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JetBlue Logo Added to Pepsi Sign, Upsets Residents

Aug. 21, 2019 By Shane O’Brien (Updated)

The iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Gantry Plaza State Park has been modified to include a second advertisement for the first time in its history, causing outrage among local residents.

A blue JetBlue logo was installed beneath the giant red Pepsi lettering on Tuesday to promote a new partnership between the airline and the soda company.

JetBlue announced that it was switching from Coca Cola to Pepsi for its inflight drinks service in May, and the two companies decided to modify the famous sign to celebrate it.

The JetBlue logo is only up temporarily and will be removed on Oct. 1, according to the airline.

“We know that people love the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, which also happens to be JetBlue’s home,” a spokesperson for the airline said in a statement. “It’s a living monument of both the Pepsi brand, and New York City. That’s why we believe it is the perfect symbol to celebrate our partnership.”

PepsiCo and JetBlue applied for a temporary installation on the iconic sign in July and the decision was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission without any input from local residents on Aug. 14, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Since the change is to be temporary and less than 180 days, the companies weren’t required to notify the community or hold a hearing.

Residents voiced their displeasure on social media, with one such resident photographing the newly changed sign on Instagram along with the caption “landmarks should be left alone.”

Another resident took to Twitter and said “even though it’s temporary it’s unsettling as the door has been opened. Not happy. No one wants this.”

The Pepsi sign was made an official city landmark in 2016 after nearly three decades of deliberation from the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC).

At the time, a spokesperson for the LPC called the sign “one of the most iconic features of the New York City Waterfront and an irreplaceable piece of the urban landscape.”

The sign was built in 1936 and sat atop the Pepsi Cola bottling plant on the East River from 1940 until 1999 when the plant shut. It was then moved to its current home in Gantry Plaza State Park in 2009 after several years of relocation.

The billboard occupies a site that is visible to the Upper East Side and the United Nations. Given it’s location, it will not be blocked by future development.

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53 Comments

Pond hopper

Fellow LICers take heart: that blue lettering and white plane absolutely cannot be read/seen from the other side of the pond. In fact, it can barely be read midway across. Due to the shade of blue & the size combined all you see is a blob, if that. Ha-ha-ha-ha. Suckers!

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geo

Jet Blue is based in LIC, and supports the community.
Pepsi abandoned us years ago.
Replace Pepsi with Jet blue!

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ASensibleMan

Awesome historical video. LIC was much cooler back then.

And don’t drink Pepsi. It’s legal poison.

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P

The film is itself a history of the changes TF Cornerstone and evil Avalon
jammed through the Queenswest Development Corp. Set up to plan low and high rises, as pictured! The plans got “Modified to the Max,” and ten stories ended up 23, as Avalon pushed through, jammed next to Citylights, the first building up. A QW Development head honcho became vice president of Avalon simultaneously with those changes. This evil non-profit arm of N Y State, soaks $500,000. land tax from Citylights co-op, only lightly taxes the market rate luxury rental buildings whose plans morphed to giant sizes. (Look carefully at the last part of the film. See the modest sized planned buildings?) Criminal enterprise, with a Pepsi logo, to me.

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brooklynmc

That sign is there for 1 reason. It has historic value and is protected making it a landmark. Adding the JetBlue logo should mean a loss of landmark status and its removal. This is not Times Square. That Pepsi sign is a piece of Americana. It is tacky as hell and should be illegal to add a JetBlue logo. Maybe they should move into the Citi building and put their logo up there. They already have a huge sign on their building. Maybe in 75 years it will be cool but for now it is just more marketing.

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Merman

This seems very environmentally irresponsible on the part of JetBlue to have a large plastic and metal sign created for a 5 week installation.

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JON

I dont get what the big deal is, even if it was permanent who cares…look at the blinding lights and ads in times square i hate them, its a matter of opinion. this should be the least of everyones worries….looks good to me. JetBlue is a great company, PEPSI ISNT GOOD FOR YOU ANYWAY

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Anastasia Apostolopoulos

JetBlue is a horrible airline, I had a 10 hour delay to my destinations and 7 hour delay on the return. Pepsi should rethink their association with a company managed this way.

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Anonymous

I worked for an airline in the past. What most ppl fail to understand is that most times delays are not the airlines fault but it’s mostly due to weather or lack of capacity of one of the airports that you are taking of or landing. I flew with Delta last week and my delay was similar to yours. Unless you want your airline to take off in a hailstorm and never land you will have delays and it will get worst in the future due to changes in the weather.

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brooklynmc

Why planes are delayed is not a mystery. Even my 7 year old could tell you so you are not exactly enlightening us Captain obvious. The issue people have is how the delays are handled.

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Anonymous

How could the LPC ever approve this stupid idea? Would they allow JetBlue to attach its logo on other NYC landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge or Grand Central? Just another story of some sleaze making a fast buck in LIC.

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Joan Crawford

There’s an old rumor that Joan Crawford put the Pepsi sign there out of revenge. Her husband was chairman of Pepsi, when he died she took his place. She applied to live in a co-op on the east side of Manhattan. She was rejected by the co-op board and because the building faces Long Island City, she put the Pepsi sign there out of spite so that the residents would have to look at it.

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??

Don’t you all have other things to be outraged about??? The Jetblue sign should be the least of our worries when you look around what’s going on in NYC

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Sunnyside UP

Ohhh get over it! People are constantly upset about everything except from the things they actually should be upset! So what if they added their logo? How does that has an influence in their individual lives? Besides it ‘s temporary AND #jetblue is a forward thinking, awesome company that made LIC what it is today.

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Anonymous

Obviously the logo could have had a significant influence on your own life if you believe JetBlue is a “forward thinking, awesome company that made LIC what it is today.”

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Jenastoriat

Whaaat? Lots more to lic than jb. IMO they should not have repainted the Pepsi sign either.

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Anonymous

Now there is much more in LIC you are right, but not back when JB planted their HQ there.

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Dennis Mathews

Where is that Jet Blue money going ? It better be going back into the community !

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But that's none of my business...

It does actually, they sponsor a lot of local charities, just ask the LICP… and they support Hunter’s Point

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jb

It’s a shame how companies think they can just stick their adverts on iconic landmarks in our city.

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JJ MacQuade

An iconic landmark that in and of itself is an advertisement. Do you realize how ironic your statement is.

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Wake up

It’s a sign that represents nyc of the the past. A time when blue collars workers ruled the city and industry was opportunity that’s why the sign was kept as a landmark
Letting JetBlue do this is a kick in every New Yorkers faee

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Anonymous

Exactly!All these people talking about the Pepsi sign as it is an art form of the highest value, fail to understand that it was once an advertisement. Sure, leave the Jb sign up for few decades and it will become a landmark as well. You can’t imagine LIC without JetBlue anyway since it was the first company the cane in when LIC was a damp. Their hq sign was up possibly way before all these complainers moved to the area.

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Dove Peace Maker

I’m sorry but the Pepsi sign is an ad. Just because it’s been there a long time doesn’t make it less representative of capitalist pigs.

Who cares if they add another company wanting your money?

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Anne Conway

You obviously are not a born and bred New Yorker. And if you are, for shame. For those of us who grew up with that sign in Queens, we never saw it as an ad for Pepsi. It was a “Welcome to Queens, NYC” sign. When we saw it, we knew we were home. Our home. NYC.

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JJ MacQuade

I’m born and raised in Queens and never thought of the sign like that and can lay you money that most Queens residents haven’t thought of it that way. You’re romanticizing something that in all actuality is just and ad for a company as well. I looks great and is something cool but is still an ad.

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Sara Ross

Anne – I agree 100%. I lived in Long Island City and from my bedroom window, I saw the Con Ed towers – especially Big Alice. I never knew where they got that name from, but when I see it, I remember my childhood. The Pepsi sign is a landmark, but this is NY and we destroy landmarks.

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Kevin

Big Alice is named after the Electric generator in that building designed and built by the defunct Allis Chalmers company. Big Alice became infamous after a blackout during which the lubercating oil for the bearings was pumped through by motors drawing electricity from the generator. So when the blackout was rolling through the region and Big Alice was slowing down, the oil pump motors stopped getting juice and the bearings on Big Alice burned out. It took Con Ed a lifetime to dismantle the generator and replace the bearings.

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It’s an ad

Raised in Queens and lived here forever, this sign is an ad. A good ad if it has that much emotional attachment as you say it it does to you.

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Anonymous

It’s a landmark, not an ad. Why not do a little research about your own neighborhood before posting huffy and ill-informed comments about the place?

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Anonymous

It is as much an ad as Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup artwork is just a product label. The Pepsi sign passed the same qualifications to be a City landmark as other famous and historic buildings. The sign has much deeper significance to the history of the neighborhood, advertising and industrial use on the river than any old ad ever can — and that’s exactly why it was given status as a landmark. Sticking a cheesy JetBlue ad — yes, that IS an ad — on an authentic landmark cheapens the whole point of the LPC and what we ask them to do. They might as well stop running the place.

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gh

Did Pepsi grease palms to get this “historic, protected” status? The sign just isn’t that cool.

[email protected]

I think it should stay. JetBlue has a business in the area. It’s not like it is out of nowhere. Looks fine.

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Patricia Dorfman, Sunnyside Artists

to explain why so many of us have our knickers in a twist over this temporary ad on an ad, which cb2 board member and artist kenny greenberg brought to attention:

in this tough world, looking at art, or flora and fauna, a treasured landmark, or a beautiful scene – is restful to the heart. that a once reviled and commercial structure is landmarked and seen as a beautiful, and historic piece – is enjoyable to most

when that is cashed in on, even for a moment, it is jarring. one wonders if there is no corner of the world that won’t have a pop up ad on it. so the extreme reaction some have, is due to that. just like we would not want look closely at a peony and see, “buy heinz”

our decision as a city to fund landmarks which fights for physical, beautiful things in spite of possible financial gain, is a shared and uniting act

so the pepsi “graffiti” tag on a tag, goes against the few things these days we agree on. our little moments of peace

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Frank

Oh, really, get over your pompous self. Go get outraged about the giant pink booger the our corrupt City government plunked down in the middle of Jackson Ave to funnel money to the connected grifters who roam our halls of government.

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SunnysideUp

Maybe this landmark that you are referring to was once an ad that also made ppl upset!

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MissingU

This message is too subtle for these cretins. They have been trained to accept and embrace artless “cashing in” via exploitation of beauty, or history, believing that is the ONLY thing NYC represents. It may be the mantra for many here, but it has cost the city dearly, from Penn Station to CBGBs and the Roxy.

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Chas

They get tax breaks just like everyone else
But no one wants to throw them out this is just there nyc office
I don’t understand why anyone here would defend them or any other public traded company
I have stock in them and AA
BUT GIVE NE A BRESK
Get your neighborhood priorities in order or go back to your perfect suburban town you can from

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