Updated News of the Kentile Sign.
The President of the Gowanus Alliance, Paul Basile, has announced a partnering with local officials in an effort to preserve The Kentile sign’s iconic letters for continued display in The Gowanus area. He and the Gowanus Alliance will arrange to preserve, to hold, and to repair the letters while local officials seek a permanent location for the sign.
The evaluation of the sign’s letters, and the removal process, is now under way. All efforts to avoid injury to persons involved in the dismantling process, and any further damage to the letters, will be observed.
The letters are an assemblage of segments, making The “Kentile” word. The letters need to be reduced to their original sections, and removed for safe storage. Certain elements of the sign: the clips, the neon tubes, and the frame have deteriorated to such an extent that they are beyond repair.
The Gowanus Alliance has asked the contractor and engineers to document the dismantling process by carefully photographing each step. This shows each component before it is altered; and documents the actual assembly and linkages of the sign as it relates to each section. This is important to understand when designing a replacement sign frame, and helps avoid future confusion.
Once the letters are safely on the ground they can be crated for storage, and brought to the ware-house. There the sections can be evaluated for missing or damaged pieces, and repaired. As possible, each letter will be restored, and crated for safekeeping. This is a very delicate process.
The new frame’s design may differ from today’s sign in its construction or size; but the overall goal is to retain this sign in the Gowanus not to absolutely duplicate it.
The Gowanus Alliance takes its role in this process very seriously, and is honored to be a part of the process. There is urgency to the task. The materials and components that make up the letters are not complicated however, and there is certainty that each letter can be successfully restored.
Despite years of little maintenance and repeated exposure to the elements, these letters have become the symbol that has watched over The Gowanus community in good times and in bad. In a sense, the weathering of these letters reflect the endurance of the people of The Gowanus community itself; the reliability and indestructibility that we have come to associate with the businesses, the makers, and people who are the heart of The Gowanus.
We believe the Kentile letters need to continue to show their imperfections, earned the hard way, and not show a final glossy finish. The finished product should represent the survival story that is the The Gowanus of today.
Restoration of this sign ties our past to our future by showcasing the proud industrial heritage of the area, and bringing it forward for the next generations. The Gowanus Alliance is proud to be a partner in this recovery process, and we look forward to seeing this project through to its completion.
With great respect and cooperation, The Gowanus Alliance