2016-07-27 / Editorials

For Future Pepsi Generations

Erected in 1940, the Pepsi-Cola sign has finally been officially landmarked.

We salute the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) that voted last spring for designation after 28 years of consideration; Jimmy Van Bramer, who advocated tirelessly for it; and the rest of the City Council who voted unanimously to make it official.

The Pepsi-Cola sign is an iconic symbol, and is no longer just an ad.

This four-story high signpost to Queens has been, for some time now, an integral part of the landscape of Long Island City. It is a gateway that reflects the history and identity of Queens and the borough’s transition from an industrial headquarters (that Long Island City, Astoria and Queens at large has been) to the exciting, new, lively, energetic commercial/residential community that is flourishing. No area better exemplifies this progression than the above-mentioned communities. This is due not only to the prime location, but because of the people who poured their blood, sweat and tears into making it what it is today. The rest of Queens is also growing – Bayside, Corona, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Maspeth, and Ridgewood, to name some – as a result of their percolating and booming economic development.

The glorious neon calling card that is the Pepsi sign has always been appreciated by all who saw it, either in their everyday travels, as soon as it was spotted in a movie, or perhaps driving along FDR Drive. It said “Welcome to Queens.” Though The New York Times said it “evokes...a spectacular disregard for the waterfront,” we have come to treasure not only the waterfront – its natural beauty, spectacular views, and usefulness, but we embrace its early mercantile character, as pop culture has gained appreciation and is considered as valid as any other classic aesthetic.

The sign also just plain brings warm waves of nostalgia for those fondly remembered days when having a soda was pure pleasure, with no internal conflicts about calories or anything else.

While the waterfront continues to evolve, with its posh new apartment buildings and all the amenities, the Pepsi-Cola sign is a throwback to a bygone era that we treasure as part of our heritage, our manufacturing origins and the resulting growth of all sectors. It has always been a signpost to prosperity and with the landmarking it will continue to welcome not only the original “Pepsi Generation,” but future generations to come.

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