BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
After 28 years on the Landmarks Preservation Commissions backlog, the City Council unanimously voted to make Long Island City’s iconic Pepsi-Cola sign an official New York City landmark.
“For almost 90 years, the swoops and swirls of the Pepsi-Cola sign have welcomed visitors to Long Island City and symbolized Queens’ status as an industrial powerhouse,” Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said in a press release. “Today, after long last, we’ve officially made the sign a New York City landmark, and this staggering piece of pop art will now shine forever across the East River.”
Last spring the LPC held a meeting to discuss the prioritization of 30 sites, including the Pepsi-Cola sign, which went decades without action to be landmarked.
Although the sign was designated last spring, it had undergone the designation process before. In 1988, the Society of the Architecture of the City and the then Deputy Borough President had testified against it. The public hearing was set to continue two months later, but opposition from the Borough President’s office remained.
In 2015, the LPC held a public hearing on the sign’s designation in which state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum, representatives from the Queens Preservation Council, the Historic District Council, the Municipal Art Society, the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance and the New York Landmarks Conservancy all spoke in favor of the designation.
“I think any sign of landmark preservation in Queens, does something to Queens,” Avella told the Queens Tribune. “Queens gets a bonus whenever something is landmarked like this because we are so under the radar. It [the Pepsi-Cola sign] should be preserved and saved. It’s one step in the right direction and it’s a landmark that Queens deserves. Being landmarked means preservation and preservation is always a good thing.”
The 150 foot long Pepsi-Cola sign was originally constructed on the roof of the Pepsi-Cola bottling facility, which was, at the time, one of the largest advertising companies. At the age of 53, the sign was rebuilt because of deterioration. Ten years later, Pepsi sold their facility to the Queens West Development Corporation, resulting in the relocation of the sign, which has been located at Gantry Plaza State Park ever since.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org