Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says: "We just published an interview with Kirsten Hively, whose Project Neon documents about 800 neon signs in New York City (her iPhone app directs users to about 120 of them)."
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I’ve loved neon signs for a long time. When I would travel to cities like Portland or Chicago, I would take photos of neon signs and print them to hang up on my wall. Two years ago, I read that it was the 100th anniversary of the debut of the modern neon sign at the Paris Motor Show. It struck me then that I didn’t have a single photo of neon signs in New York. I think I took it for granted that I could see those signs any day. But those classic signs aren’t necessarily permanent.
At the time, I had just started a new job on the Upper East Side, in a neighborhood I’d never spent much time in. Getting out of work at 5 p.m., it was pitch-black outside. So I thought, “Maybe I’ll go take photos of those nice signs near my office”—at the Cork & Bottle liquor store and Goldberger’s Pharmacy. I figured I’d walk around the neighborhood. I vaguely remembered another up on 86th Street, at Papaya King. After I found that one, I ended up walking for hours and hours—and taking so many photos. Later, I went home and put them up on my Flickr.
A couple nights later, I went out to the Upper West Side and spent even more hours wandering around. I didn’t get to everything, but I got obsessive about taking photos of neon signs and marking where they were. When I had searched for other people’s photos of neon signs online, often the caption wouldn’t say where the image was taken. So I tried to be careful about always documenting the address of the place.