(in the Upper West Side on Broadway between 105th and 106th Streets)
I’ve got a couple of posts I’m hoping to have time to get to this weekend, but first I’d like to say thanks to Lisa Hix, for the Project Neon interview she’s written for Collectors Weekly. Thank you, Lisa, for making me sound vaguely coherent!
The photo above from Riverside Liquor on Broadway is one of my favorites (as you may have guessed from its inclusion in the Limited Edition Prints). When I stopped by for a visit last weekend, though, the sign was looking a little the worse for wear:
It’s still a great sign, but I do hope it gets repaired soon. Speaking of repairs, I also stopped by Murray’s Sturgeon Shop, hoping that the removal of the scaffolding from the building meant they had maybe fixed their neon. Alas, no luck.
Riverside is a small liquor shop with an indecipherable (at least to me) cataloguing system. You’re best off asking for help, which was what I ended up doing. I was buying some blended scotch to try scotch & soda — believe it or not, I’ve never had it! — as part of a new project of mine, A Culinary Companion. (It’s a writing project, not a pictures project, about food & literature.) I was surprised to find both scotch & soda and brandy & soda very pleasant. Not as forceful and warming as the straight up liquors, but neither were they just watered down nothings. More just a gentler form of drink, refreshing with the bubbles. A pleasant accompaniment to a lazy afternoon.
Anyway, the staff at Riverside were friendly and helpful, and there was a steady parade of patrons from all walks of life. The sign is a bright spot on broadway, with the classic mazey infill that I love. I’ve said before that pink isn’t one of my favorite colors (I guess I’m not a very girly girl), but pink neon is just fantastic.
OK, I’ll be back later this weekend with more neon news, links, and photos. See you then!
Queens Wines & Liquors
(71st Avenue @ Myrtle & Forest)
I finally made it back to Queens Wines & Liquors this evening—third time’s the charm! I’d been once before to see the lights (what a great sign!) earlier this winter, but the next couple of times I went out to Ridgewood, Queens I somehow go the hours wrong. The sign’s so long (and with a small bonus Liquor & arrow up high) that it’s hard to make a photograph that really captures the brightness and glow, so I was eager to return, zoom lens in hand.
Behind the sign is a great liquor store, with a vast selection. I wanted something summery, and debated for awhile over St. Germain or Lillet, but in the end went with Pimm’s. I’m drinking some over ice in a little Turkish teacup now.
I’m not a huge cocktail drinker (I usually stick with beer) but a nice summer cocktail is a lovely thing (and summertime neon expeditions are a bit limited since so many things close early—and the trees are in leaf—but the days are getting shorter…) I’m sure I’ll be visiting several more bars & liquor stores before the summer is over! I had no I idea when I started this project that one side benefit would be an expanded liquor shelf.
In other Project Neon news, the iPhone app is proceeding apace, I’m working on fulfilling Kickstarter rewards (I just sent some more out and have a small pile here to send out this weekend), and I’ve added a little Shop page to the blog (though the shop actually lives over on Equals Architecture, one of my other web sites, so I can have a little more control over the layout than here on Tumblr). The shop is more of a test run for now than a proper online store, as I need to finish Kickstarter rewards before I can fulfill any orders, but when I’ve cleared the decks a bit I’ll expand it and get it all ship shape. (You’re welcome to buy photos & posters from it now, but orders will be put in queue behind the Kickstarter rewards.)
(7th Avenue South btwn Grove & Bleecker Streets)
Casa Oliveira is a swell wine & liquor shop in the West Village. It was a bit of an old home week to stop by there last night, since I used to work nearby and would pop in whenever I needed some booze. I made the trip back, as I have a bunch of cherries at home and, together with the new cherry pitter I picked up at the Brooklyn Kitchen, I’m all ready to make brandied cherries (and maybe cherry ice cream with a hint of brandy as well?), except for an utter lack of brandy at Project Neon headquarters.
I was so very happy to see the sign not just in working order (last time I was there the Casa Olivera was out), but brighter than ever. I love this sign not only for the animation (“Liquors” alternates with “Fine Wines”), for the sidewalk sign with the great address number (also shown above), but also for the lovely patina of the red and white painted backdrop of the swing sign and the enameled backdrop of the facade sign. So beautiful. I do wish the sidewalk sign had outlined instead of single-stroke letters, but that’s a quibble. The overall effect, especially when the sign is as bright as it was last night, is splendid. (If you can’t see the animation, click the box below.)
The people at Casa Oliveira have always been gracious and helpful, too. It’s a small shop, but I’ve always found what I wanted.
It was nice to see a sign in working order, especially after hearing about the remnants of Jade Mountain (the iconic Chow Mein sign has been removed, and part of the remains of the channel letters crushed) and finding that Morscher’s Pork Store in Ridgewood has replaced their wonderful neon with a tacky plastic sign. I am really heartbroken about both of those. But happily there are still places like Casa Oliveira, who are willing to maintain beautiful signs like this one.