The electrified neon tango dancers have romanced their way back to Elmwood Avenue. It was back in July that we first heard that the beloved neon sculpture might be returned to its rightful home, where it was initially installed in 1982. The work was removed from the side of its residing structure at the corner of Bidwell Parkway in 2015, upon which time no one knew if it would ever see the light of day (or darkness of night), due to the disrepair of the culturally-significant object of the community’s affection.
After being painstakingly restored by NAS Sign Company, the tango dancers lay in wait to be claimed. It was only when Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto noticed the that new building ownership team – Douglas Development and Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. – had released a rendering of a potential project, that he decided that it might be wise to reach out to the developers.
At the time, Feroleto said, “I spoke with Doug Jemal (Douglas Development) two weeks ago and told him about the iconic tango dancers. He immediately said that he would love to have it returned to its original location.”
Jemal concurred, by saying, ““I never come in and do something, and not be a part of the fiber of the community. The dancers are that fiber. It didn’t have a home. I feel that it’s divine intervention – to come back to its original home.”
Upwards of four months from initially hearing that the tango dancers might return, we are now witnessing the reinstallment of the cherished public work of art.
“I’m thrilled to see this iconic piece returned to its original location!” commented Feroleto.
I am of the belief that everyone that was familiar with the tango dancers back in the day feels the same way. And at the same time, a new generation of Buffalonians will be able to appreciate the illuminated brilliance that will once again dance along Elmwood Avenue, thus illuminating a street that is currently experiencing a electrifying renaissance.
Images of 976 Elmwood and the reinstalled tango dancers, courtesy Joel Capizzi