On a recent evening I was walking by the poor, old Beatrice Inn. The falling light was just right, buttery and blushed, so I snapped a photo of the battered neon sign, wondering what would happen to it now that Graydon Carter is (partially) taking over. The next day I got the answer.
When you walk by and find the sign vanished, don't despair. It has been removed by Let There Be Neon and they've been commissioned to restore the sign back to glory. You might remember them from their fantastic work on 42nd Street's PEEP-O-RAMA sign.
Let There Be Neon's Jeff Friedman sent in some photos of the sign, currently at their shop, and answered a few questions about what's to come. Unlike the Fedora sign, which was replaced with a replica, the Beatrice Inn sign will be rehabilitated, rust and all.
What are the new owners asking you to do with the sign?
What they've asked us to do is get it working. What we are going to do is: remove all neon (all broken), gently brush off sign faces, clear coat faces for protection so that existing patina rust is stuck in time and cannot be cleaned by some moron, repair/remake neon as required, replace all housings, transformers and secondary wiring, add new disconnect switch (a good thing), remount neon, reinstall.
In your email, you said "the best news is that the owner agrees not to correct the rust and leave as is." What is it about leaving the rust that you like?
It's patina. It would be a travesty to clean too much or repaint the lettering. It's phony. Rust is good.
So, in the end, we'll have a beautifully rusted sign with new neon?
Yes, beautiful. Some of the neon will be original.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Graydon Carter plans to open the Beatrice Inn in about five weeks. We'll have more to report once the sign is completely rehabbed and back in place. In the meantime, join Let There Be Neon's Facebook page for more neon news.
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