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Thread: New Signs in Times Square

  1. #1

    Default New Signs in Times Square

    NY Times...

    Coke Sign Goes Dark in the Heart of Times Sq.


    After 11 years of teasing parched New Yorkers, the animated Coca-Cola sign in Times Square is dark. Eventually it will be replaced by a more advanced-looking Coke display, the company said.

    Workers began removing thousands of light bulbs and other small parts of the sign last week, and today they will start to dismantle the large sections. The job is expected to be finished by late November.

    The company is closely guarding designs for the new sign, which will be built there in 2003.

    Coca-Cola's action comes as another American giant of caffeine and sugar, Hershey Foods, turns on a 15-story animated display today at the site of its new store at Broadway and 48th Street. The display has machines that release steam and versions of its candies bigger than the biggest eyes could dream of; the effect is a bit like a partly edible Pompidou Center.

    "Coca-Cola is a fixture in Times Square, but the challenge is not to be overshadowed by them," said Wynn Willard, Hershey's chief marketing officer. "Our sign spectacular is clearly raising the bar." The company's sign was created by Clear Channel Spectacolor.

    Other notable signs Target's jumbo lava lamp, Nasdaq's video facade and the often-changing panels at Toys "R" Us have used technologies not available when the most recent Coke sign went up in 1991 at a cost of $3.1 million. (The company would not say what its new sign will cost.)

    Coca-Cola says it is not fazed by the competition to dazzle passers-by, but a spokeswoman, Kimberly Price, could not resist noting that the Hershey store would be slightly removed from the heart of Times Square.

    "It's fun to dream big and there's plenty of room for everyone to play," Ms. Price said. "That's why Times Square is so eclectic. The challenge is make your sign a centerpiece in the landscape."

    Unlike many flat displays, which can look like gargantuan versions of television screens, the 55-ton Coca-Cola sign featured sophisticated mechanical innovations. At its center was what the company said was the world's largest Coke bottle, a fiberglass mockup 42 feet tall with a cap that lifted to allow a straw to pop out from its mouth. Surrounding it was more than a mile of neon tubing, 60 miles of fiber-optic cable and thousands of light bulbs. Perhaps the most intricate part was a row of five triads bearing text that changed as they rotated. The units weighed five tons each and sat atop the largest gears of their kind.

    The next generation of Coke display will be the sixth since the company put up its first billboard in Times Square in 1920. A Coke sign has occupied the lower tier of 2 Times Square since 1932; the current lease continues until 2011.

    To some people in the outdoor advertising industry, the aging sign, made by Artkraft Strauss, will be missed. "That Coca-Cola sign set the trend for the next 10 years," said Mark Stever, president of LED Solution, a lighting company that has bid to work on the successor.

    "I don't think anything thrilled me more than doing that Coke sign of yore," said Stephen Gorevan, chairman of Honeybee Robotics, which made moving parts for the sign. His company, on Elizabeth Street in Little Italy, is making a component for the NASA probe that will land on the surface of Mars in 2004. But, he said, "To make a footprint in New York City, however small, was an amazing feeling."

    Parts of the sign will be sold to collectors or for other use, though interest is expected to be limited, considering their size and wear. "We've talked about bidding on the bottle cap," Mr. Gorevan said. "And I suppose one of those gears could turn my house to always face the sun."

    The Coca-Cola sign at 47th Street and Broadway will be replaced with a new display in 2003.

  2. #2

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Wow! *I was just talking a couple of weeks ago about how that Coke sign has been there forever.

    I'm excited to see the new changes!

  3. #3

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Does anyone have a pic of the Hershey sign?

    By the way, I am a Torontonian, I love NY and I love this board.

  4. #4

    Default New signs in Times Square

    I could see that Coke sign from my living room window. It is not dirrectly in my view, I have to get right up to the window and look east down my street. I just went and had a peek, sure enough, it is gone! I'm eager to see that they replace it.

  5. #5

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Interesting change for the spot. I wonder where the old signs go afterward. I doubt New York City has any sort of neon graveyard like they do in Vegas, though maybe they might want it at New York New York?

    (Edited by Daniel8ty8 at 6:35 pm on Nov. 3, 2002)

  6. #6

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Vegas has a neon graveyard? *What? *I have never heard of such a thing...

  7. #7

    Default New signs in Times Square

    I would expect a NY collector to buy it, I only wish we had an official graveyard. But there are a number of such large collections south of 14th Street, and a really large one in the LES.

  8. #8

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Yeah, Las Vegas has the Neon Graveyard where there's a pretty interesting collection of former signs and ornaments that were saved from the older casinos before they were taken down...

    (Edited by Daniel8ty8 at 12:20 pm on Nov. 4, 2002)

  9. #9

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Thanks for the link Daniel8ty8!

  10. #10

    Default New signs in Times Square

    I posted a couple of shots of the new Hershey sign at:

    They have a adopted a factory motif, and the York Peppermint Patty and Life Savers are turned by the gear at night -- currently they make a horrible squeaking sound while doing it. ... Anyway, they are going to sell a lot of chocolate with this thing!

  11. #11

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Thanks for that Hersheys shot. *I suddenly had a taste for some chocolate! *Who says advertising doesn't work?...

  12. #12

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Wow! *That Hershey sign is amazing...but I am a bit confused...isn't Hershey up for sale? *I heard that statement and also that they had filed for bankruptcy. *Does anyone know if this is true? *I would think that if they were having financial difficulties this new sign would not be in their budget!

  13. #13

    Default New signs in Times Square

    I don't know about the company's health but it's no longer for sale.

  14. #14

    Default New signs in Times Square

    The company is definitely not filing for bankruptcy. *Hershey is actually very profitable, although the profitability growth has been slowing recently. *They were considering a sale for up to $10 billion, but that ultimately fell through due to a desire of the Hershey Trust to keep the company independent.

  15. #15

    Default New signs in Times Square

    Thanks for the info! *

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