Monday, July 25, 2016

Welcome back Drexel

The historic Drexel Theater in Bexley closed for several months for renovations and re-opened earlier this month. It looks great! I did a re-do of their iconic neon last night on my way home from the Short North shoot.

Short North Revisit!

Last night was a very hot and humid evening. The air was thick, sweaty, and musky, but that didn't stop me from grabbing a couple Powerade Zeros and hitting the hopping Short North. I did a pretty small tour here about two years ago before I ran out of time and battery so this time I was determined to be powered up enough and get there early. For a Sunday evening it was pretty happening. Not just young hipsters either, I saw all ages and types out, from late teens to senior citizens. Unlike a few years ago, nobody bats an eye when I do what I do. Not sure if people are just aware that this is a thing, or people just assume I am playing Pokemon Go.  I started around High and Buttles and worked my way up and down to about Fifth before calling it a night. There is some new stuff a bit further north, in what would be considered campus, that I will get another time.  This may be one of my best shooting sessions, in all honesty, and long overdue. All pics taken last night, the evening of Sunday 07/24.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Let's take a trip back in time!

While neon is still used as an advertising medium  as well as artistically, the "heyday" of neon was probably about 1940-1960. Neons were still a dominant feature on buildings  and in windows well past that, but by the 1980s they were starting to go dark. They were associated with sleazy businesses like pay-by-the-hour hotels, bars, strip clubs and such. Then of course came the 1990s with it's LED cheapness. LED signage has a lower upfront cost, lower electric bills, and lower levels of craftmanship and brilliance. I do sorta get why organizations and individuals choose LED..$$$$. But in the end, in my opinion, neon grabs more eyeballs than the LEDs. Also, LEDs need to be replaced more often, thus often offsetting the savings compared to neon.

So let's visit a few pictures from the heyday of neon in Columbus. These were sent to me by Ms. Catherine A. Eitel, whose father started Allied Sign Company in Columbus. These are some that he actually did himself, among others.
Jiffy Burgers. 12c hamburgers!

The Jiffy Drive Ins. Location unknown, though a 194 directory lists a location as E. 5th Avenue.

AMF Main Lanes. This sign was gone before I started bowling there in the early 1990s, though some of the neon on the building itself survived to the end, and I have a photo of it somewhere.
The Blue Danube! Still around and the neon still looks great some 50-60 years later!