(In Red Hook on Conover Street btwn Reed & Beard Streets)
I’ve written about Sunny’s before, but I’m here now to tell you that Sunny’s needs your help. This wonderful bar is in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and as many of you know, Red Hook was hit hard by the storm. Sunny’s did not escape damage.
Head on over to Kickstarter to help reopen Sunny’s, or head to Hamilton Gallery Theater on Saturday for another fundraiser. Their Kickstarter project has some really great rewards, including a miniature version of their awesome neon sign. Help out if you can!
(On Conover Street btwn Reed & Beard Streets in Red Hook, Brooklyn)
Conover Street on a freezing February evening is a cold, dark, lonely place to be. Or at least it is until you see this, one of my favorite neon signs in New York. If you can see that sign, you must be within spitting distance of Sunny’s, and that is a very happy place to be. If the sign is lit, better still—it must be after 8 o’clock on a Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, which is when Sunny’s is open (originally it was Fridays only). ”When you enter Sunny’s,” as my friend Paul describes it, “The rest of the world just falls away, and suddenly there is no other place but This Place.”
It happens to be a place that’s bit of a hike from the not-always-reliable G train, so I cajoled Paul into driving last night—though that’s not exactly a hard sell for anyone acquainted with the charms of this Brooklyn institution. If you ever hear someone say Sunny’s is the best bar in the world, you shouldn’t contradict them, you should just go.
You might think I failed to focus properly when taking this photo—nope, the blur is from the steamy window, caught between the outdoor chill and the indoor warmth. Neon in a steamy window entirely makes up for the fact that the neon is in a window in the first place—not a configuration I usually prefer since the glow has nowhere to go. But the steam not only showcases the glow, it shows you that there is a warm refuge on the other side. When we arrived shortly after opening last night there were only a couple of people there, which you can tell just looking at the window then. By the time we left, though, things were in a Sunny’s kind of low-key full swing, and the window had steamed up nicely.
I love this sign not only for being a beacon for a warm, inviting place, but also for its design. The colors are great—I never noticed until I photographed it that the dolphin (is that a dolphin or a stylized whale?) has a green nose. Nice. The shape of the anchor, the curves of the fishy thing—it’s all graceful but simple, tough but welcoming, and totally appropriate for the waterfront location down the street from where stevedoring still happens. And for the price of a couple of beers I got to admire the glow of the sign and the warmth behind it.