Exploring NYC’s Most Iconic Neon Signs (2024)

New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Its bright lights, towering skyscrapers, and unique culture make it a popular destination for people from all walks of life. But perhaps one of the most iconic elements of the city are its illuminated signs. Whether it be the famous signs of Times Square, the dazzling lights of Broadway, or the neon signs of Chinatown, these illuminated signs have become inextricably associated with the city in the imaginations of people around the world. In this blog post, we'll explore the history and significance of illuminated signage in New York City.

1. Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Nathan's Famous, Inc. is an iconic American company that has been around since 1916. It is best known for its neon signs and chain of fast food restaurants specializing in hot dogs, which has become a staple of American culture. Nathan’s Famous has expanded across New York City, providing delicious hot dogs to customers for over a century. With a commitment to using bright neon signs, Nathan’s Famous is a true American classic.

2. Russ & Daughters

179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

If you're looking for some seriously awesome neon signs and the highest quality smoked fish, caviar, and specialty foods, Russ & Daughters is New York City's premier appetizing shop. For over 100 years, this iconic family business has been providing its customers with the best of the best in fresh, responsibly sourced fish and gourmet food. From hand-picked sturgeon caviar to wild caught smoked salmon, Russ & Daughters has a wide range of delicacies to choose from.

3. The New Yorker Hotel

481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001

The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel neon sign has been featured in many iconic films over the years, and has become a symbol of New York City. The historic art deco building is located in midtown Manhattan, and is a major landmark for both visitors and locals. With its ornate design, the neon sign has become a part of the city's cultural history.

4. Pepsi Cola

4-09 47th Road, Long Island City, New York

It's a sight that's been seen by generations of New Yorkers, and one that continues to dazzle visitors from around the world--the massive Pepsi Cola neon sign that overlooks Long Island in NYC. This iconic neon sign is a beloved landmark, and has been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and photographs. For those who are lucky enough to experience it, the Pepsi Cola neon sign is a powerful reminder of the city's history and culture, and the power of a brand.

5. Katz’s Delicatessen

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Katz’s Delicatessen is an iconic sandwich shop in New York City, instantly recognizable for its iconic neon sign. Located on the corner of East Houston and Ludlow in the Lower East Side, this deli has become a symbol of the vertical neon sign which has become so intertwined with the culture of the city. While it is easy to picture the bright and colorful signs in movies and TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends, it is arguably Katz’s Delicatessen that has played a role in forever cementing them in the New York City landscape.

6. C.O. Bigelow Chemist

414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

If you're looking for a piece of history in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City, you won't want to miss C.O. Bigelow Chemist. This historic shop is thought to have been the place where literary legend Mark Twain would purchase his shaving soap! It's impossible to miss the massive and bright neon sign with an arrow pointing you straight towards the chemist from the street.

7. Radio City Music Hall

1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

Radio City Music Hall is a legendary venue that has been entertaining guests for over 85 years. Nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation, it is a landmark in New York City and was once the leading tourist destination in the city. One of the most iconic and recognizable features of the building is the Radio City Music Hall neon sign that stands proudly on the building's facade.

8. The Empire Hotel

44 W 63rd St., New York, NY 10023

For over 90 years, the Empire Hotel neon sign has been a prominent fixture on the New York City skyline. This iconic red neon sign has become a symbol of the city's beauty and charm and has been featured in popular shows such as Gossip Girl. The original sign was first constructed in the 1960s, and it is still the same sign that we see today, a testament to its lasting quality and beauty. The Empire Hotel building first opened in 1923, and since then, it has been a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is one of the city's oldest, and most well-known hotels, and its neon sign has become a beloved part of the city's history.

9. Apollo Theatre

253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027

The Apollo Theater is an iconic venue in Harlem, New York City and has been the home of some of the most outstanding performances in black music. In 2005, the theater underwent a massive refurbishment to bring it up to 21st century standards, while still staying true to its vintage feel from the 1940s. The refurbishments included a fully refurbished terracotta facade, a stainless steel and glass storefront, and a digital marquee which utilizes programmable LED visuals. This blog post will discuss the significance of the Apollo Theater neon sign, and how it has been a symbol of black music for generations.

10. Silvercup Studios

42-22 22nd St, Queens, NY 11101

The iconic Silvercup Studios neon sign has been a beacon of the Long Island City skyline since 1961. Situated on top of the main Silvercup Studios building, which occupies the former Silvercup Bakery building, the sign originally read "Silvertop Bread," but has since been adapted for the studio once it took over the space in 1983. Silvercup Studios is the largest film and television production facility in New York City, with two locations in Long Island City and one in the Bronx.

New York City is certainly a place of unique sights and sounds. But these iconic neon sign fixtures have become synonymous with the city over the years. Signs like these, which can be found on top of buildings, along walls, and advertising businesses, have become an integral part of the city's landscape for future generations to come.

Exploring NYC’s Most Iconic Neon Signs (2024)

FAQs

Exploring NYC’s Most Iconic Neon Signs? ›

The Decline Of Neon Signage

Neon sign usage was in decline by the 1960s. At this point neon signs were no longer a novelty, and cheaper forms of illuminated signage were becoming more popular. Many neon signs up until this point were also made from glass containing lead.

What happened to all the neon signs? ›

The Decline Of Neon Signage

Neon sign usage was in decline by the 1960s. At this point neon signs were no longer a novelty, and cheaper forms of illuminated signage were becoming more popular. Many neon signs up until this point were also made from glass containing lead.

Why is neon not used anymore? ›

By the 1960s, most businesses went away from neon signs because they were so expensive and fragile. Then, there was a revival in neon signs being popular during the 1980s as a temporary trend. Now, it's generally understood that traditional neon is expensive and has issues concerning safety and inefficiency.

Why are neon signs so rare? ›

Much of the high cost of traditional neon signs is a result of how rare they are now. That process is a mastered art known by few and done professionally by even fewer — so when there's only a handful of people able to make neon signs through that complicated process, the price is naturally high.

What is neon famous for? ›

A colourless, odourless gas. Neon will not react with any other substance. The largest use of neon is in making the ubiquitous 'neon signs' for advertising. In a vacuum discharge tube neon glows a reddish orange colour.

What are the 5 neon colors? ›

Neon color palettes have neon hues like neon yellow, neon red, neon green, neon blue, neon pink, and neon purple. All these bright hues have hex color codes.

Are real neon signs still made? ›

Yes, there are still craftspeople who make and repair real neon signs. Not as many as there once were, but they are still made and appreciated.

Are neon signs going out of style? ›

Neon signs are making a comeback — their vibrant and mesmerizing glow is becoming a captivating way for companies to make a statement and establish their brand identity in a highly competitive market. This resurgence is reshaping the way businesses communicate.

What has replaced neon lights? ›

LED signs require minimal upkeep and are less prone to issues such as flickering, dimming, or bulb replacements, which are common concerns with traditional neon signs.

What do neon signs symbolize? ›

A Sign of the Times

Signs fueled by glowing neon became icons of commerce and entertainment. The bright lights of neon came to signify the bright possibilities of the electronic age, a symbol of progress. There was nothing more modern than neon.

Do neon signs go bad? ›

Most neon signs are expected to last between eight and 15 years, although many continue to function for much longer than that. Leaving a sign switched on for prolonged periods can shorten its lifespan, and leave it at risk of overheating or sustaining damage from electrical surges.

What are the disadvantages of neon signs? ›

Cons to Neon lighting for signs:
  • They output very little light for amount of power required.
  • Limited colors available based on gas and glass color configurations.
  • The glass tubes can be fragile.
  • Generally only one color can be used at a time.
  • Very high maintenance costs.
  • One small crack and the entire piece is broken.

What are 5 ways neon is used? ›

Neon is used in vacuum tubes, high-voltage indicators, lightning arresters, wavemeter tubes, television tubes, and helium–neon lasers.

What are 5 characteristics of neon? ›

The key properties of neon include the following:
  • It is a colorless, tasteless odorless inert gas.
  • It changes to reddish-orange color in vacuum tube.
  • It is chemically inactive.
  • It has the lowest liquid range of any element.
Dec 17, 2012

How many years old is neon? ›

A-N3RD confirms Neon's age as 19, highlighting the unique clarity in Neon's age compared to other agents.

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