KENTILE, Park Slope

by Kevin Walsh

The massive Kentile Floors neon sign, built to attract business from the passing IND trains on the viaduct, looms over 9th Street near the Gowanus Canal. It is one of a number of now-defunct large neon signs that can be found in the Gowanus and Red Hook areas, springing up from the 30s through the 50s to be noticed by IND riders and passing Gowanus expressway motorists.

Kentile was founded in 1898 by Arthur Kennedy, hence Ken-Tile, and went out of business in 1992. It opened a factory on 2nd Avenue in the Gowanus area in 1949 — presumably when the neon sign was erected — which closed during the 1980s. Kentile sales fell off sharply after new discoveries regarding asbestos, heavily used in Kentile flooring and other products,  and the cancer asbestos produces, were brought to light.

A comment on NY Neon indicates that it’s coming down the week of 2/18/13. What a shame if that’s true.

(hat tip to Vanishing NY.)

LATEST: Gothamist says it’s here to stay, which is good enough for me.



Larry February 15, 2013 - 10:46 pm

There is an article in The Gothamist that says it’s not true.

Brian Westbye February 16, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Love the sign and story (and clip!) Hope it can be saved…

Mitch February 19, 2013 - 6:27 pm

The sign has been up for so long and has been seen by so many people, its part of the landscape and should be landmarked.


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