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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Lorena Valdez

Brooklyn's famous Watchtower sign has been taken down

Written by
Howard Halle

As of Wednesday, Brooklyn’s skyline is missing of one its most distinctive features: The huge sign atop the former Jehovah’s Witnesses’ headquarters in Dumbo that spelled out the name of the Church’s proselytizing pamphlet—Watchtower—in red light-up letters measuring 15 feet high.

Dismantled one letter at a time by workmen, the distinctive landmark was known for illuminating the night sky from it’s location at 30 Columbia Heights, acting like a beacon for travelers as they exited off the Brooklyn Bridge for Adams Street or Cadman Plaza West. Different variants of the sign had stood atop the building for 70 years, and as recently a 2009, the sign was refurbished when its neon tubing was replaced by LED lights. In 2016, the Witnesses sold the building to a consortium of developers (including Jared Kushner’s real-estate empire) who plan to redevelop the site into an office and retail complex called Panorama.

And so, another piece of New York history has been bulldozed by the city’s inexorable avalanche of change. But don’t weep for the sign: Like the proverbial dog being sent to a farm upstate, it will follow the Witnesses to Orange County and their new headquarters in Warwick, New York.

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