I will always remember when we first arrived in New York, back in December 2004. It was straight after a very hectic period of life, and with about 48 hours of travelling behind us, we sprung $55 dollars from our extremely limited budget, and got a cab into the city. I didn’t know anything about Manhattan – literally, nothing – but I clearly remember driving across the Queensborough Bridge, and seeing a very brightly lit sign for Pepsi Cola. It is one of my earliest memories of the city.
I remember thinking at the time that it was unusual – it seemed to out of place, such an old fashioned sign for a city supposedly on the bleeding edge. And I also remember wondering where the corresponding Coke sign was. But anyway, there it sat, brightly lit, and (badly) attempting to entice its viewers to drink Pepsi.
As it later turned out, the view from my office was looking down over the East River at this very same Pepsi Cola sign. I saw that sign every day I looked out the window. I even saw a lightning strike only a little way up the river!
The Pepsi Cola sign really became the landmark of our place on the island (even though the it is actually across the river in Queens). So then, it was only fitting that on our last night in Manhattan, we sat on the roof at Sibylle and Jurgen’s house, looking across the street at the sign singing its neon praises for Pepsi Cola. For me, it was a sad moment.
But the irony is that even though I saw that sign almost every single day, in the two and a half years we were living in Manhattan, I don’t think I ever bought myself a Pepsi.