The day the lights went dark on Broadway and COVID’s devastating impact on theater

The Majestic Theatre on a September day during the pandemic. Barry Williams/for New York Daily News

From the New York Daily News: Ben Crawford, the phantom in Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera,” stepped off the stage midway through the first act on the afternoon of March 12, 2020, and headed toward the dressing room.

He had just made his first entrance, singing “Stranger Than You Dreamt It” to a crowd of more than 1,000 at the Majestic Theatre, when the show’s stage manager delivered the news.

Broadway, the beating heart of Midtown, would close its 41 playhouses at 5 p.m. due to COVID-19.

Campaign Launched to Save St. James Roadside Attraction Winnie the Witch

Photo: Kenny Maher Facebook post.

From If you have ever driven down Route 25a through St. James, then you’ve most likely spied the massive metal figure set among the greenhouses at Wicks Farm. Since 1976, in one form or another, the 30-foot Halloween witch named Winnie has been delighting motorists and visitors to the garden center. The attraction is such a mainstay that it’s listed on, a website that features interesting and offbeat tourist attractions.

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Seattle neon fanatic seeks home for his collection of signs

Bob Kaufman and part of his neon collection, which he says “tells the entire history and technology path of the neon sign industry from its inception in the early 1900’s to present day.” Bob Kaufman

From MYNorthwest: A local man who’s obsessed with neon has spent the past few decades putting together a sizeable collection of signs and other neon artifacts. Now, facing an uncertain future, those signs and other artifacts are in search of a new home.

Bob Kaufman had a neon business in Seattle for two decades after moving here from California. He helped rescue some famous vintage neon over the years, like the original 1940s Ivar’s sign from Pier 54, and original letters from the Paramount Theatre. He also did a lot of small jobs for individual collectors and a number of home installations for elaborate man caves. And during those 20 years, he amassed what sounds like a fairly interesting collection.

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Shiny and bright: Neon Museum lightens up pandemic days

This clock was featured at the 1939 NY World’s Fair, then at a jewelry store at Broad and Germantown avenues. Courtesy of the Neon Museum of Philadelphia

From the Daily Local News: Len Davidson has been passionate about creating and preserving neon signs for more than 40 years. And during the dark days of the pandemic, he created a shiny new attraction for the city — the Neon Museum of Philadelphia. The museum, which is located in the NextFab building in Olde Kensington, is home to120 of his150-piece neon collection, including vintage commercial signs, animated signs and one-of-a-kind artworks.

Long-time Philadelphians and road trippers are likely to grow nostalgic when they spot the 13-foot Levis Hot Dog, Howard Johnson’s Lamplighter sign, and an elaborate neon crown from atop Pat’s Steaks in Strawberry Mansion. All three date back to the 1950s.

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East Bay’s historic ghost signs: How some recent discoveries led to a new urban exploration project

At left, the remains of an ad for Belfast Old Fashioned Mug Root Beer near the Fruitvale BART station, after it was uncovered in 2019. At right is the sign after it was restored, from Kasey Smith’s Instagram. Kasey Smith / Instagram

From SFGate: After nine years of enthusiastically seeking out hundreds of San Francisco’s forgotten signs on busy streets and in narrow alleys, Kasey Smith was unsure about what to do next with her urban-exploration project.

That’s when changes to the world and her Oakland neighborhood led to her to move it to the East Bay. This time, she’s bringing everyone in on the project.

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