New York Neon by Thomas E. Rinaldi

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to our Greenpointers Neon Sign Documentary on Kickstarter. We are at $1972 and our goal is $3000. We have less than one week to raise a little over $1000!

Below are updates to our project. We have begun filming, which has been a blast and once completed there will be a lot of editing to do, which is time consuming and costly. If we reach our funding goal, our plan is to hire a professional film editor to work on the film. After working so hard to film this perfectly we want to make sure the final product is edited just as beautifully.

A friendly little nudge for all you procrastinators: please help fund our documentary – it’s going to be so great – plus the rewards for donating rule!


Remember, if we don’t reach the funding goal – we get zero dollars. That would be so sad.



This past week we filmed Fabio, the owner of Ear Wax Records, who recently moved locations from the mini-mall on Bedford Ave to a new shop on No. 9th St in Williamsburg. He hired Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon to make a neon sign for his shop. The purpose of this interview was to get a perspective from a local businesses owner who chose to get a neon sign for his business and to get it done locally. Fabio was great on camera and had a lot of feedback for us. Plus his neon sign rules! 

© Thomas E. Rinaldi

This week we are excited to interview author and photographer Thomas E. Rinaldi who created the book New York Neon (available at Word Bookstore) and has a great neon blog. I cuddled up on the couch with the dog and cats (plural) and read the book from front to back this past weekend.

The story of neon in NYC is such an interesting part of NYC’s history, especially from the perspective of change. Originally associated with corporate advertising, neon in its heyday was a controversial sign medium because of how in your face bright and prolific it was. Neon was everywhere. It then became associated with vice, especially when the city was in economic decline – one of the reasons why many neon signs survived until today.

Now that the city is experiencing a massive clean-up with the Disneyfication of Times Square and other areas along with cheaper sign options, neon signs in NYC are declining at an alarming rate. Their rarity in the urban landscape creates a nostalgia for the grittiness of what New York once was. I cannot wait for this interview tomorrow!

We are also going to interview the owners of Circo’s Pastry shop on Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick, who recently hired Robbie to restore their neon sign. After speaking with my father about it, he told me that when he came here from Italy he worked a Circo’s Pastry shop filling cannolis!

Greenpoint Neon Sign Documentary is becoming so much more than a documentary about the process of neon sign making. It will offer a small glimpse at the history and fabric of our city and the local businesses who give it such character for many generations and who preserve that character via their neon signs.

If you think this is a documentary you would like to see – make a donation via Kickstarter now!

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