Gap-toothed Kentile! Sign coming down today, lighting up tonight

So long!: Workers dismantle the Kentile Floors sign on Friday, pulling down the Gowanus landmark letter by letter.
The Brooklyn Paper
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We love to see you “ITILE.”

Workers started dismantling the Kentile Floors sign on Thursday night and by Friday morning the beloved Gowanus landmark was without its “K,” “E,” and most of its “N,” but the remaining characters will shine one last time tonight. The torn down letters are now headed for a warehouse owned by the Gowanus Alliance, a pro-business group, but so far no one has stepped up to adopt the sign permanently and no one knows where or if it might stand again. If it does get reassembled, it might not be recognizable as the icon F train riders and Gowanus Expressway drivers know so well, the Alliance said.

“The new frame’s design may differ from today’s sign in its construction or size,” said a statement on the Alliance’s website. “[But] the overall goal is to retain this sign in the Gowanus not to absolutely duplicate it.”

The sign’s owner Ely Cohen confirmed last week that the structure was coming down after a week of residents rallying to save it. Cohen struck a deal with Councilman Brad Lander (D–Gowanus) and the Alliance to help preserve the sign. Workers are lowering the letters by pulley, according to sign booster Stephen Savage.

The red neon of the letters has not worked for years, but, before the letters started to come down, a group of artists had made plans to illuminate the sign with projected words and images tonight. The Gowanus group Vanderbilt Republic will carry on as planned, starting at dusk this evening, according to its founder George DelBarrio.

DelBarrio stares at the sign from his office window and said he will miss it, but not Kentile’s toxic asbestos tiles.

“Nobody looks at it more than I do,” DelBarrio said. “But artists are building a new identity of Gowanus that far outshines anything to do with asbestos tiles.”

Last illumination of the Kentile Floors sign (Ninth Street at Second Avenue in Gowanus, After dark, June 20. Free.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bklove says:
So sad. Another iconic piece of Brooklyn gone. I'm not sure that Itile is included in Kentile though.
June 20, 2014, 12:29 pm
Woody from Sea Gate says:
The piano played a slow funeral tune,
And the town was lit up by a cold Christmas moon,
The parents they cried and the miners they moaned,
"See what your greed for money has done."
June 20, 2014, 12:43 pm
ty from pps says:
Umm... Woody, you know that the sign was a large advertisement for a business to make lots of money, right? So, the "greed for money" that erected the sign was OK, but not the "greed for money" for the current business that wants to expand their building?

I think this is a definite loss, but I didn't hear about anyone ponying up millions of dollars to buy out the property so they could choose the future of the Kentile sign... so....
June 20, 2014, 1:30 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
It will be forgotten in a week.
June 20, 2014, 11:38 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
@ Me - That long?
June 21, 2014, 7:52 am
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
Iconic monument to killer asbestos.
June 22, 2014, 11:13 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
I liked the sign, but it's time to move on. You can not and should not preserve everything.

This is a living city, not a museum.
June 23, 2014, 9:26 am
Ted from Iowa says:
Slow news day in Brooklyn
June 23, 2014, 10:32 am
Bill from Park Slope says:
Stuff it Ted, to some of us, this sign is a legendary staple of the community. Go back to Iowa.
June 23, 2014, 1:29 pm

Comments closed.

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