Sunday, September 24, 2017

East Side, West Side: New Neon Walking Tours and Other Neon News

 New Neon Walking Tours scheduled! In association with PosterHouseNYC

    > West Village Tour, Oct 3, 2017. Click here for Tickets!
    > East Village Tour, Oct 10, 2017. Click here for Tickets!

Katz's Delicatessen on Houston Street, a stop on the East Village Tour. (T. Rinaldi)

    > Also - check out the super awesome PosterHouse exhibit in the ex-Tekserve space on West 23rd Street, featuring posters from vanished NY businesses.

 From the shameless self promotion department: if you're on Instagram, so am I:  Check out @nyneonbook on Insta.  

NYNeonBook on Instagram.

 A whole bunch of stuff from Debra Jane Seltzer - here's a few to get you started:

     > Southwest Neon 
     > Mostly Tuscon 
     > Tuscon to New Mexico 
     > Southern New Mexica to El Paso 
     > Texas 
     > Towards Fort Worth 
     > Abilene & Around 

 Via Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, the loss of Second Avenue's San Loco.  

 Savor the neon in the backdrop of these 1979 NYC street scenes by Dutch sailor Peter van Wijk (via Ephemeral NY)  - then enjoy these non-neon-but-still-cool vanished storefronts from the same collection. 

 Not neon, but from the typography department - check out these pretty pictures from the NY Times Magazine Typography Exhibition

 An homage to the Corner Bistro, from Ephemeral NY.  

Corner Bistro. (T. Rinaldi)

 In Roanoke, VA: "As Neon Fades, Roanoke Explores New Options for Iconic Star."  

 In Fall River, MA, the Al Mac's Diner sign has come down....  but there's a GoFundMe to save it.

 Not neon, but - from the disappearing old stores of NYC department, say goodbye to the Park Delicatessen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (via JVNY)  

 Via SHORPY: Some scenes of vanished neon glory in Omaha and in the backdrop of a creepily-timely photo of a 1930s Nazi march in NYC.

 In Washington, DC, crisis averted: the near-demise of the classic Uptown Theatre neon.    

 Neon in the backdrop of these great 1960s-70s photos by Carole Teller, part of an archive recently digitized and made available online by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (via the JVNY blog).

 From the Le Sigh department .... In Syracuse, the supremely cool Hancock Airport sign has gone LED.  

 New York sign shop Let There Be Neon is helping out with a campaign to save Havana's historic neon (via Signs of the Times Magazine).

 Feast your eyes on the glorious vanished neon (and other) storefronts of Brooklyn in a collection of photos called "Great Store F(r)onts," from UrbanArchiveNY and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Great Store F(r)onts, via UrbanArchiveNY.

 In Long Beach, CA, a plan to protect and save the fabulously historic "Fly DC Jets" sign.  

 In the Bronx, the old Potter's Men's Shop has gone and now so has its reliquary neon.

RIP: Potter's Men's Shop vanished a few years ago.  Now their ghost sign has too. (T. Rinaldi)

 Via Thrillist.... step inside the shop of LiteBrite Neon of Gowanus (video) 

 Learn or re-learn: "This is How Neon Signs Are Made" ~ a tutorial with Esteban Salazar of UrbanGlass in Brooklyn (also video).

 In Philadelphia: author and neon practitioner Len Davidson's dream of a neon museum is coming closer to reality

 Neon on the cover of the Atlantic.

The Atlantic at Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In Other Neon News

For want of a more substantive post, some neon news and links.

In New York, no neon news is good neon news these days:

 On the west side, the West 57th Street Garage (along with its gorgeous, three-story high sign) is no more. 

The once resplendent West 57th Street Garage has been demolished. (T. Rinaldi)

 On the east side, the veteran Japanese restaurant East has closed.

 Uptown, the picked-over husk of the Lenox Lounge has been put out of its misery, to make way for unspecified chain retail.  Give me strength.   

 Downtown, Pearl Paint's vanished neon has resurfaced as luxury tsotschke.  

 All over town, American Apparel has left New York, dimming some of the city's best new neon.   

 In Queens, Astoria's Broadway Liquors has LEDed what was one of New York's best neon storefronts.

Broadway Wines & Liquors in Astoria boasted one of New York's best neon storefronts. (T. Rinaldi)

Goodbye to all that.  Meanwhile, elsewhere . . . 

 For your listening pleasure: my interview on the Stark Truth podcast with Robert Stark. 

 Out west, sign chronicler Debra Jane Seltzer has been out and about - warning, there are some grizzly before-and-afters here:  

    > Cali to AZ
    > In-n-around LA
    > More In-n-around LA
    > A little here, a little there

 Via, "Creepy Abandoned Ghost Signs"  

 From down south: "Meet Todd Sanders, the Man Who Keeps the Texas Neon Burning" 

 Some windows into a neon-lit past over at Shorpy:  

    > Chicago's great Pabst spectacular by day and by night.
    > And a bonus of Indianapolis neon 

 Look for neon in the backdrop of these photos by Marvin E Newman in a new Taschen monolog of his work.  

 A glorious gallery of vanished Albany storefronts, from AllOverAlbany.   

 From the not-neon-but-still-cool file: Ephemeral New York pays homage to Canal Plastics.  

 And finally ~ nationwide neon: Las Vegas' neon museum on CBS Sunday Morning.  

Metropolitan Life.  ("Public Speaking")

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Edmund Vincent Gillon's New York

Not long ago, I chanced upon an online gallery featuring a great banquet of exceptionally fine New York street scenes by photographer Edmund Vincent Gillon, Jr, who died in 2008.   The photographs, housed at the Museum of the City of New York, date mostly to the 1970s and 80s.  Judging by their content, Mr. Gillon seems to have been drawn to the grand, the quirky, the ephemeral.  New York in those years must have been a wonderland for him.

From top: Schapiro's Kosher Wines, 143 Rivington St; Ratner's, 138 Delancey; Streit's Matzos, 148 (?) Rivington St. (Edmund Vincent Gillon / MCNY)

Says the Museum of the Gillon gallery:  "His photographs bring to life not only the countless readily apparent changes that have taken place in the city's urban landscape over the past several decades, but also the many subtle changes that transformed neighborhoods such as SoHo, Tribeca, and Dumbo as they transitioned, building by building, from gritty wastelands into the vibrant urban oases they have become."

From top: Loew's Delancey, 140 Delancey St; The Star Cafe, 167 West 23rd Street. (Edmund Vincent Gillon / MCNY)

Old neon signs - already old, even then, forty-odd years ago - often haunt the backdrop of Mr. Gillon's street scenes, as seen in the images excerpted here.  Like so much of what one finds in these photographs, all of the signs in this selection of photos are gone today.  Perusing the online gallery, I find that the photographs pose more questions than they answer.  With interests in the quirky and the ephemeral, where, I wonder, would a young Mr. Gillon point his lense in the city today?  

From top: Variety Theatre, 110 Third Ave.; Automat et al, East 14th Street, north side near Irving Place. (Edmund Vincent Gillon / MCNY)

The MCNY's gallery of photographs by Edmund Vincent Gillon Jr can be viewed online here.


Edmund Gillon Jr's photographs are featured in a number of books published in the heyday of Dover Publications.  Some of these include "Cast-iron Architecture in New York: a Photographic Survey" (1974); "New York Then and Now: 83 Manhattan Sites Photographed in the Past and the Present" (1976); "South Street : a Photographic Guide to New York City's Historic Seaport" (1977); "The Lower East Side : a Guide to its Jewish Past" (1979); "Provincetown Discovered : the Fishing Village Where The Pilgrims First Landed" (1986); "Beaux-Arts Architecture in New York : a Photographic Guide" (1988); and "The Great Sights of New York : A Photographic Guide" (1991).


 Thursday, April 20, 2017
 May date TBD

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

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.