(on City Island, on Bridge Street between City Island Avenue & Minnieford Avenue)
[Psssst! There’s a new donate page above and a link in the sidebar if you’d like to buy me a beer… or a lobster!]
I knew there was some neon on City Island, but wow, there is a LOT of neon out there. And some of it will take you straight back to the 80s, especially when there is a guy at a keyboard singing the theme from Bosom Buddies (that was at Sammy’s Shrimp Box, if memory serves). My favorite was the one pictured above, for the City Island Lobster House (you can get there by land or by sea—they have their own pier!) I have a couple of quibbles with it: first, why did they put plastic over what I’m pretty sure is neon lettering? It would be so much more awesome as a 100% neon sign. Quibble two is that so much of the lobster neon is burnt out. Please fix this, Lobster House people! I want to
stare for hours at appreciate the animated right claw! Pinch!…Pinch!…Pinch!
These are quibbles, though—it’s a great sign. I love the way the lobster’s infill works, and especially how the dots that anchor the neon look like speckles on a lobster shell. The sign is huge—it’s on the roof of the lobster house—and greets you to the left as you cross the bridge onto City Island.
Inside the Lobster House are many other neon things, including a neon-outlined stuffed fish (and a neon-outlined biplane). Is this a thing? Or a thing on City Island? Because this wasn’t the only neon-outlined stuffed fish (or the only neon-outlined biplane).
I have to say the restaurant itself didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t indulge in the specialty of the house (lobster, duh), so it’s not really fair of me to judge. My budget runs more toward Johnny’s Reef Restaurant at the other end of the Island, which serves up what may be the cheapest beer in New York under this neon sign (the rest of the place has great signs, but alas, no other neon), as well as fried anything.
Sammy’s empire toward that end of the island features some kick-ass neon. I especially loved the sign for Sammy’s Shrimp Box’s parking lot. This fish has some crazy eyes. Sammy’s Fish Box had a good sign as well, and there was a bunch of neon inside and in the windows I didn’t catch. Crustaceans are a popular subject for neon around the island (and they go well with classic neon red). I also loved the sign for the Lobster Box (though it was difficult to photograph). Check out that slinky S!
If you don’t know about City Island at all, you should make the pilgrimage. It is ineffable. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to get there without a car (thanks for driving, Paul!), but it’s still worth making the trek, whether by Zipcar or bus. Or sailboat. It’s a scene in the summer.
At the end of the night we swung over to the South Bronx to check out the Bruckner Bar & Grill, which has a big vertical sign visible from the Major Deegan Expressway. Sadly, a major neon malfunction had occurred earlier at the corner of Bruckner Boulevard and Third Avenue, so the sign is going to be out for a bit. The owner, happily, is committed to getting it fixed, though. I’ll try again another time. Which reminds me—know any other good neon in the Bronx (besides Arthur Ave & Frank’s Sporting Goods, which close too early for summer photos)?
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