in Kips Bay on 2nd Avenue at 34th Street
To console myself for the bad New York neon news lately, I revisited Clover Deli, an early favorite (you can read the old post here). I was overjoyed to see the usually ad-splashed over-lit public phone thingy (what do you call those things that aren’t proper phone booths?) completely dark. Finally! An opportunity to get a decent distraction-free photo of one of New York’s brightest.
Of course I also photographed House of Wine & Liquor on the corner (famous to, well, me not only for its great vertical sign (with an excellent arrow), but also its exchange neon in the window), and managed to capture both in the third photo above with a little clever traffic dodging. I should probably take along a spotter for photos like that.
I feel obliged to mention here that one of my biggest pet peeves in urban photography is people who stitch together photos or do extensive cloning to hide things like bus stops or phone booths. You’ll see a lot of photos of Clover with nothing in front of it, and if you look closely, you can usually spot multiple vanishing points. So disappointing!
Clover is a Project Neon favorite for many reasons including the classic pink and green, the Greek Es, and the curl on the C. They also have excellent black & white cookies, but I skipped those this time — the continued glow on the corner of 34th and Second was enough to put a smile on my face.
Farewell Rodeo Bar
Closing Sunday July 27, 2014
on 3rd Avenue at 27th Street in Kips Bay
I was disappointed to hear of the impending closure of honky-tonk venue Rodeo Bar on Third Avenue, and went out a couple of weeks ago to photograph the sign. I was further disappointed to find the sign engulfed in scaffolding, though by standing across the street only somewhat in the line of traffic, I was able to get most of it. Sadly, my only other photo is not quite in the full dark, though it does show the colors a little better:
I assuaged my disappointment by visiting a nearby favorite afterwards, which I’ll post about soon.
It’s been a while since I visited Rodeo Bar, but that’s just because I haven’t been going out and about at night much lately, not because of any lack in the bar. They showcase (for a couple more days) honky-tonk music, proffer free peanuts, and keep their kitchen open late. All in all a festive and fun place to hang out.
Farewell Rodeo Bar — the city will be darker without you.
NB: The Project Neon giveaway winner will be announced soon!
Holy cow, you guys! Circo’s Pastry Shop’s recently restored neon is BEAUTIFUL. I emailed them ages ago to ask if they had any plans to relight their long-dark neon signs, and received a friendly reply that gave me some home that some day, maybe, it might just happen. But I know how these things go, and the chances of a large-scale neon restoration seem vanishingly small these days. But then, lo and behold, earlier this summer New York Neon blog reported the great news that super neon-bender Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon had completed the restoration of the main signs. (I recommend reading that post for a wonderful behind-the-scenes report.)
With one thing and another I hadn’t made it out there until last night. The long, dark winter nights mean it’s now prime neon-viewing season, so I jumped on the L train and headed out to the far side of Bushwick — nearly to Ridgewood, Queens — to have a look for myself. (I was too cold to continue on to Queens Tavern née Caskys, but picking up some anisette biscotti and bringing them to the tavern for beer dunking sounds like a great neon double-feature for another time.)
There’s a bold neon-red “BAKERY” on one side of the corner storefront, and a classic pink and green “CIRCO’S pastry shop” on the other. The capital letters have slab-serifs, and “pastry shop” is in one of the most appealing neon scripts I’ve seen yet. I’m seriously in love with this neon and glad I hauled myself out in the cold to visit.
You should go, too. You should really, really go. It’s a fabulous Italian bakery, full of traditional Italian treats like biscotti di San Marino (only available in the fall near his feast day, November 11) and new-fangled confections, like custom-made cakes.
An aside about San Marino: he’s the patron saint of wine-makers (a fall activity), and legend says that San Marino cut his cloak to give half to a beggar for warmth, so an unseasonably late warmth, near his feast day (what we call an Indian summer) is known in Italy (and France) as a St. Marino’s summer (estate di san marino). I’m going to start using that. His feast is celebrated by eating biscotti di San Marino, and dunking them in new wine.
I settled on some anisette biscotti (I’m currently trying to corral the crumbs away from my keyboard), and marveled at the shop’s classic details, like the name in terrazzo on the front step. According to the writeup over on New York Neon, the window neon is currently being repaired — can’t wait to see that. And maybe, just maybe, the fantastic vertical “Dolceria” sign will come later. I hope so! If buying more biscotti will help, I’ll certainly be back soon. (Especially since I’m not 100% pleased with my photos — apologies for the weird color shift!)
Circo’s, you’re the best, and a new Project Neon favorite. Thanks for restoring your sign, and thanks to Artistic Neon for doing such a beautiful job.
Hey, only one day left to enter the Project Neon giveaway! Get over there now before time runs out!
I should probably have posted this yesterday, huh? But today is National Leftovers Day, right? I made a squab instead of a turkey yesterday, but there are still plenty of leftovers. Post-Thanksgiving sandwich here I come!
My internet is very nearly kaput and I don’t have the energy to face the epic battle that is calling Verizon at the moment, so I think I’ll go do some offline writing and drawing instead. I wish instead of National Buy Crap Day, today was Make Something Day. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I do promise to queue up more neon photos soon, though, and I’m hoping to get out to photograph some neon later this weekend.
Now go enter the giveaway then make yourself a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich for luck!
East Side Cafe
(in Grammercy on 23rd Street between 1st & 2nd Avenues)
Hey-O! It’s a Neonistic Giveaway!
Because the number of Project Neon followers has rocketed well past 1,000 (just on Tumblr — not even counting email & RSS readers!), I’m saying thank you by giving away one or more items from the Project Neon Etsy shop. You can win your choice of a 2014 Project Neon calendar or an 8”x10 print.
I hope things go smoothly, but I’ve never used Rafflecopter before, so please be patient if there are a few bumps on the road. I can’t put the entry widget in a post, so visit the Giveaway page on the website: http://projectneon.tumblr.com/giveaway and you’ll see there are a few ways to enter. You can comment on this post, tweet about the giveaway, follow Project Neon on Twitter, or like the Facebook page. Any of those things will get you an entry. Doing more of them gets you more entries.
Don’t be shy about spreading the word — if more than 50 people enter, I’ll add TWO more prizes. If waaaay more people enter, I’ll think about adding even more.
I’ve opened this up to residents of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the EU. (I’m afraid anywhere else is just going to be too expensive for me to foot the postal bill — apologies if you live elsewhere.)
You have until the end of November to enter. The winner(s) will be notified by email and must reply within 48 hours or forfeit their prize. If you have any questions let me know. Good luck!
House of Wine and Liquor
In Midtown on 34th Street near 2nd Avenue
Tell me, what’s your favorite month from the calendar or photo from the Project Neon Etsy shop?
in Greenpoint on Nassau Avenue at Guernsey Street
Oh, hey, you guys — I just found out from the New York Neon Blog about a great Kickstarter you should support! Greenpointers is making a documentary about neon signs and how they are made. Very cool! Even cooler, it will feature the very talented Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon, and will also include an interview with New York neon historian Thomas Rinaldi.
Hurry! It ends on Sunday, so get your pledge in and help them make their goal. They’re very close, but they won’t get anything unless they make it by the deadline. Help them cross the finish line!