Skytop Steakhouse gets a new neon sign!
We’ve owned a home in the Hudson Valley since 1985 (started out as weekenders from New York City) – and there’s almost no landmark as iconic to Kingston as the giant Skytop Steakhouse neon sign that beckons travelers as they’re approaching exit 19 on the New York State Thruway! For a number of years, part of the fun of the sign was that one or two letters would be dark – you were never quite sure what the sign would say from one night to the next! It had become sad a few months ago, the word “Skytop” wasn’t even illuminated and all that the other sign said was “A—H-O—S-E”. We chuckled a few years ago when just the letters “K-Y” were lit up on the Skytop portion.
I had known for years that I wanted to paint this local legendary sign. So finally one evening at dusk as I was driving by I just turned the steering wheel up up up the hill, trudged through the snow around to the front of the sign, (had to be careful not to fall off the cliff) and snapped a few good shots! Wasn’t sure of the angle I wanted to portray, and still have some others that I like a lot, but ended up choosing this straight ahead shot and created the oil painting as a diptych. I showed this piece last year and the locals went crazy for it! “Skyto!!!” everyone mused!
I was curious to know more about the history of the place – so here’s what I’ve discovered from several articles in the Kingston Daily Freeman: “The original Skytop was built in 1959 and officials have described the property as one of Ulster County’s best-known landmarks with impressive views of the lights of Kingston. In a 1981 newspaper article, the view was described as an ‘unbeatable panorama from a hilltop site overlooking the Hudson River Valley.’ Of the culinary offerings, the article stated: ‘Its beef and seafood broiled over a flaming charcoal pit are hard to beat.’”
The Lo Bianco family has been running the place since 2005, when they invested close to a million dollars to get it back up and running. It had been sitting empty, abandoned since 1993. They’ve had their share of different ideas about how to make it work, having run it as a microbrewery for years. But under the new management of Tim Alles, they have gotten rid of that angle and are focusing more on great food and service.
The most exciting news just happened this March – they’ve redone the “Steakhouse” sign! And it’s gorgeous!! I wonder if they plan to light up the word “Skytop” again, as well? In the meantime, hats off to the Lo Bianco’s for realizing the value of their beautiful sign – and once again lighting up the night sky of Kingston, New York! If you’re interested, here’s a little video clip from the Freeman:
This entry was posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 at 6:58 pm
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