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Archive | Neon signs

Close up of Skee-Ball sign at Old Orchard Beach

From Burlington to Provincetown: Capturing New England Neon

I did it. Six road trips, countless day excursions, and thousands of miles by car, bus, train, ferry, and Uber. I finished documenting the best and the (not always) brightest neon signs across New England.  But I’m burying the lede: I’m writing a book to be called New England Neon for Arcadia Publishing. It will be […]

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On a roll

I’m not a very good bowler. I roll  way more gutter balls than strikes. But, luckily, you don’t have to be a talented bowler to appreciate bowling alley signs. California seems to have the best ones — the just-closed Covina Bowl is a Googie classic — but the Northeast has some contenders.   First, a […]

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Help save the Al Mac’s Diner sign

The giant sign above Al Mac’s Diner has been taken down. But don’t worry — it’s just for a few months while the restaurant gets a new roof and the sign gets some long overdue repairs. But the fixes are expensive and the diner’s owners have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the estimated $45,000. […]

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Photo of Hilltop Steak House sign

A few of my favorite signs

People sometimes ask me about my favorite sign, neon or otherwise. It’s hard to pick just one, but here are a few of my favorites. Twin Donuts   Boston’s Allston-Brighton neighborhood has lost some amazing signs over the years: a giant Coca-Cola sign, a neon Dunkin’ Donuts sign, and the Circle Cinema. Twin Donuts is […]

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Photo of Shell sign

Sign Spotting: Shell

Spectacular is not just an adjective. In the world of neon, the largest signs – especially those that combine neon and incandescent lights in a moving display – are also called “spectaculars.” One of the oldest surviving spectaculars in the Boston metro area is the Shell sign in Cambridge. Located along Memorial Drive (technically at […]

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Photo showing neon sign for Lowell Sun and taxi sign in foreground

Breakfast all day

When I decided to expand my neon project across Massachusetts I knew I needed backup. So I recruited an old friend to team up with me on the road. (She’s Internet-shy, so I’ll just leave her name to your imagination.) She was a combination researcher, sounding board, motivator, sparkling conversationalist, and – yes – driver […]

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Photo of Hilltop Steak House

Hilltop cactus will stay on Route 1

The cows may have scattered but the cactus will stay. That’s the word from the developer planning to build a mixed-use project on the site of the former Hilltop Steak House in Saugus, Massachusetts. “It really is an important marker for the site,” aid Michael Roberts, who is senior vice president of Boston development for […]

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Detail from neon sign

A sweet sign comes down

So I woke up a few weekends ago to the bittersweet news that the historic neon sign on the Schrafft’s building was being replaced with an LED replica. A little history for those of you who don’t know the sign:  Schrafft’s was a Boston-based candy company founded in the nineteenth century by William F. Schrafft. […]

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