New York Neon

Greetings all,

I’m passing on an email I just received from Tom Rinaldi:

Hello Friends,

As some of you know, I’ve gone off the deep end with another hobby: old neon signs in NYC. Over the past few years I have photographed every old (pre-1970) neon sign I could find in the five boroughs of NYC. A book of my photos along with some history on the subject is under contract and due out about one year from now. I have also thrown together a website and blog which you can visit at the links below:

Please have a look when you have a free moment, your comments and feedback are welcome! All the best and hope this finds you well,


One of the seeds of Tom’s new project was the signs page he created for Hudson Valley Ruins. Included there are fine examples of neon signs, painted signs, fabulous Fifties motel signs, signs advertising luxury homes and signs advertising trailer parks, signs on defunct department stores and drive-in theaters, and lots of other advertisement goodness.

Here’s a couple of my favorites.

The Iron Horse Bar, Hudson, New York.
Blown out by early generation point-and-shoot digicam, January 8, 2005.

Some blustery, snowed-in day this winter, watch the 1994 film Nobody’s Fool. Set in a fictional upstate New York town, the movie stars Paul Newman as an older laborer fighting for worker’s compensation and facing eviction while trying to reconnect with a son he has long neglected. The vacant mills at Matteawan in Beacon provide an appropriate backdrop, along with scenes shot in Poughkeepsie and Hudson. Newman’s character even dreams of restoring his boyhood home, then abandoned and eyed by his boss for parts salvage.(Brownie points to anyone who can identify the location of the actual house, which may have been “dressed” for the movie.)

The Iron Horse, one of the main settings in the film, probably doesn’t appear on the list of places frequented by urban expatriates who hang out on Warren Street; it’s strictly a “local flavor” kind of place. We like the fact they “don’t charge New York City prices” for beers. They’ve got a pool table and a jukebox, and since we stopped in on this guy’s birthday, Tom played some tunes.

Actually, one of those blustery days back in 2005, Tom and I forged out into the snowfall and photographed sites in Troy, including the Burden Iron Works office, the coke plant, and the Gasholder Building. We topped off the day with a greasy meal at the South End Tavern. (Ladies can use either door today.)

South End Tavern, Troy, New York. February 21, 2005.

Be careful out in Sleepy Hollow Country this weekend. Age-old rumor has it that some guy is looking for his head, and he might take yours instead!

Venture if you dare to the Horseman’s Hollow or Legend Day Celebrations at Historic Hudson Valley or to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery for some authentic Hudson Valley spookiness.

Happy Halloween!

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