on the output of neon shops today.

 Not neon but still fantastically cool: via the Uni-Watch blog, in East Midwood, a great midcentury porcelain enamel storefront was recently unearthed with the removal of newer signage. Alas, if you missed it, you missed it: it was quickly ruined upon seeing the light of day. 


 From the wonderful Ephemeral NY blog, the following: 

    > An homage to the late great Chock-Full-O-Nuts coffee shop chain and its bygone New York storefronts.  

(Ephemeral New York)

    > An appreciation of surviving vintage drugstore neon in Brooklyn and Manhattan  

(Ephemeral New York)

 The inimitable Debra Jane Seltzer has been status-checking the historic signs and roadside architecture she's photographed across the country, and the state of our old signs is not good.  As she puts it, "what shall we conclude from all this devastation?"  Here are direct links to a few of a dozen or so entries she's posted in this series over the past month or so.

    > Updates on theatres, car dealers and "ship buildings"  

    > Gas Station Updates  
    > Signs  
    > More signs   
    > And still more signs.  

(Debra Jane Seltzer)

• Meanwhile, from the SHORPY blog, a look at some old signs across the USA - before they were old:

    > Fayetteville, 1941 
    > US 1 in Jessup, Maryland
    > Swing Street, Manhattan, 1948
    > Human Freaks, 1941 
    > Chicago, 1941
    > Brattleboro, VT, 1941
    > Childersburg, Alabama, 1941

(William Gottlieb, Library of Congress / Shorpy)

 Some new-New York neon: Russ & Daughters, erstwhile institution of Manhattan's Lower East Side, has opened up a branch at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

(Grub Street)

 And finally, some sad news from Jersey: Elmwood Park's sprawling, historic Marcal Paper plant burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in January, taking with it hundreds of jobs, an important complex of historic industrial buildings, and the greatest commercial neon installations in the entire state.   

(Carla Niutta /