An immense Pepsi-Cola sign on the banks of New York’s East River has been declared a historic landmark after 25 years of discussion. The red neon sign was built in 1936 and installed atop a Pepsi bottling plant in an industrial area bordering the East River in Long Island City.

The steel and porcelain letters and giant Pepsi bottle, of the 18.3m high and 36.6m long sign, have long been part of the view from the East Side of Manhattan.

The sign was restored in 1993 after being damaged in a winter storm. Discussions on whether to declare it a landmark began in 1988 and finally concluded with a unanimous vote by the city’s landmark commission.

“During its public hearing, there was widespread support for the designation of the Pepsi sign,” commission chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said.

“Its prominent siting and its frequent appearances in pop culture have made it one of the most endearing and recognisable icons on the Queens waterfront.”

In 1999, the bottling plant was closed and then sold and demolished in 2001. But the sign was preserved and reinstalled a short distance away in a park that opened in 1998, Gantry Plaza State Park.

It has appeared in several films, including Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005) with Daniel Craig and Mathieu Kassovitz, and Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter (2005) with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. – AFP Relaxnews