“Neon lights were both…loved and hated like no other element of the built environment,” Thomas Rinaldi says in his new photo book New York Neon. They are both modern and nostalgic. They are ubiquitous, and yet often no one gives them a second thought.
What are the hallmarks of urban experience? Concrete and neon. Neon is imbedded in our cultural psyche, especially as a defining visual element of the biggest, grittiest urban environment in America, New York City. Consider the Drifter’s lyric: “They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.” Or Petula Clark’s “Downtown”: “Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city; Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty.” Continue reading