Famous Queens Pepsi-Cola sign gets new look, leaves many with bad taste

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Famous Queens Pepsi-Cola sign gets new look, leaves many with bad taste
Joe Torres reports on the new look Pepsi-Cola sign in Queens.

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- An iconic sign in Queens has a new companion.

The famous Pepsi-Cola sign along the East River in Long Island City is now sharing its landmarked space with an illuminated JetBlue logo.

It's a promotion that will continue for the next few months as part of the new partnership, but it's leaving some with a bad taste in their mouth.

"Pepsi was given this space by our neighborhood and by the state park, and so, you know, it's something that they should treasure," Long Island City resident Lily Arkin said.

Some people in the neighborhood aren't happy about it and have even contacted city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer about it.

"The problem here is that it was approved at staff level without any community review or input," Van Bramer said. "And it's just inappropriate for this location."

They say they don't like messing with piece of the borough's history.

"They clowned it," area worker Luis Barr said. "That's a landmark. That's a part of history. Kids grew up...no, they should take that off."

The two New York-based companies agreed to the high-profile promotion after JetBlue started serving Pepsi on its flights in early June. A company executive said Pepsi received no money for adding the airline to the iconic sign, and she stressed this is a one-time deal.

"As a special partner with JetBlue becoming part of the Pepsico family and us a part of their family, it's something special that we wanted to do just for them," Pepsico's Nancy Rooney said. "As we've reflected on some of the negative sentiments, we think it really comes from a place of love. People love this sign and want to protect it and how proud are we of that."

The city granted the sign landmark status three years ago, and while many people are not happy with the latest alteration, some people said they didn't much care.

"It's for one month," Long Island City resident Joe Vadnos said. "For one month, we can live with it. They want to get a little advertising, get a little PR."

There is still one more part of the JetBlue addition that needs to go up -- an airplane hat will fill that empty spot just left of the clouds. Of all goes according to plans, the official lighting of the sign will take place Thursday at sundown.

"We know that people love the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, which also happens to be JetBlue's home," JetBlue said in a statement. "It's a living monument of both the Pepsi brand, and New York City. That's exactly why we believe it is the perfect symbol to celebrate our partnership. This is a temporary installation and the sign will be returned to its original state on October 1. PepsiCo worked closely with Landmarks Preservation Commission, Queens West Development Corporation and Landmark Signs to make sure the integrity of the sign is carefully preserved throughout this initiative."

This is the first time ever another logo has accompanied the Pepsi sign.

The Landmark Preservation Commission issued the following statement:

"The LPC rules allow for the installation of temporary signs on landmark properties for up to 180 days. LPC found that the temporary installation of illuminated JetBlue signage on the Pepsi Cola Sign met the Commission's rules for temporary installations and issued a permit on August 14, which will expire on October 1, 2019. See permit here. To ensure removal of the temporary signage, and as required by the rules, LPC required an escrow agreement."


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