Where is this location?
May 26, 2020 6:44 AM   Subscribe

It's got a Tsui Wah Restaurant signage along with some other Western signage as well. Or is this a composite?
posted by querty to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Judging by the sign and storefront angles, it's a composite. Also it appears the Tsui Wahs are in Hong Kong and China, and there are no Sleep Inns there.
posted by beagle at 7:23 AM on May 26, 2020

I figure it has to be a composite. The three visible signs are

Sleep Inn & Suites, a Choice Hotels brand that operates in the US, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico. I can’t find one that starts with John Ho, and that signage appears to be off brand for them anyway.

Bed Bath & Beyond: United States, Canada, and Mexico

Tsui Wah operates in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.
posted by zamboni at 7:31 AM on May 26, 2020

Not that it helps much, but here are the first 6 tiles of the full picture.

It's fair to say that Photoshop was involved at some point.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:51 AM on May 26, 2020

Here is the original by the artist, Narandel. They say
My attempt at a sci-fi cityscape sort of concept. I utilized some matte painting techniques in this one. All in all a pretty fun piece to do. All in all, took about 5 hours to do in photoshop cs4.
(This was reverse engineered by finding the discogs page for the first LP in the set, which lists the artwork author.)
posted by neustile at 10:04 AM on May 26, 2020

I live in Hong Kong. Answering the Tsui Wah portion of this question has been a journey I've loved taking this evening.

The Tsui Wah sign in the photo initially looked like the one outside the 75 Parkes Street location in Jordan/Yau Ma Tei, but on closer inspection (that one doesn't have the yellow triangle border thing), I thought it was actually the sign that used to be in front of the Tsui Wah at 483-499 Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay. It's basically a perfect match: the yellow border, the white characters down the left side (Japanese!), the six pink characters at the bottom, the eight-digit phone number underneath those. That sign, which I can only find on a Pinterest link, links to a 2010 CNN Travel article with, weirdly, no picture of the sign. This sign has sadly been replaced with a much more boring sign today, which you'll see on Google Maps street view.

However! A nearly identical sign to the one in your photo appears to have been erected at the 2 Carnarvon Road location in Tsim Sha Tsui, and the only different I can see is the phone number underneath. The sign in Causeway Bay reads 2892 2633, but the Tsim Sha Tsui location reads 2366 8520; the sign was still there when the reviewer submitted their picture in December 2014. To me, the second number in your photo's phone number seems more three-shaped than eight shaped. So perhaps, I thought, it's that one after all? But then what about the red characters underneath the sign?

I am happy to report that I was finally able to solve the mystery and confirm that this is indeed the Carnarvon Road branch! None of the three locations have a Wing Lung Bank underneath them today (the three bright red characters 永隆銀 [and one faded one, 行, which is the second bit of the two-character word 銀行, 'bank'] give this away, as do the four four-letter words (Wing Fung Bank Ltd.); there's no other Wing [something] Bank in Hong Kong) - but this photo from Trip.com puts a branch of the bank with a neon sign just on the opposite side of the entrance to the 2 Carnarvon Building today. Wing Lung Bank took on the branding of its parent company, China Merchants Bank, in 2009, so I think the image has to predate that, at least, and while today the street view of the location above has a CMB before Wing Lung, the photo of the sign at night does not.

In terms of dating the first time this photo might have been taken, we do know that neither the bank nor the restaurant were there before 1956 - the same stretch of Carnarvon Road (really only one small block long) looked utterly different back then, and was home to a hotel and a few larger shophouses, as this photo from Flickr shows. Leasing sites tell us that 2-2A Carnarvon Road, where Tsui Wah is today, was built in 1989, while the Lee Kar Building in which Wing Lung Bank is located was built in 1978. So I'd say 1989-2009 are your target dates. Sadly Google Maps street view only came to Hong Kong in 2010, so I'm not sure I can do better than that right now.

Finally, judging by the direction of the tea cup - it's on the right/building side of the sign in the photo above but on the left in your photo - I think the photo was taken from Nathan Road, the main north-south street in Tsim Sha Tsui, looking east. This would also explain the position of the Wing Lung Bank sign right underneath.

More about our amazing neon-sign history here!
posted by mdonley at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2020 [15 favorites]

Just for the different brands near the Best Inn sign appear to be from a collection of sources. Certainly there is no Best Inn in a location like that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:30 PM on May 26, 2020

"Just for the record the different brands..."
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:53 PM on May 26, 2020

« Older What are the obstacles to driving across the US...   |   I think I have depression Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments