Help save the historic neon sign at the Bronx’s 64-year-old Palomba Academy of Music

September 21, 2020

Photo © James and Karla Murray

Palomba Academy of Music has been teaching music lessons from its storefront in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx for 64 years, but they’ve sadly had to close due to COVID-19. However, there’s a piece of this business that photographers James and Karla Murray hope to preserve. They are working with iconic NYC neon shop Let There Be Neon to remove Palomba’s historic, 25-foot neon sign and have it relocated to the American Sign Museum in Cincinatti, Ohio. But they need your help

James and Karla Murray are photographers, videographers, and authors of Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, New York Nights, Store Front II-A History Preserved, and Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC. They featured Palomba Academy of Music in their Store Front II book and are now working on a documentary about Palomba and its sign.

Though James and Karla have already found a home for the sign at the American Sign Musem, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,500 to “successfully cover the costs of Let There Be Neon carefully removing the 25-foot long neon sign from the facade of the building while preserving its delicate neon tubes and red porcelain enamel panels and placing the neon signage on a large trailer and transporting it to Cincinnati.”

The sign will be displayed as part of the museum’s Main Street USA” exhibition, which creates replicas of entire storefronts featuring their historic signs. Palomba’s sign was designed in 1956 by Milton Grauer of the Bronx’s famous Grauer Sign Co. According to the New York Neon Blog, Grauer began making neon signs in 1928 and was located in the Bronx through the 1960s, after which time they moved to Flushing, Queens for the next 10 years.

But it’s not just the sign that makes this legacy worth preserving. Palomba in itself has been a NYC institution. Second-generation owner Michael Palomba is quoted on their website explaining, “A great music school is more than teaching the right notes, the correct techniques or the best music. It starts with great teachers who care and inspire. The instructors at Palomba take great pride in knowing their students and their families on a first-name basis.” Students over the years have included Grammy-winning drummer Will Calhoun of In Living Color, bassist Ron Long who worked with The Temptations, and drummer Lucianna Padmore who played in the Tony-winning show “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.”

So far, James and Karla have raised just over $1,400 of their $5,500 goal with 25 days to go. Signed copies of Store Front II-A History Preserved and prints from the book are being offered as rewards. You can contribute here >>


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