Sign Of The Times - The End of Neon Lights?

It was never my intention to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I'm afraid somebody has to break the news that the neon sign is on the way out. Advances in LED technology and Electroluminescent (EL) wire are rendering these electronic icons of kitsch obsolete, while their toxic components - such as mercury and argon - and high electricity consumption are raising the collective eyebrows of the environmentally conscious.

Fortunately, New York native and architect Kirsten Hively, is doing something about their impending demise. She is documenting them. Hundreds of them. All around New York City.

With Project Neon, Hively is not only capturing the images of the signs, she is capturing the stories behind them. Attached to every sign is a business, and she goes inside each of one them, making a purchase, and meeting the people that give the signs meaning.

Still, as much as neon signs are an important part of 20th century culture, not everyone is going to miss them:


Jamie Reygle
Guest Blogger

Feb 7, 2011
by Anonymous

should head to Vegas

Vegas has more Neon that U can shake a stick at & Ive seen on TV a huge storage yard with defunct Casino signs torn down for the New Strip in the 80s etc.
Head to Vegas & make a Heap that way

Feb 12, 2011
by Anonymous

Neon Signs

There is always two sides to every story. Some LED's are more efficient than neon, but that depends on the color and brightness. Many of the LED colors that are more efficient are also less bright than the same color in neon. So do you want more efficiency or more brightness. Also, the claims by LED manufacturers of longevity are backed by lab tests only in ideal conditions. LED's are sensitive to heat and in hotter environments are prone to early failure. Also it is a fact that most LED colors degrade in brightness by 50% within the first 10 years or less. Neon longevity is not affected at all by temperature and expected life of a neon tube is easily 15 years or more of continuous use. These are real world facts, not lab tests. Many neon tubes have been known to last in excess of 30 years or more. Of course the LED manufacturer does not tell you of the establishments who have tried LED and changed back to neon. I am not saying that LED products are not useful, but they certainly are not the obvious choice to replace neon. As far as neon being on the way out, they said that 40 years ago, when the plastic face signs arrived and people bought them instead of neon.