12 classic neon signs that are still aglow each night on Long Island


GLI content sponsored by American Neon Sign Co., the leading experts in sign repair and service. In business on Long Island since 1946.

Long Island towns and villages have enacted stringent commercial signage rules over the decades — often compelling business owners to hang board signs and gooseneck lighting. Yet there are a few island establishments that still sport the exceptionally cool and classic neon sign.

Unlike with LED, which is manufactured and acrylic, neon letters and designs are hand-crafted through the art of glass blowing, then filled with neon gases — all powered by transformers.

And they can last virtually forever, just think of the Pepsi-Cola neon sign in Long Island City that’s been visible from Manhattan since 1940. Many neon signs have lasted the test of time here on Long Island, too. From classic burger joints to historic coastal motels, scroll down for 12 classic neons we absolutely cherish.

GLI Instagram challenge: Go take a selfie at each sign and tag @greaterlongisland

Hildebrandt’s, Williston Park 

Established in 1927, this throwback luncheonette and ice cream shop has one of the largest and most eye-catching open channel neon signs in the U.S., not just Long Island. Neon enthusiasts held their breath when the restaurant owners announced it was possibly closing in 2020. Thankfully the new owners who took over in 2022, saved the location and the iconic sign. (Facebook photos)

Peppercorns, Hicksville 

Facebook photo

A clubby 1980’s steakhouse with a bright red old timey font that reminds me of the Art Nouveau and Victorian style blend that inspired the Cheers bar logo in Boston. This stunningly lit logo design is complemented by smaller signs on either side as well.

Tulip Bake Shop, Floral Park 

Tulip Bake Shop, Floral Park, New York
Credit: Live URL link to Dave Cook photography on Flickr.

The oldest continuously run small business in Floral Park is also the home to one of the most charming pink open channel neon signs you’ll ever see in your travels across New York.

The Milleridge Inn, Jericho

Credit: American Neon Sign Co.

With the use of a neon chaser, this animated colonial handbell ringer greets guests at the historic estate.

All American Hamburger Drive In, Massapequa

All American at twilight in Massapequa. (GLI Photo/Matthew O’Leary)

With its unfussy Burgers and Franks sign atop the red, white and blue tube-lined roof, this beloved burger joint that opened in 1963 is a slice of pure Americana smack in the middle of the country’s oldest suburb. 

Pumpernickel’s, Northport

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No one can miss this German-American mainstay corner spot and its bold red and green — which all curve with the building’s brick facade. Pumpernickel’s Restaurant is also celebrating its 50th year in business at the prominent wedge of land at Main Street and 25-A in Northport.

Mars Auto Parts, Bay Shore

Credit: Mike White/GLI file photo

I know, right? An auto parts store, really? Yes, really! This 1950’s 4-row open channel sign is a doozy. 

Thornhill’s Pharmacy, Sayville

Credit: Brian Harmon/GLI file photo

This historic sign was beautifully restored in 2019 when the building’s new owners took over and later opened Sayville N Spice. Yet they retained the prominent Thornhill’s sign on the exterior.

Smithtown Appliance Co., Smithtown

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This behemoth of a neon sign in the heart of Smithtown is also consistently well-lit with several units. Remember when L.I.’s main streets were awash in neon back in the day? We all miss it.

The Suffolk, Riverhead

Facebook photo

Built in 1933, this national landmark once lauded as “The Radio City of Long Island” fell on tough times and closed in the 1980’s. After a much-needed renovation, what was called The Suffolk Theater reopened in 2013. To every Art-Deco fan’s delight, the sign was restored to its former theater palace glory.

Modern Snack Bar, Aquebogue

It’s pretty rare to see neon on pole signs these days, but it was commonplace back in 1956 when this sign was installed. In 2007, the Town of Riverhead granted the colorful sign landmark status.

Silver Sands Motel, Greenport 

Lifelong friends Alex Perros and Ryan Hardy oversaw the Silver Sands renovations. (Facebook)

This iconic 1950’s-era waterfront motel just underwent a huge renovation and transformation while still maintaining that nostalgic road-trip feel. The restoration included saving the famous seahorse logo sign.

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