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DeKalb Ave. Eatery Tries to Rehang Downed 'Liquor Store' Sign From 1970s

By Janet Upadhye | April 25, 2014 6:38am
 The old liquor sign outside of Fort Greene restaurant Colonia Verde fell on April 16.
The old liquor sign outside of Fort Greene restaurant Colonia Verde fell on April 16.
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DNAinfo.com/Ben Fractenberg

FORT GREENE — Owners at new restaurant Colonia Verde are looking for a way to reattach a more than 34-year-old liquor store sign that — up until last week — hung from the landmarked facade of a building at 219 DeKalb Ave.

Mac Osborne and Felipe Donnelly, who opened Colonia Verde in the space earlier this year, believe the sign has been around since at least the 1970s and is a "landmark piece of the neighborhood."

Osborne said the sign — which he found dangling from one hinge last week and had to be lowered to the ground by the Fire Department — is too heavy to carry indoors.

The rusty sign is currently sitting on the sidewalk outside the restaurant with busted miniature lightbulbs and shattered neon yellow lamps.

Osborne said the sign is precious to him, not least because it was the inspiration behind the Latin fusion restaurant's name.

"Back in the day, before opening the restaurant, we were drawn to this space by this amazing green sign," they wrote in a letter to neighbors. "It became our beacon."

The actual age of the sign is unclear but pictures of 219 DeKalb Ave. at the New York City Municipal Archives show it hanging above a liquor store circa 1980.

Osborne and Donnelly are determined to restore the sign to its former glory.

"Just know we are trying to figure out if there is any way possible to hang it back up," they wrote.

Ultimately the fate of the sign is in the hands of building owners Almat Group LLC, located in Downtown Brooklyn, but Tami Rofe, another Colonia Verde owner, is hoping to throw a party to help support any costs associated with re-mounting the sign.

Almat Group LLC and the Landmarks Preservation Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.