January 14, 2016 |
One of the best-loved relics of Philadelphia's recent past, the neon Boot & Saddle sign on South Broad Street, is glowing again. The sign came out with all its lights blazing Saturday night, nearly eight months after it was taken down from the facade of the music club at Ellsworth Street. The stainless-steel structure, which is shaped like a giant cowboy boot, and is attached to the building by steel in the shape of a horse saddle, has been completely renovated and outfitted with new neon tubes, said Len Davidson, a neon expert, who supervised the repairs.
May 28, 2015 |
The Loews hotel chain has tinkered for 15 years to keep the neon PSFS sign aglow on Philadelphia's skyline, but officials said Tuesday they believed the time had come to do away with the old and bring in the new. Arguing that the 83-year-old sign has become too costly and burdensome to maintain, Loews representatives asked the Philadelphia Historical Commission for permission to replace the neon tubes and transformers of the signature red sign...
March 28, 2015 |
City Council on Thursday approved a controversial bill that would allow two huge, animated, three-dimensional billboards in Center City. Councilman Mark Squilla's ordinance permitting the hybrid-movie screen/digital sculptures, dubbed "urban experiential displays," passed, 15-1. A companion bill authorizing location of the boards and specifying the approval process passed 13-3. If approved by the Art Commission, one display, a hand holding up a globe, would sit outside of Reading Terminal Market.
January 11, 2014 |
Len Davidson is always up for a little light banter. That is, as long as the light in question isn't LED. "LEDs," he said, "are the enemy. " After all, Davidson has spent 33 years championing LEDs' precursor, neon, as a historian, preservationist, and craftsman. Now, he can count at least one victory in that long battle. It's on display along 12th and Arch Streets, where, he said, "it's like a little neon paradise right now. " What he sees as a growing illuminated corridor begins at 12th and Market, where Hard Rock Cafe's neon-trimmed electric guitar does perpetual pirouettes, and continues north through the neon-happy Reading Terminal Market (Davidson, 66, made or restored about half the signs there, including the huge classic sign marking the entrance)
May 5, 2011 |
Fishtown residents who worried about what the SugarHouse Casino would bring to their neighborhood are now being confronted with neon signs that advertise a "cash for gold" business, which they say targets casino-goers desperate for gambling money. Residents are encouraged by last week's cease-operations order that forces the business to remove the signs posted on the storefront on Delaware Avenue near Allen Street. But they fear it may not be enough to stop the business from opening.
February 23, 2010 |
LEN DAVIDSON has a bright idea. You could call it "electric" - or even, in '80s-speak, "tubular. " Yes, Davidson is a neon man, a collector and restorer of classic neon signs and a neon artist himself. He wrote the book on vintage neon, 1999's "Vintage Neon" (Schiffer Press), and is always ready to sing the praises of Philly's great neon signs from the mid-20th century, what he calls "imaginative cartoon drawings in light. " He'll do so in a talk on neon's history . One thing you learn from talking to Davidson: There's neon and there's neon.
February 13, 2009 |
Throughout the 20th century, sinuous neon tubing illuminated public signs and commercial architecture. The glowing gas was a proven lure for customers. Today, collectors have begun to preserve and display the best vintage work, while artists explore new ways to use neon. Local collector Len Davidson gave up academia to become a neon bender. While still teaching in Florida, he says, "I got so interested in the neon that one day a week I went to a sign shop. I said, 'I'll apprentice for free if you teach me about neon.
February 8, 2009 |
Among this city's appreciators of the subtleties of the pizza-making arts there are, if you probe discreetly, a sizable number who will concede that for one of the finest examples you have long had to leave town, drive up I-95, cross the Delaware, and thread your way through the ghost streets of humbled Trenton. There on Hudson Street in the shadow of the old Roebling wire cable works is a pine-paneled, rowhouse pizza parlor, dating to 1947 and a hidden mecca ever since. It is called De Lorenzo's, and technically it serves what are called "tomato pies," the primary distinction of which is, well, that the mozzarella is on the bottom, and the crushed tomato is on the top, making its flavor the distinguishing characteristic.
October 31, 2008 |
Jim Sheil had just climbed into bed at midnight - tired, but thrilled over the Phillies' win two hours earlier - when he got a call from his store's burglar-alarm service. "They're in your store," Sheil, manager of Robinson Luggage, said he was told. World Series victory euphoria drew thousands of celebrating fans to Center City on Wednesday night. But a minority trashed the area - demolishing bus shelters, overturning planters, tearing down signs, and vandalizing stores, such as Sheil's.