Neon Gets Its Due

For decades, neon has defined Hong Kong’s cityscape, bathing its skyscraper canyons in rainbow hues that have provided a memorable backdrop to films like Chungking Express and The World of Suzie Wong – and inspiration for classics such as Blade Runner. But Hong Kong’s neon signs are starting to vanish, which has prompted the city’s […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Neon Gets Its Due , , , , ,

Miniature Monuments

It is hard to overstate the extent to which neon has shaped Hong Kong’s landscape, its streets awash in hues of red, yellow, green and blue, not to mention the way the city is perceived abroad. Bolstered by memories of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, both of which were inspired by Hong Kong, […]

Neon History

In the middle of the 1980s, after lobbying from businesses and Chinese community leaders, a series of decorative gates were built to mark the various entrances to Montreal’s Chinatown. One of these is found at the corner of de la Gauchetière and Jeanne-Mance, the western end of the district. But to me, the real signal […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, History by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Neon History , , , ,

Neon’s Slow Exit from Hong Kong

Yue Hwa in 2005. Photo by choco_late The Yue Hwa Chinese Products department store has stood at the corner of Jordan and Nathan roads for decades — and for decades, so did its big neon sign, a sentinel that marked the passage north into the seedy streets of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. Sometime […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, History, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Neon’s Slow Exit from Hong Kong , , , , ,

Lockhart Road’s Neon Signs

Strip clubs often have fabulously kitschy neon signs. In Hong Kong, all of those signs are conveniently located in one place: Lockhart Road, scene of the city’s most debauched nightlife. Strip clubs, hooker bars and other places of ill repute have existed here since World War II, when American soldiers landed at the nearby Wan […]

Giddy Neon

Hang Heung bakery, Yuen Long Sixty years ago, when Yuen Long was still a country backwater, trapped between some scraggly hills to the south and a closed border to the north, two bakeries opened on its main street. Somehow, despite the odds, both of those bakeries became famous, spawning chains that now have locations all […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Giddy Neon , , ,

Miss Villeray

Miss Villeray by day… Whenever I wander up to Villeray, usually after a trip to the Jean-Talon Market, I make sure to take Henri-Julien so that I can pass by Miss Villeray. That’s because this neighbourhood bar is adorned by a particularly comely neon sign. It wouldn’t have turned any heads in the 1960s, when […]

Neon Thunder

Thunderstorm seen from the footbridge over Mong Kok Road

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Neon Thunder , , , , ,

Mong Kok Snooker & Pool Club

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , , ,

Patte de porc

Posted in: Canada, Heritage and Preservation by Kate McDonnell Comments Off on Patte de porc , , ,

Sammy’s Kitchen

1970s-era restaurant sign, Queen’s Road West, Sai Ying Pun

Posted in: Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Sammy’s Kitchen , ,

Risking Your Life for a Neon Sign

Hong Kong often seems like a safety-obsessed city. Public service posters and announcements are ubiquitous: they warn people to hold onto the handrail when riding the escalator, to mind the closing doors on the subway, to make regular visits to the doctor. Sidewalks on busy streets are lined by fences to prevent people from tripping […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Risking Your Life for a Neon Sign , ,

Wan Chai Neon

Johnston Road near Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , ,

Shish Taouk and the Happy Tooth

Not too long ago I wrote about the standard bat-shaped neon sign used by Hong Kong pawnshops. Well, Montreal has its own ubiquitous neon symbols, what I like to call Shish Taouk and the Happy Tooth. The first sign is found on just about every Lebanese fast-food joint in town. Their menus are always identical […]