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Ferry Riders Relying On Iconic Watchtower Clock May Miss The Boat

By Amy Zimmer | September 19, 2017 4:07pm
 After nearly 50 years atop the Jehovah's Witness building, the sign is coming down under new owners.
After nearly 50 years atop the Jehovah's Witness building, the sign is coming down under new owners.
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Flickr/Leo Newball, Jr.

BROOKLYN — You might be late to catch a ferry on the East River if you’re relying on the time flashing from Dumbo’s iconic Watchtower sign.

The clock appeared to be running 5 minutes slow as of Monday, according to Stan Lubowicki, who works in customer service for NY Waterway, which operates commuter boats from Wall Street’s Pier 11 to several New Jersey locations.

“The Watchtower building is quite visible to our staff and passengers, and is used for reference,” Lubowicki wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York.

In response, his company is making announcements: "Please disregard the time on the Watchtower Clock.”

The sign’s 15-foot-tall red letters, which have announced the time and temperature near the Brooklyn Bridge for nearly 50 years, will soon be gone.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses sold the building for a reported $340 million to Kushner Companies, CIM Group and LIVWRK Holdings — forming a group known as Columbia Heights Associates — and in June filed permits to remove the sign from the roof of its former world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights.

The developers declined to comment on the time lag Tuesday.

“The sign requires regular maintenance," the Jehovah’s Witness website states.

"Several generations of young men have worked on the sign, performing needed repairs at all hours,” according to the website, which also notes that an upgrade to LED lights from neon tubes in 2009 saved the religious group $4,000 a year in maintenance costs.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses plan to save the letters, but it's unclear what's next for them and whether they will take them to their new headquarters upstate in Warwick.

The building, now renamed “Panorama,” is slated to offer 635,000 square feet of office space and 35,000 square feet of space for retail and cultural programming. Its renderings included a sign on the roof, though not with the Watchtower’s letters, DNAinfo previously reported.