Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has nixed this year's Halloween Parade, darkened neon all over town and destroyed one of the city's best historic signs (more below).  So here's some spooky neon to brighten this post-hurricane Halloween.

Though I try not to digress too much from NYC-related subject matter, I just had to make an exception for this little Halloween-themed gem from Detroit.  I ran across this while perusing old issues of the Claude Neon News at the New York Public Library.  Published for just a few years around 1930, the Claude Neon News showcased the company's work for promotional purposes.  The March 1929 issue featured this installation, conceived by Detroit's "city authorities" to "keep motorists and street railway passengers apart."  Oh for the days when traffic planners resorted to red neon skull-and-crossbones to keep us safe!

(Claude Neon News, March 1929 / NYPL)

Alas, these little neon Jolly Rogers didn't last long.  In July 1929 the Claude Neon News ran a blurb under the headline "Replacing the Skull and Crossbones."  Some bureaucratic killjoys apparently decided that a simple neon rectangle would suffice in place of Claude’s more spirited traffic advisory.  "The reaction to the Claude Neon skull and crossbone display previously used by the city for the same purpose was that it was a bit too gruesome." 

(Claude Neon News, July 1929 / NYPL) 

 By way of the ATZ Blog, the Shore Theater's wonderful vertical sign in Coney Island has been trounced by Hurricane Sandy.  Utterly heartbreaking.

The old Loew's Shore Theatre sign, lost to Hurricane Sandy. (T. Rinaldi)
  From the Lost City blog: bad news for Gallagher's Steak House on West 52nd Street, set to close in January after 85 years.

Gallagher's, soon to close. (T. Rinaldi)  


  1. Sad news about the damage from Sandy! Hope other signs in the city faired better!

  2. Yes, my heart sank! Also - the CIty Island Lobster House sign got fatally clobbered: