(on Richmond Ave between Eltingville Boulevard & Wilson Avenue in Eltingville, Staten Island)
Spring is not an easy time for Project Neon. Between my allergies to all the pollens and the dreaded approach of Daylight Savings Time, bane of neon glow, I generally prefer autumn. And now DST is ridiculously early — it starts this Sunday at 2AM! — so I forced myself out into the night after work last night to return to Eltingville and see if I couldn’t catch Delco Drugs’ sign aglow. Two subways, a ferry, and a train later, I did! It’s beautiful!
What you see above is one half of the sign. It sits next to Lenny’s Cleaners & Laundry (which wasn’t open, but the sign was on) and just a few blocks away from the Eltingville Pharmacy, which you may remember from my trip to Staten Island last November when Delco was off, which nearly made me cry. It’s a hassle to get there (about 2 hours minimum, if you time the ferry, train, and subway transfers correctly), but I was so happy I did before DST took Delco away from me (it’s open until 8p on weeknights).
The script is lovely — look at the loops on that D! — and l love that it’s outlined instead of just a single stroke. Makes all the difference, I think.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a straight-on shot of the whole sign (much less the two neon neighbors) because of trees and crosswalk signs and lamp posts, but I stitched three photos together to show you the full Delco Drugs (I wish the words were a little closer together), and here’s the best I could do of Delco with Larry’s together. You can also see the whole sign pretty well from an angle (the photo above is angled, too). You might be able to see that it’s channel lettering and that there’s a bit of red-shift on the right end of Drugs (which I love — kind of like neon’s version of patina), but you probably can’t see that it’s on a wonderful textured chrome background behind the sign.
As I was taking these pictures a fellow & his friend walked up to me and asked me if I liked the sign. Of course I said I did, and he introduced himself as the owner of the store. I didn’t catch his name and he seemed on his way somewhere, but before he left he told me how much he loved the sign and how much care and repair he puts into it. He said the sign (and its neighbor) is about 45 years old, but I think it may be a smidge older (as NYNeon.org says) and he was probably forgetting how far into the 21st century we are, as I always do. At any rate, he headed off and I finished my photos then popped inside to pick up some Advil before heading back up to the train station (conveniently just a block away) and homeward.
Eltingville is lucky to have three really great neon signs on the same street, and a bunch of other nice neon around, too. Now if I can only find another den of neon like this elsewhere on Staten Island. Any tips?
In about an hour I’m leaving for the neon bending workshop at Brooklyn Glass. I’m very excited!
Jackson Hole Airline Diner
(Astoria Blvd btwn Hazen & 70th Streets)
Aha! Yes! Two people guessed correctly — Heather (by comment) & juliadantchev (with a reblog comment). I *think* Heather was first, but I’m not positive. I’d also like to say thanks to Ben K. for reminding me that I hadn’t yet gotten here.
Jackson Hole is a local chain of burger joints, and this particular location was, in a past life, the Airline Diner. The name makes sense when you realize how close it is to LaGuardia — just off the Grand Central Parkway a few blocks away. The older part of the sign with the green airplane (alas, not in 100% full glow) blends right in with the airplanes overhead.
Not all the neon was in full glow when I was there, but most of it was operational. The Greek key pattern around the fascia of the diner in blue with yellow highlights is lovely and dinery, the animation (if you can’t see it above look here) on one sign features tiny airplanes while the other alternates green and pink for DINER. So great! And the Jackson Hole part of the sign isn’t bad either (if a bit incongruous). I like that there’s a period after Jackson Hole. For some reason punctuation in a neon sign always makes me happy.
I can’t say the burger was anything to write home about. It was, as advertised, big and greasy. Not a lot of flavor though. I think next time I come (and I’d like to get some better photos), I’ll stick with diner classics like milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches.
The interior, by the way, is as beautiful as the exterior. All kinds of great details from pillowed stainless steel to an ancient Just Born case (sadly bereft of peeps, though it did contain other candy).
The other Jackson Hole Diner location in Queens also has some neon (though not as great as this), so I’ll hit it up sometime, too.
Where is it?
Detail No. 4.
Okay, okay — this has to be a giveaway, right? Now you know where all these photos are, yes? Enter your guess in the comments below or email me at heyprojectneon at gmail with the borough and business name. Tomorrow I’ll post the photo that really gives it all away.
What you can’t quite make out below “DINER” is “BEER PARKING,” a really ace set of amenities, especially in New York City, where parking (if not beer), is in perennially short supply.
PS: if you can’t see the animation above, look here.
Where is it?
Detail No. 3
Is it coming clear yet? Can you guess where this neon can be found (business name & borough)? (I can’t get the Tumblr answers thing to work, so you can use the comments below or email me at heyprojectneon at gmail.) The first person who looked at this in Flickr *may* have noticed a tag or two that gave it away before I deleted them — I’m still getting the hang of Lightroom!
This photo gives you some context for the two previous details. Tomorrow I’ll post an image that’s even more distinctive, though this seems to be the only neon Greek key pattern I’ve photographed (though I thought I had seen one before… can’t seem to find it). Anyone know of others?
While you’re mulling over this neonerific location, here’s some miscellaneous neon news, some of which I’ve already posted to Twitter:
• Hinsch’s is once again for sale. Someone needs to give me all the money so I can buy it.
• Neon art in Paris. Thanks Rob B.
• Tomorrow night I’ll be at Urban Omnibus’ art auction, and I’ve donated a limited edition print of Hinsch’s.
• Did you notice that the Project Neon Flickr set has passed 1,000 photos? That’s a lot of neon! I’d guess that’s around 750 to 800 separate places though, alas, I have not been keeping track of that.
OK, that’s all the news for now. Back to the game: can you name this neon?
Where is it?
Detail No. 2
I’ll keep giving more clues until someone guesses the business name & borough where this neon can be found. You can see above I was there on a rainy night, but where is there? Enter your guess as an answer or a comment below.
Can you put this detail together with the first clue to figure out where this neon is located?
Where Is It?
Detail No. 1
Hello neonologists. Do you know what sign this detail is from? I will tell you it’s within New York CIty limits, but I won’t give you any more clues for now. I will, however, keep posting increasingly revelatory details each day until someone guesses. If you think you know, post your guess in the comments or answers below. (You can see a larger version of the photo over on Flickr if you like.) Will someone guess right away? Or will it take a few more photo clues to show you the way? I’m curious to see!
So tell me, where (business name & borough) was this photo taken?
A Dozen Things You Can Do To Help Project Neon
Humble Suggestions from Your Narrator
Hello neon fans! We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog (again!) for a little PSA. Are you wondering how you can show your appreciation for all the hard work that goes into this here blog? Well, a dozen handy suggestions are listed below. Project Neon is a one-woman show, so I appreciate every little bit of support — moral, financial, or otherwise — I can get.
I’ve been trying over the last few weeks to remember to take the time to show my appreciation for the various blogs & projects I admire and enjoy. None of it’s big money stuff — buying a small print here, backing a Kickstarter project there, commenting, emailing my thanks, stuff like that. In case you’re looking to do the same, here are a handful of ways you could show you’re fond of Project Neon, if you’re so inclined but not sure how to go about it:
1. Give the app feedback at the iTunes App Store
I’d really like to encourage this! It not only helps more people find & decide to download the app, it also lets me know that people are actually using & enjoying it, which makes the ongoing work of updating it more rewarding! You can rate the app at the iTunes store. Find the link here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/project-neon/id464751184?mt=8
3. Reblog on Tumblr
Reblogging your favorite posts helps increase the audience for Project Neon — I’ve gotten a lot of new followers that way. Posting links to Project Neon on Facebook is great, too, especially if you add your own commentary.
4. Like & comment on blog posts
This may seem like a little thing, but it not only increases the exposure of the posts, it also lets me know that people are interested in what I’m posting. I try to take into account to some extent which kind of posts get more likes, too, though I know that’s somewhat dependent on when I post, how busy you are, etc.
5. Tweet (or retweet) about the app & blog
I am always pleased when I see Project Neon being mentioned around Twitter. Include @heyprojectneon in so I’ll be sure to see what you said, as I don’t always have time to keep up with all the Tweeting going on out there.
6. Buy things on Etsy & leave feedback
The money I make on Etsy (after paying for printing, shipping & transaction costs) goes to support the project — saving up for a new camera, taking care of the camera I’ve got, keeping up with storage for the thousands of photos on my computer, etc. etc. I am, by the way, happy to set up custom orders to create a new print from one of my many Flickr photos not on Etsy or to combine multiple orders and give you a small discount. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or convo me via Etsy.
7. Give a donation
There’s a Paypal button on the blog home page, or just direct your donation to email@example.com. Donations are used as above, and also to fund the small things I buy from various neoned businesses on my visit. If you’d like to direct your donation (eg. “Have a beer on me at Dublin House!”), just let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate you. If you’d like to donate a different way than via Paypal, just let me know that as well.
8. Tell other blogs about Project Neon
If there’s a blog you enjoy that you think might be interested in Project Neon, I would be really grateful if you’d tell them about the project. Just tell them to take a look at the blog and email me if they need any more information (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks!
9. Recommend signs & tell me stories about signs I’ve already photographed
I love learning about new signs from Project Neon fans. I appreciate if you take a quick look at Flickr to see if I’ve photographed it already. If you search my photostream for, say, “Midtown, bar, neon,” you’ll see pretty quickly that I’ve already photographed the Subway Inn. I do love hearing stories about signs I’ve already photographed — it’s one of my favorite things about the project — and I may share your story in a future blog post if I think others would be interested. (Let me know if you want to keep it off the record.)
10. Write about Project Neon
If you have a blog or write for other blogs or publications, I’d love to see what you’ve written. And if you need more information or quotes for your stories, shoot me an email.
11. Make suggestions about the app, blog, or photos
This is tricky as I’ve had a hard time keeping up with email (*sigh*), but I do appreciate thoughtful suggestions. I’m thinking through some adjustments to the project soon, so it’s a good time to add your two cents. I’m also always happy to hear suggestions on how best to spread the word about Project Neon.
12. Send words of encouragement
I am very fond of this project, but I enjoy it even more when I know other people are keen on it, too! Sometimes a long night of trekking around the city followed by several hours of cataloging, uploading, and mapping can be pretty exhausting, and a friendly note is a very effective pick-me-up.
I’m very grateful for all you have done to help Project Neon already — the Kickstarter support, the donations, the likes, the reblogs, the favorites, the encouragement. Without your support Project Neon would probably have faded away by now, but instead is going strong. Thank you!
Funeral Home Neon around New York
These are the working funeral home neon signs I’ve found so far. Are there more I’m missing? I know there were more in the past…
I don’t know why, but I particularly love these. Maybe because they were unexpected neon trope to me until I started this project (even though one of them is in my own neighborhood, and I’d looked at it many times without thinking about it.)
Anyone know of any others?
Eddie’s Sweet Shop
(On Metropolitan Avenue at 72nd Road in Forest Hills, Queens)
Why are we not hanging out at Eddie’s ALL THE TIME? Seriously, it is the best. It’s a lovely old-fashioned soda fountain, with house-made ice cream and lots of other delicious stuff. When I stopped in on Tuesday, it was empty except the two (very nice) kids behind the counter, one couple, and me. Of course it was dinner time, but who doesn’t want ice cream for dinner?
I opted for a root-beer float with coffee ice cream — a tricky thing to eat while walking since you need to wield both straw and spoon, but that’s what I wanted so that’s what I got. I should have stayed and eaten it there, but I had miles to go before the night was over (I’ll show you the rest of the photos from that night soon) so I didn’t. Next time, though, I’ll stay — the inside is one of the most charming spaces in New York.
I can’t really judge the quality of the ice cream since mine was deliciously immersed in root-beer, but it seemed quite good if not world-beater quality. I make my own ice cream pretty regularly, so I’m more interested in an ice cream place with an array of great toppings, a wonderful atmosphere, and yes — neon! The soda jerks (I love that term…) inside were friendly and even undercharged me according to the prices posted. Seriously you guys — we need to go here all the time.
It’s a 15 or 20 minute walk from the subway (or the LIRR if you prefer), but the walk is largely through a weirdly magical fairy land of faux-Tudor fancy homes, which more than made up for the lack of commercial life, and next time I need to remember that the Q54 bus goes right there. The Ice Cream Express! Well, OK, more like the Ice Cream Local, but still. The shop itself is on a corner of Metropolitan Avenue, and the sign is a simple but classic pink SODA wrapping around the shiny stainless corner above the corner entrance.
I’ve known about Eddie’s for a long time, but never took the time to make the trek. I’m really glad Project Neon made me finally do it. And now we all need to hang out here all the time… and eat all the ice cream.