Fans of old-school New York neon know the Bond Clothes billboard and sign, the enormous and spectacular signage that lit up Broadway and 45th Street in different forms from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Captured in countless photos (at left, on New Year’s Eve 1950), the sign that stood from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s—with a clock in the O of the Bond name—has become an emblem of Times Square’s postwar glory years.
“This sign was 50 feet tall and 200 feet wide, spanned two streets, and featured a 50,000 gallon waterfall,” states this page from the Sign and Billboard Blog.
“Surrounding this waterfall were two classical-style figures of a man and woman who were nude during the day, but clothed in neon togas and dresses at night.” (Electric lights turned on at night gave the impression the figures were wearing clothes.)
By the late 1950s, Bond began leasing the billboard space to other brands, like Pepsi, which turned the two human statues into giant soda bottles.
As Times Square slid into decay (above, in 1979), part of the Bond sign continued to live on—even after the store went out of business in 1977.
The venue became the Bond’s International Casino, a nod to the International Casino, a 1930s-era nightclub that existed on the site.
Bond’s was a short-lived disco and rock venue that featured dancing and live acts, most famously the Clash.
The Clash played 17 shows in 15 nights there in 1981 (opening acts: Grandmaster Flash and the Dead Kennedys, among others).
This made the news because concert promoters oversold tickets, which led to the fire department getting involved, as Channel 7 reported live from the scene the night of one of the planned shows.
Today the site is the location of the restaurant Bond 45, which continues the neon sign tradition. (Second photo: Wikipedia; third photo: Bow Tie Partners)