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spenser1058

Neon As Art

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The NYTimes had a great story on Arquitectonica's latest building which was designed around the requirement to save the iconic Pepsi sign. Interesting to consider as one of Orlando's most beloved neon signs, the Merita Bread sign, sits atop a bakery that may not be long for this world after the company went into bankruptcy and has recently emerged under different ownership.   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/nyregion/as-a-queens-tower-rises-a-spot-is-saved-for-pepsi-cola.html?hp

 

 

On a related note, I'm pleased to report the other critical piece of Orlando's neon heritage was rescued by the good folks at the Morse Museum and resides in their warehouse where sadly, the general public has absolutely no access. At some point, if Buddy ever tires of building stadia, he might consider an outdoor "neon sculpture garden" on city-owned land perhaps adjoining the Fairgrounds. As the NYTimes article shows (and there are countless other examples  - Orlando Magazine noted that to most Orlandoans, seeing the Merita sign is a much truer gateway than our ersatz Lake Underhill suspension bridge or the underwhelming Orlando sign at the Conroy overpass; ask any Bostonian about their Citgo sign), neon as an art form is very popular and is an important part of our history.

 

 

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I LOVE the idea of a neon sculpture garden in Orlando! A great way to save the Merita sign should the bakery go out of business. Another good candidate is the Pontiac dealership sign on West Colonial, one of my local faves.

It's also nice to see new businesses embracing the vintage neon signs on their structures rather than just mowing them down. A good example of this is Redlight Redlight and their Carrier A/C neon - it was a goal of the owners' to refurbish this from the very beginning. It helps preserve a bit of commercial history in a new city like Orlando.

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http://www.thedailycity.com/2013/06/ivanhoe-village-main-street-update-take.html

 

From The Daily City:

 

At one time in Orlando’'s history, a neon sign was lit on top of the OUC power station at 1111 N. Orange Ave. during the holiday season. The sign spelled out “Merry Christmas” then would change to read “Happy New Year.” Residents and visitors of Orlando could see it from I-4 and when it was lit, everyone knew the holiday season had begun.


It turns out that the letters are still on top of the building, which is now home to the Orlando Ballet and Central Florida Community Arts. Interested parties from Orlando Utilities Commission, City of Orlando, Ivanhoe Village Main Street, and Ivanhoe Foundation are exploring the possibility of restoring the sign. Everyone involved is excited about the project, but it will be time consuming and substantial funds will need to be raised.

Ivanhoe Village Main Street is taking a poll to gauge public interest in the project. The survey is brief, so take a moment to make your voice heard.

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