The widely fetishized Kentile Floors sign, an 8-story advertisement that has graced the Gowanus skyline since 1949, is being dismantled today. Whether you only glimpsed it from the F or G trains running through Smith-9th Street, or if you beheld it in its red-neon glory before Kentile Floors folded in the 90s, it's going to take some getting used to the Brooklyn skyline without it.
Thankfully, it's (probably) not too late to bid the sign goodbye. You can say your final farewells and rage, rage against the dying of the Floors tonight when artist collective Vanderbilt Republic projects an animated, photographic monument "Manifest Destiny" on the netting around the remaining letters after sunset. The project will include a quick retelling of American history, as set to the Declaration of Independence.
"Kentile is a great reference point for where we're going," Manifest Destiny's creator, artist George Del Barrio, told us. "There's no escaping the change in life. The trick is trying to learn to surf it."
Del Barrio's office in the Gowanus Loft faces the sign ("maybe no one sees it as much as I do") and in the past few days he's altered Friday night's program in order to accommodate the early disassembly.
You can watch a similar Vanderbilt Republic project, τέλειο σύμπαντος (“Perfect Universe”), below.
As for the Kentile Floors sign's future? Bryan Kanarek, a representative of the building the sign sits on, told us last year that "the sign's not going anywhere," but now it's going... somewhere, and fast. Councilmember Brad Lander, sign owner Eli Cohen, and the Gowanus Alliance are working to preserve the sign, but no one knows if it will actually wind up reassembled somewhere else.
— Brad Lander (@bradlander) June 20, 2014