Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Westgate Shopping Center sign

Albany, New York - October 1960

The photo above accompanied the article below entitled "90 Feet in the Air", from the October 1960 issue of Signs of the Times Magazine. Apparently both the shopping center and its beautiful sign are still there today (such as they are), but a look at this page will show that it doesn't look quite the same these days. But at least it's still there (as of 2005 anyway).

Now on to the original article:

"The trend toward bigger and bigger signs is well exemplified by the gigantic Westgate Shopping Center spectacular in Albany, N. Y., that rises 90 feet in the air above the parking lot entrance to the store group. The king-sized identification, incorporating neonized copy, a chasing border action and a jump clock, is raised on two towering steel uprights.

The uprights are formed of 30-inch wide flange, 108-pound steel. Each section is 100 feet long--extending 90 feet above ground and 10 feet below grade, based in 33 tons of concrete. The columns were delivered to Albany on two railroad flat cars and emplaced by a pair of 100-foot boom cranes.

The single copy panel, a 30 by 20-foot oval, is faced with porcelain with white porcelain channel letters. The double-faced sections are turquoise, rimmed with yellow porcelain. The huge 'W' is 8 feet tall, outlined with four rows of clear red tubing. Three rows of red illuminate the remaining 'Westgate' letters. The remaining copy is double tubed in turquoise. Some 1500 yellow incandescent lamps border the oval and, activated by two flashers, create a rotating light effect.

The background for the clock, which utilizes 36-inch letters, is black satin finished enamel. Filler for both the clock unit and the copy panel is stainless steel. The enclosure at the sign base, which houses the electrical service equipment, also is formed of porcelain and stainless steel.

The contract for construction of the display, exclusive of the planter, was awarded to Judge Neon Sign Co., Inc., Albany, N. Y. The steel structure was subcontracted to a local steel fabricator. Judge Neon completed all excavating work, set the footings and constructed and installed all other elements of the sign under the supervision of Mr. Trembly, Judge production manager.

Tests were performed to determine the proper height of the proposed sign in regard to several nearby obstacles which would tend to obscure visibility from desired directions. After determination of the general size and shape, rough drawings were prepared by Raymond Murphy, sign company designer.

A steel rung ladder has been welded to one of the steel columns to give service crews access to the towering sign. A trolley track has been incorporated at the top of the sign from which scaffolding or a bos'n chair can be suspended to reach the various parts of the display. Three platforms have been installed between the two ovals which provide access through the rear of the sign. An additional platform was placed below he clock unit for this servicing."

Mall history: 1957 - present
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Previous entries: none

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old fifties photo of the sign looks gorgeous.

I was so happy to hear that the sign was still there until I clicked on the current picture and saw how bland it had become. No more light bulbs around the trim!

Wed Apr 04, 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw this site last night.Am pleased that there are 1's who appreciate " signs " of the past .The WESTGATE sign is still in place as of May 2011.It is a local land mark & was furiously opposed to be torn down about 12 years ago. It no longer has all the lights nor the time display as it did for many years but locals do not want it torn down.
Judge Neon Sign Company was started & owned by my Moms brother , Joseph P. Judge jr. , hence my uncle.He was a well respected, revered & trusted businessman in the community. He began his sign business in 1938 in Albany N.Y. part time while he worked for the General Electric Co..In less then 5 years he left G.E. and devoted full time to his signs. His early days business matto was " you be the JUDGE".He did not retire until the spring of 2001. He passed away in June 2002 at the age of 81,90 days after the passing of his beloved wife Marion of 61 years.He had been with her since he was 16 1/2 years old.They married in 1941 but unfortunently never had any children. His legacy, Judge Sign Co. lives on as a division of the Saxton Sign Co, Schodack,N.Y..There remains throughout the capital district several of his signs & some are noted with history to the area. Example of 1 is his "TOBIN'S 1ST PRIZE" sign still attached to the former FIRST PRIZE MEAT PACKING PLANT on EXCHANGE ST.(COLONIE)Albany N.Y..
Joe's neice, Patti

Wed May 18, 08:03:00 AM  

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