Owner Jeff Friedman works on a neon snowflake for a holiday display that went up in Uniqlo’s Fifth Avenue flagship store
6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Tribeca showroom and studio of Let There Be Neon, an international supplier and creator of custom neon for signage and artistic applications.
Back in the early ’70s, neon had gone out of fashion, with cheaper fluorescent-lit and plastic signs taking over after World War II. But multimedia artist Rudi Stern was determined to revive the art and make it more accessible. He opened a showroom studio, Let There Be Neon, in 1972 on West Broadway and Prince Street in Soho, and soon attracted a client roster of artists including Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He even outfitted Studio 54! By 1990, he’d moved to a charming brick storefront at 38 White Street in Tribeca and sold the business to his long-time friend and employee Jeff Friedman.
Rudi Stern sadly passed away in 2006, but he would be happy to see the legacy that Friedman has maintained and how wildly successful the business is today. Not only does their client list still include a long list of contemporary artists, but they’re the go-to sign restorers and recreators for classic NYC mom-and-pop businesses such as Russ & Daughters and Trash & Vaudeville, and Old Town Bar, and do projects with national companies like WeWork, Soul Cycle, and Uniqlo. 6sqft recently paid Let There Be Neon a visit to see their incredible fabrication work and chat more with Jeff Friedman about the art of neon.
Tour the studio and see how it’s done
6sqft’s new series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Industry City space of Evergreene Architectural Arts, one of the nation’s foremost restoration and conservation firms.
On Monday evening, the Historic Districts Council will present their 29th annual Landmarks Lion Award to Jeff Greene of EverGreene Architectural Arts, one of the nation’s foremost experts in specialty contracting for both traditional and new, innovative techniques for restoring and conserving murals, ornamental plaster, and decorative finishes. “Jeff has been pivotal in restoring some of New York City’s most beloved landmarks to their proper glory,” said HDC’s executive director Simeon Bankoff. And indeed, this is true; their commissions include the recent restoration of the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room, Brooklyn’s Loew’s Kings Theater, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and the McKim, Mead and White-designed University Club, where the event will be held, and this only scratches the surface of their hundreds of projects throughout the country.
In anticipation of Jeff’s recognition, 6sqft was given a behind-the-scenes tour of EverGreene’s new office and studios in Industry City, where the firm’s master artisans were hard at work painting murals, casting plaster moldings, and researching the history of several upcoming projects. We also spoke with Jeff himself about what inspired him to get into the field (“I ate the crayons before marking the walls,” he says), how preservation has changed since he started the firm in 1978, and what some of his favorite projects have been.
Hear from Jeff and take a tour of EverGreene’s incredible space
6sqft’s new series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this first installment, we’re hitting up MÔTÔ Spirits, a whiskey-distillery-cum-motorcycle-shop located in the heart of Bushwick.
Marrying whiskey and motorcycles seems like a lethal combination, but at MÔTÔ Spirits the pairing is a match made in heaven. Founded by Hagai Yardeny, Marie Estrada, and Tim Harney, MÔTÔ isn’t your average whiskey producer: On top of being the first and only distillery in the U.S. to produce rice-based whiskey and jabuka (an apple-based Croatian liquor), their deliciously potent potions are both inspired by motorcycles and concocted in the back of a motorcycle shop! In our exclusive video, Yardeny, Estrada, and Harney take us on a tour of their space and share how, and why, MÔTÔ Spirits has interlaced two unlikely businesses into one extraordinary endeavor.
take the tour here