PEPSI-COLA, Hunters Point

by Kevin Walsh

THIS massive neon Pepsi sign, using Pepsi’s old script logo and old-style bottle, used to be best seen from Dag Hammarskjold Park on East 47th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan, though you can stroll up and almost touch it in its new park setting in Gantry State Park in Hunters Point. Pepsi had been a presence there for decades, but its riverside bottling plant closed in 1999. When I worked overnights in Midtown for a few weeks a few years ago, I checked it out from Manhattan and it’s still readily seen. Now, however, you can get up close and personal.

The big sign was built in 1936 by Artkraft Signs and comprised a 120-ft.-long sign grid covered with the product name. Shaped in the classic, 1930s, Art Deco, cursive script, the letters were formed with open-face channel letters outlined with exposed, ruby-red, neon lighting. Capitals “P” and “C” stood approximately 44 ft. high. Smaller letters ranged from 15 to 18 ft. high. Pepsi purists note that the “double dot” colon, which appeared with the original Pepsi name, was replaced by the dash in 1942 to “modernize” the logo.

Note the relatively modern Pepsi bottle neck logo (in use from 1970-1987). It was added when Artkraft Strauss refurbished the big sign in 1994.

Pepsi-Cola was first formulated by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1898 as “Brad’s Drink.” Within its first year of production it was renamed Pepsi-Cola from the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts, which were both in the formula.

Some people cannot tell the difference with Coca-Cola, but it’s more apparent, say, than the difference between Oreo, Hydrox and generic store brands of chocolate sandwich cookies.

Fulton Street, Fort Greene

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Randy Trezak November 15, 2022 - 7:22 pm

So my father worked in the Long Island City bottling facility in the 80’s and would eventually move on to the Brooklyn operation. He told me that this sign was mounted on the roof of what was called the sugar warehouse, part of the manufacturing and bottling operation there. When my dad took over as plant manager of the bottling facility at Ave D, the plant was awarded the ‘Caleb Bradham’ award for cleanliness. I was just a kid then but I recall that being a very big deal.

Gary Fonville November 15, 2022 - 11:56 pm

It’s true Pepsi started in New Bern, NC, my hometown. I was born there in 1952. As a child, my friends and I would ride our bicycles to the Pepsi plant and watch through the windows the bottles being mechanically filled. By the way, at least up into the 1960s, a two cent deposit was charged on each 10 ounce bottle when purchased.

There’s a Pepsi museum on Middle Street on the supposed site of Pepsi’s creation. The museum’s website is

therealguyfaux November 16, 2022 - 7:19 pm

Would you say the Pepsi sign is Midtown’s East River equivalent of Downtown’s Hudson River’s Colgate Clock?

John November 16, 2022 - 7:44 pm

My father worked for Pepsi corporate in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s at their Park Avenue office, rather than for the independent Pepsi bottler in LIC (hi Randy). Nonetheless, he regularly visited that Hunter’s Pt. plant and used to tell me that the UN and some of its various missions would complain all the time to Pepsi and US / NYC government reps about the “tackiness” of the Pepsi-Cola sign being their primary view across the river. To which everyone at Pepsi would jokingly say “let’s make it bigger”.

John November 17, 2022 - 10:36 am

“Dag Hammarskjold Park on East 47th Street and 1st ”

We lived at the Buchanan on East 47th and 3rd and my bride and I often met After work at Hammarskjold park in the summer. There was music some days and shade and a breeze. The Pepsi sign was part of our neighborhood even though across the river.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.