On The New Neon Sign In Deep Ellum...

deepellumsign.jpg
The tunnels are long gone. But on Good-Latimer Expressway, near where they once stood, another entrance marker for quite some time welcomed visitors to the music-centric neighborhood just east of downtown Dallas -- an old neon sign that, if a little rustic (and thankfully so), more than served its purpose of noting the neighborhood being entered.

Until early June, that is, when the Deep Ellum Foundation replaced the old sign with a new one that looks straight ripped from the "In-N-Out Burger Comes to Dallas!" headlines. The new green, yellow and red sign, shaped like an arrow and pointing people in the direction away from downtown and toward the supposed action on Main, Commerce and Elm streets boasts a simple goal -- to "let you know you've entered into somewhere," Deep Ellum Foundation president Barry Annino told the Morning News back on June 8. It's certainly an eye-catcher, sitting 20 feet above the street.

But why change it? Just because?

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The old sign.
Maybe. Deep Ellum, after all, is bustling once more, with news of even more venues (The Free Man) and restaurants (Buzz Brews, Pepe's Ranch) opening up coming of late.

But what was so wrong with the old sign?

It too was neon. And it too boasted a retro appeal -- and an actual one at that, as opposed to a fabricated one. For all intents and purposes, it surely let people know they were entering a neighborhood as well.

Didn't it? Of course it did.

Had a little history, too, given that it was once stolen and then recovered. Its new home, according to the Morning News, will be "nearer the center of Deep Ellum," the good news being that it's not just being thrown out. (Update: The sign is currently located on the Deep Ellum Foundation building on Commerce Street.)

The bad news, of course, is that its replacement is rather gaudy, and kind of obnoxious, and a little ugly, and, since we're rambling at this point, cheesy. Worst of all, though, is that, yes, it's reminiscent of a certain fast food joint's logo.

Which can kind of give off a bad impression. We asked a couple of area musicians what impression the new sign gave them of the neighborhood. Hunter Moehring of Sealion, a Deep Ellum resident, answered our question best, offering up one of his own when we asked him.

"Would you like fries with your music?" he said with a laugh.

A funny line, yes. But perhaps interesting and insightful commentary on the continued transformation of Deep Ellum, too.


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13 comments
Neon signs
Neon signs

The new sign does its job!!! It does have the classic neon look to it!!!

chad
chad

I like any sign that's lit, working, and not covered by the one-way sign. IIRC there's an identical sign to the old-one at the end of Commerce over by Double-Wide near that old abandoned gas station. It's on a really long poll for some reason and easy to miss. I wonder if they'll get that one replaced too.

mogo
mogo

i was really upset to see the old sign gone and replaced. i agree the old one was fine. it looked good; appropriate. why replace a perfectly good original? the new sign looks new, mass produced, out of place, and actually a bit cheesey. to me, it really detracts from the originality and feel of deep ellum. i say let's bring back the old one. put the new one in the new preferred spot!

Minh
Minh

I noticed the new sign and wasn't aware that there was an old one there before.  The sign is doing its intended purpose.  As for nostalgia for Deep Ellum's grungy roots, I think those days are in the past.  DE's still very home grown but we can't expect this area with its location to remain just tattoo parlours, dives, and consignment stores forever.

Dave_little
Dave_little

I noticed it the other day and thought it looked pretty cool. Didn't think about the fast food implication until now.

Benj
Benj

Aha! Just talking about this sign the other day. Thanks for the info.

Coleman
Coleman

I usually discount the "Pete Freedman is a dick" commentary as weshotjr assholes pissing from the woodworks, but this post stinks of the same "I don't get it" feeling that the recent King Bucks post by that neurotic introvert reeked of. It's a pretty big stretch to say that the new sign looks like In-n-Out Burger's sign (it's words and an arrow, HOLYSHITCOPYRIGHTINFRINGEMENT), and who cares anyway? the old sign, as you've said, is going to be installed closer to the center of Deep Ellum.

The whole area is improving slowly but surely in an organic way (which is more than can be said about Oak Cliff these days), so I fail to see the point of being so cynical about a nice piece of signage.

MattL1
MattL1

I was actually wondering about this. Thanks?

Jonathan
Jonathan

I like the sign.  Never even knew the other one existed.

Nick R.
Nick R.

Agreed. It looks like a sign they'd use in the Hollywood movie for Deep Ellum

Pete Freedman
Pete Freedman

Not trying to imply copyright infringement, just that the new sign is weird and the old one was perfectly fine. Also, I liked Hunter's joke about it.

Coleman
Coleman

So less "looks like the in-n-out logo" and more "change is weird?" the Dallas Observer already has one "Man Yells at Clouds" columnist in Schultze, man.

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