I’ve always liked neon signs. There’s something kitschy about them, of course, but also something classically American — bold, consciously attempting to be memorable and attract passersby, naked in their capitalistic purpose, and often dosed with fantasy or humor. Plus, neon really looks cool at night.
Downtown Boston has come up with a great way to celebrate — and preserve — some of these neon relics of a.past America. On one of the small strips of land between the downtown area and the waterfront, called the Greenway, neon signs have been positioned around the perimeter. The signs draw visitors like moths to light. Two of my favorites were the Siesta Motel, with its cactus and sombrero theme, and the Flying Yankee Restaurant, with its rocket ship and flaming trail. The Siesta Motel, which dates from 1950, was located in Saugus, Massachusetts — where its southwestern-themed sign must have stood out like a sore thumb — and the Flying Yankee Restaurant, which dates from 1953, long before rocket ships were commonplace, was located in Auburn, Massachusetts.
Don’t you wish you’d had a chance to see these signs on the great American road during the ’50s, and perhaps stop at the Flying Yankee for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie?