San Jose’s iconic ‘diving lady’ motel sign makes a graceful exit

The City Center Motel sign with its iconic “diving lady” is removed by a crane from its South First Street home on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Photo courtesy Ken Middlebrook, History San Jose

From The Mercury News: Suspended with perfect form for about six decades, the neon “diving lady” who once touted the City Center Motel in downtown San Jose will live to dive another day. The iconic sign was removed Thursday to make way for the 27-story Garden Gate Tower expected to soon rise on the South First Street sign.

Similar signs popped up throughout California and the Southwest in the 1950s and ’60s as motels scrambled to attract weary travelers with promises of a cool splash in a swimming pool. But the “diving lady” craze eventually drowned out as neon signs were left to wither by the roadside and the consolidating motel industry touted other amenities like HBO and air conditioning.

The quaint diving lady, with her bathing cap and swimsuit, had become passe and San Jose’s sign was believed to be one of the last originals remaining in the state. The City Center diver did try to keep up with the times, however, trading in her red one-piece for a bikini at at some point over the years.

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19th Century Commercial Architecture in Buffalo: Pearl Street Block

From Buffalo Rising: When walking on the Pearl Street between Seneca and Swan Streets, one can take a journey through a commercial architecture timeline of the mid to late 19th Century. It is also a story of successful adaptive reuse: something of which Buffalo can call itself a leader.

Explore Buffalo staff member and docent Suzanne Ernst describes the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, the Lofts on Pearl, and the Dun Building. All three of these buildings are stops on Explore Buffalo’s Masters of American Architecture walking tour, now being offered several days a week throughout the summer.

The Pearl Street Grill and Brewery (1841), the Lofts on Pearl/Webb Building (1888), and the Dun Building (1895) are all typical of what one would see on the streets of downtown Buffalo in the late 1800s. The reason for so many commercial buildings in this area was their proximity to the Canal District, once one of the busiest commercial centers in the country.

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Millyard Museum seeks letters of historic Pandora sign

The Pandora sign in 1981. The mill building on which it stood is now home to the University of New Hampshire Manchester. Courtesy/Millyard Museum

From the New Hampshire Union Leader: MANCHESTER — The iconic blue neon sign atop the Pandora Mill graced the city skyline for more than 50 years.

“Home of Pandora Sweaters,” it read. It was a landmark for those driving on Interstate 293 and synonymous with the Queen City, much like the famed Citgo sign in Boston’s Kenmore Square.

The Millyard Museum now hopes to restore the “sweaters” part of the sign to display indoors, but has run into a slight problem — an “E” and “S” are missing. According to the Manchester Historic Association, the scripted “Pandora” portion of the sign once atop 88 Commercial St. is beyond repair.

With the sign in storage for nearly 15 years, the museum decided now is the time to take on the project as a nod to Pandora Industries and the city’s textile history. The sign came down in the early 2000s because of disrepair and the building changing hands, according to John Clayton, executive director of the association.

A Street Sign in the Bronx Honors the Late Regis Philbin


Untapped New York by Jeff Reuben

From Untapped New York: Unlike most street name dedications, like those given posthumously to scientist Nikola Tesla, rapper Notorious B.I.G, as well as fellow Bronx Native and Batman creator Bill Finger, Philbin’s street name was dedicated while he was still alive. The honor was bestowed in 1992 to celebrate the broadcaster’s first thirty years in the television industry.

Philin is best known for hosting popular network shows like “Regis and Kelly” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” but he came from humble beginnings on Cruger Avenue. That street was named for John Cruger Sr., a mayor of New York City in the 18th century. Born on August 25, 1931, Philbin grew up in a modest two-story brick building for much of his childhood. The building was demolished in 2010. He attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the south Bronx, graduating in 1949. He would pay back the school for his education by later covering renovation costs for a new auditorium.

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Exclusive: First Look at the 5 Bars Inside Vegas’s First Adults-Only Casino-Resort

Photo: courtesy Circa

From the Robb Report: At the Vegas Vickie’s lobby bar inside Circa, the new-construction property developer Derek Stevens is creating in downtown Las Vegas, the centerpiece will be a neon kicking cowgirl known as Vegas Vickie. The iconic neon sign previously glowed above the downtown Glitter Gulch casino that turned into the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.

The bar will be part of Stevens plan to open the first five floors of the only 21-and-over casino-resort in Las Vegas on October 28. But don’t expect lap dances at Circa, which will offer a decidedly different kind of adults-only entertainment.

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