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 ASBURY PARK HISTORICAL SOCIETY DEDICATES RAINBOW ROOM SIGN

The iconic Rainbow Room sign from the former Albion Hotel in Asbury Park will once again shine brightly in the city.

The Asbury Park Historical Society, in cooperation with a special Rainbow Room Sign Committee, has been working on restoration efforts for almost two years. The close to $15,000 restoration project is being done by neon expert Robbie Ingui, from Artistic Neon Inc. in Ridgewood, New York.

The 16-foot metal and neon sign, which will be hung in the Asbury Park transportation center, will be dedicated on June 3 at 10 a.m.- just prior to the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade.

Organizers of the Rainbow Room Sign Committee are former Albion Hotel owner Carol Torre, Stephen Crane House owner Frank D’Alessandro, City Councilwoman Sue Henderson, and Historical Society Trustee Ted Chomko. “The restored sign will serve as a reminder of the importance of the gay community in the history and rebirth of Asbury Park,” said Torre, who has owned several gay-oriented clubs in the city, including the Albion.

And while restoration efforts are complete, paying for them is not and donations are still be sought. “We still need to raise several thousand dollars and we are counting on the gay community and friends of Asbury Park to help us reach our final goal,” Torre said. The committee also has several fundraisers planned in the near future, including a 50/50 raffle, gay bowling and gay bingo. The committee will also have a booth at the gay pride festival on June 3 in the park across from Convention Hall.

For more information or to donate to the Rainbow Room sign project go to www.rainbowap.com.

Ingui said he is really honored to work on the sign and that he loves doing this kind of work. “And for the historical society to recognize this sign’s meaning and have the vision to save it really says something. Signs are iconic images of a city and they tend to really brand the place. This sign has a lot of meaning for Asbury Park and that’s very cool,” he said.

The 16-foot metal and neon sign, removed when the Albion was demolished in 2001 for beachfront redevelopment, has since been stored briefly at the Stone Pony and then for ten years at the city’s public works garage. The city originally claimed ownership of the sign but decided to deed it to the historical society with certain conditions, particularly over its future display.

Ingui, who is the second generation in his business, said he believes the sign is from the late 1940s or early 1950s which, according to some sources, corresponds to the dates the Rainbow Room first opened. The Albion Hotel, on First Avenue, opened around the time of the 1939 World’s Fair and the Rainbow Room came later.