Historic sign causes controversy at future Apple Store in Spain

Residents of Madrid, Spain are concerned about the future of an old advertising sign. “Tio Pepe” overlooked Plaza del Sol for 76 years, before being removed from the roof of its building as construction began on a new Apple Store. The advertiser’s contract is scheduled to expire in June, and the building’s owners are not interested in renewing it. The sign has been in storage since its removal.

It sounds silly but reminds me of Boston’s Citgo sign. If it were to disappear, I’d miss it. Citgo agrees:

“Citgo holds an especially important place in Boston. The illuminated sign in Kenmore Square has become a landmark on the Boston skyline. It graces left field at Fenway Park and has seen thousands of athletes to the finish line at the Boston Marathon. It also serves as an excellent orientation point when people are lost in the city.”

In fact, the Citgo sign has overseen the birth of many Bostonians:

“At one time, the sign was visible from the maternity ward at Beth Israel Hospital, where mothers-to-be timed their contractions by its pulsing flash in the evening sky.”

When I moved to Boston in 1994 and didn’t know a soul, the Citgo sign was visible from my window. I used it as an orientation point when I was learning my way around the city. Walking towards it always led me home.

Good luck to Tio Pepe and all of its fans.