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Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City is officially a New York City landmark

PEPSI
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Fraser Mummery

The iconic Pepsi-Cola sign overlooking the East River in Long Island City was designated Tuesday an official New York City landmark by the Landmark Preservation Commission.

After a public hearing in February, the LPC decided to prioritize the sign, along with 94 other sites for landmark designation. Many of the sites were backlogged on the agency’s calendar for decades.

The sign was constructed in 1940 and erected on the roof of the Pepsi-Cola bottling facility in Long Island City. It was also the longest electric sign in New York State when it was first constructed by Artkraft Signs, a sign company responsible for several Times Square displays.

According to the LPC, the 50-foot painted Pepsi bottle was probably replaced in the 1970s with an updated bottle featuring the company’s contemporary design.

“During its public hearing there was widespread support for the designation of the Pepsi sign,” said LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan.“Its prominent siting and its frequent appearances in pop culture have made it one of the most endearing and recognizable icons on the Queens waterfront.”

It was restored in 1993, due to the sign’s significant deterioration. Pepsi sold its facility to the Queens West Development in 2001 and the plant was demolished shortly thereafter. The sign was temporarily relocated and was moved to Gantry Plaza State Park in 2009. It is now located at 46-00 Fifth St.

According to LPC documents, several public hearings were scheduled to vote on the sign’s status, including two in 1988 and one in October 2015.

“It’s one of the most notable icons in Queens, and although it enjoys many protections, it is really most appropriate that it also becomes a New York City Landmark,” said Commissioner Diana Chapin. “This will celebrate its presence as an important piece, not only of NYC, but of national, corporate and individual history.”

The City Planning Commission will have 60 days after the vote to review and submit a report to City Council about the impacts of the designation on zoning, any public improvements that should be made and other city development plans.

The City Council will have 120 days to modify or disapprove the designation, though their approval is not required. After the vote, Mayor Bill de Blasio has five days to veto the decision, which can then be overridden by the City Council after 10 days.

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