The Bob & Ron’s sign is still there … what’s left of it…

I know we’ve been talking about the Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry restaurant closing down and all that, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse-radish sauce over it…

But there’s still something that bothers me.  Not about the restaurant, or the recipes, or the reason for the eatery’s demise.

No.  I’m talking about that iconic sign.

Bob & Ron's Fish Fry Albany sign, April 17 2016. BlackBerry PRIV camera. phone. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry Albany sign, April 17 2016. BlackBerry PRIV camera. phone. Photo by Chuck Miller.

It was mentioned in a recent blog post that the iconic Bob & Ron’s advertising sign had been dismantled a few months ago.

Well, the sign definitely had parts removed…

But the sign itself remains along Central Avenue.

Or… more specifically … parts of the sign remain.

Now I don’t know if the neon sign collector who purchased the iconic Googie architecture advertising icon will return at another date to claim what’s left…

But this picture was taken last Sunday.

April 17, 2016, to be more precise.


The sign itself was as much a part of the Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry experience as the food itself.  And to see the sign looking like this … almost a few moments away from getting tagged by a graffiti artist … is sad.

In fact, recently one of my blog readers gifted me a Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry loyalty card – buy six lunches and the seventh is free.  And the sign’s logo was part of the card.

On the few occasions where I’ve eaten at the Latham Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry location, the logo of the old sign was prominently displayed on window frostings and on the shake cups.

And it sure as hell didn’t look like the sign you see above.

Maybe the sign collector only wanted half the sign.  The neon arrow is gone, and so is the back of the sign itself.  But the front remains.

It reminds me of another Albany sign icon that has fallen on hard times.

First Prize Center, Albany NY, in Redscale
First Prize Center, Albany, N.Y. April 24, 2011 with lomography’s redscale (iso 100) film. Photos by Chuck Miller.

At one point in time, that First Prize sign was lit up and proudly advertised Tobin’s Hot Dogs and other meats.  That circle at the left originally held the First Prize logo.  Now it, like the slaughterhouse on which the sign stands, has fallen into disrepair and malaise.  The sign has been tagged and vandalized by graffiti artists, and even today that sign is a reminder of not only what used to be a prominent and beloved Capital Region business… but what has happened since that business departed.


And this is not unusual in our area.  Other Capital Region advertisements still stand in stark sadness, to products and services that are no longer around.

L-Ken's Drive-In Updated Sign
L-Ken’s Drive-In sign. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens in 2014; with ice cream cone from Nikon D70 camera and 50mm f/1.8 lens in 2008. Photo by Chuck Miller.

It’s our creative and joyful past that disappears, with only steel skeletons and rusted, rotting paintstrokes remaining. 

So when I see the Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry sign today … which still stands as of the moment I’m writing this blog post … I’m saddened by the loss. 

Of all the losses of our Capital District identity.  For every mom-and-pop store that gets knocked down for a chain outlet.  For every church that is demolished for a supermarket.  For every stretch along Central Avenue that disappears faster than the rainbow in a summer shower.

Just something to ponder. 

And ponder again.