New app for New York’s neon

Kirsten Hively’s photography of New York neon signs is now browsable in iPhone app format courtesy of funding through Kickstarter, and the app-building skills of Blue Crow Media…

Kirsten Hively is obsessive about New York’s colourful neon signs. She’s been photographing them, mainly at night, and runs a weekly blog called Project Neon. Just launched, however, is a Project Neon iPhone app that allows fellow neon fans to locate some of NYC’s finest signs for themselves…

“Project Neon began as my personal project to document New York City’s current, glowing neon signs, starting on the Upper East Side,” says Hively. “Because I couldn’t find any good resource listing the city’s working signs, I kept careful track of the addresses of each sign I photographed,” she continues. “I wanted a way to share my photographs and the signs’ locations so other people could see them in person too.” First Hively created a Google map showing the location of each of the photographed signs. Then she came up with the idea of creating an iPhone app for people to use discover the signs out on the streets.

Of course, making an app isn’t cheap so Hively turned to Kickstarter and managed to raise the required app-building fee. The resulting app, created by Blue Crow Media, has just got through Apple’s app-vetting process and is available for free. Here are a few screengrabs and a little info about how the app funcitons.

Users can browse the app’s photographed neon signs in various ways – in a gridded gallery as above, or on a Google map of New York with each sign tagged with a pin drop, as below:

There is also a “recommended” section which shows signs flagposted by Hively herself as worthy of special attention – and a “most popular” section which charts the signs according to user-ratings:

Simply choose a sign, tap on it to see it full screen

“I use a Canon Digital Rebel XTi,” reveals Hively of her photography. “I have been obsessively sticking with the thrifty fifty, eg. a 50mm lens, which handles low light amazingly well. Because it’s a prime it doesn’t zoom, so I often end up standing in snow berms or garbage piles or occasionally the street to get the shot. I occasionally go back to my favorite signs for another take with a zoom lens and maybe a tripod.”

Click the info button when looking at any given sign and up comes the info about the sign and the premises it flags up.

To find out more about Project Neon, visit

To download the app for free, visit


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