Greenwich Village is blessed with an especially dense concentration of vintage neon signs. Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, they advertised businesses large and small, but due to rising costs, restrictive zoning ordinances and the appearance of less costly forms of outdoor advertising, these flashy displays fell out of favor in the 1960s. In recent years, they’ve all but vanished as old, independent businesses across the city have succumbed to rent hikes and old age. Although some have been beautifully restored, all are in perpetual danger of disappearing. Before they do, explore some of the city’s oldest remaining signs with us on May 15th.
- Discover about a dozen signs, marking the locations of some of the neighborhood’s most stalwart restaurants, bars and small businesses
- See the signs light up at dusk, when they look their best
- We’ll discuss their materials, design, origins and future
Price: $30 (+ fees)
What to know: The tour is 1.5-hours long.
What to bring: Comfortable shoes
ABOUT YOUR TOUR GUIDE: This tour will be lead by Thomas Rinaldi who is the author of New York Neon, published by W.W. Norton in 2012, and co-author of the book Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape, published by the University Press of New England in 2006. His photographs have been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Observer, Westchester Magazine, CNN Online, and elsewhere, and have been exhibited at the Municipal Art Society of New York and will be shown in a forthcoming exhibition at the New York State Museum in Albany. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and Columbia University, and has worked for the National Park Service, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and the Central Park Conservancy. Rinaldi currently works as an architectural designer in New York City.