Lucy the Elephant, and Her $2 Million Makeover, Soon to Be Unveiled


From NBC Philadelphia: The Jersey Shore landmark, Lucy the Elephant, had its metal skin replaced over the last 13 months because more than 50% of the exterior has degraded beyond repair. The six-story high statue in Margate closed for the renovations Sept. 20, 2021.

The executive director of the Save Lucy Committee, Richard Helfant, said the project took longer than expected and ran more than $1 million over budget.

The National Historic Landmark was built in 1881. The target for reopening was Memorial Day 2022, but Helfant said it is now scheduled to be unveiled by late November or early December.

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Former Forks Diner finding new life as auto repair shop


The former Forks Diner, at 3315 Sullivan Trail in Forks Township, was recently sold. (Photo courtesy of Lehigh Financial Group)

From WLVR: FORKS TWP., Pa. – A long-time spot for scrambled eggs, seafood platters and other fresh eats will switch to dishing out state inspections, suspension repair and other auto services in 2023.

The former Forks Diner, at 3315 Sullivan Trail, which closed in the past few years, recently was purchased by best friends Dave Fiore and Sherief Elsamra for use as a second location of their full-service automotive maintenance and repair business.

The duo opened their first auto shop, Wrenchtec, in September 2018 at 20 E. Lawn Road in Upper Nazareth Township. Their new location will be known as Your Mechanic PA, LLC.

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Wickenburg’s neon saguaro proved adaptable, but will other local historic signs survive?


La Siesta Motel postcard from the 1960s.” Courtesy Of Douglas C. Towne

From AZCentral: Roadside enthusiasts cruising U.S. Highway 60 through Wickenburg might think the La Siesta Plaza was an old-time commercial strip based on its vintage saguaro-shaped sign. But looks can be deceiving.

While the neon sign dates from the 1950s, it was adaptively reused more than a half-century later as Wickenburg transitioned from a town offering travelers gas, food, and lodging to a burgeoning residential destination.

The sign initially advertised the La Siesta Motel, an architecturally distinct roadside lodge built around a scenic rock outcrop. The ranch-style motel, with a cactus garden and a heated pool, was popular with motorists traveling on U.S. 60, then the main route between Phoenix and Los Angeles. This two-lane blacktop, however, well less frequently traveled after Interstate 10 opened in the 1970s.

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Kmart to be vacant no more


Johnnie Meier of the Classical Gas Museum during a news conference Wednesday shows one of his vintage Route 66 signs that would be displayed at a future museum and welcome center in the vacant Kmart building in Tucumcari, along with the Fast TV Network. Listening are Melissa Beasley-Lee, president of the New Mexico Route 66 Association; Mike Lee, president and CEO of Fast TV Network; and Rob Wagner, chief operating officer of Fast TV. Ron Warnick

From the Quay County Sun: The empty Kmart building in Tucumcari soon will be empty no more.

Principals from the Fast TV Network announced at a news conference last week it will move from Albuquerque into the vacant Kmart and convert it into a television and movie production facility, plus a New Mexico Route 66 Association museum and welcome center.

In all, the $8 million project eventually will create between 30 and 70 jobs after its soft opening on July 1, 2023, said Mike Lee, Fast TV’s president and CEO, during the briefing in the Tucumcari Railroad Depot.

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Neon signs have a curious power


Islington’s ‘Hornsey Road Baths & Laundry’ sign has outlived the baths themselves [Alamy]

From The Spectator: In a corner of St Pancras station, Tracey Emin is always turned on. ‘I want my time with you’, a neon sculpture by the artist, has been on show here since 2018. It was part of the ‘annual’ Terrace Wires public arts programme, in which a new work is commissioned every year to hang from the station’s roof; but the pandemic distended time, and Emin’s words have stayed put. Though a new commission was unveiled yesterday, an installation by Shezad Dawood, that hangs on different wires, elsewhere in the terminus.

Assembled from bright pink tubes, and shaped like Emin’s looping script, ‘I want my time with you’ looms over the grand Victorian concourse that sends the Eurostar to the continent. Think of it both as a lover’s declaration and the lament of the voters who wanted their country to Remain. That’s apt: neon was christened ‘new gas’ by the British scientists who discovered it in 1898, but today it trades on nostalgic joys.

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