My mother clearly recalls two sights of the harbor that April morning in 1949 when her ship steamed into New York: the Statue of Liberty and the “big clock,” as she calls it. Little did she know that almost 60 years later the big clock would still be there, carrying the same logo as the toothpaste on her bathroom sink.

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This clock has been roughly in the same location since 1924 although most everything around it has changed. Most people enter the country today by air, and airports are places of intense branding. The clock has stuck so firmly in my mother’s memory, possibly, because the port is quite pristine in this respect. This is one way in which the perspective from the water–any water and not just the sixth borough–differs than that by land.

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This warehouse just south of the new passenger terminal in Red Hook is more mural and only slightly advertising. It’s much more artful than a billboard. I’d be grateful for someone’s explanation for this mural.
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More than half the sugar consumed in the United States was once produced in this Williamsburg plant , a branded building now idle awaiting transformation on the Brooklyn waterfront.

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The logo on this massive manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey once made sense in a time of deliveries by water. When it opened in 1873 this Singer plant was hailed as the largest factory in the world producing a single product: sewing machines. This was a business of superlatives, like this skyscraper that has since disappeared. During both World Wars, like many factories, the Elizabeth plant was repurposed to manufacture weapons. Any guess what?  Answer is found in the “weapons” link.  I’ll come back to the Elizabeth waterfront in the next post.

Any waterside logos your favorites?

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