The Neon of Old New York

08/10/2009 11:33 AM |

By the time Earle C. Anthony installed his iconic, luminous Packard neon sign — the first in America — outside his Los Angeles car dealership in 1923 the “liquid fire” that had already spread across Europe was taking hold in America. Throughout the Depression, WWII and Baby Boom years, neon signs invited patrons to drink, hawked goods and helped weary travelers find their way to the nearest inn. New York’s own vintage neon can be found from velvet rope venues and world-famous restaurants all the way down to $1.50-a-beer-dives. The greatest examples, of course, are the neon signs that have been pristinely preserved over the decades, whether by serendipity or a deep and sincere dedication by the owners who love them. In a city that has a history of bulldozing, then building over its past, there are just a few of these signs left around the neighborhoods of the five boroughs (P&G Café RIP), but they still shine prominently and continue to vie for the title of oldest and most treasured. Click through for some great photos of NYC’s best kept neon.

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