The Rchive no. 3—Neon

Neon R from LIQUORS (Riverside Liquor, 2746 Broadway, New York City), 1955

It has been far too long since I added an image to the Rchive. This neon R from the Manhattan Valley neighborhood of New York City dates from 1955 according to the authoritative New York Neon by Thomas Rinaldi (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012; p. 104). Liquor stores are one of the best places to see neon signs. But most are predictable: sans serif in the interwar manner (the source of H&FJ’s Gotham typeface): wide R with a large bowl and with a diagonal leg joining the bowl rather than the stem (as in Futura). The Riverside Liquor R, however, has a more classically-proportioned bowl. For comparison see the neon signs for McKey Liquors (308 86th Street, Brooklyn), Golden Rule Wine and Liquor (457 Hudson Street, Manhattan), JL Wine and Liquors (60 East 34th Street, Manhattan), and Kessler Liquors (23 East 28th Street, Manhattan)—all illustrated on p. 104 in Rinaldi’s book. Only Cambridge Wine and Liquor (598 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan) has a similar classical R (though that is where the similarity of their neon signs ends).

N.B. All of the neon signs mentioned here can be seen in full on Rinaldi’s website