Reuters

The beloved Tío Pepe sign – Madrid's Eiffel Tower – could be doomed.

"Tío Pepe," a clothed and guitar-bearing neon sherry bottle, shone down on the city of Madrid for more than 75 years. Now, his reign may be over.

The neon sign stood atop a building near a central square, Puerta del Sol, since 1936 and had become one of the city's most iconic sights. But last year, it was removed to allow the building's retrofit as an Apple retail store. It was thought that the 10-meter-tall Tío Pepe would regain his perch when the retrofit was complete.

That is look more and more unlikely, according to this article from The Guardian.

González Byass, the company that owns the Tío Pepe brand, has claimed that the building's new owners don't want the sign to be returned, according to this translated version of an article from El Pais.

An online petition has been set up by fans of the sign who are hoping to convince the building's owners to replace Tío Pepe. "This is part of our culture," writes Elsa Muñoz. Another petition signer, Enrique Parellada, argues that "Madrid without Tío Pepe is not Madrid."

Though former mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón banned brightly-lit outdoor advertising in 2009, he spared Tío Pepe arguing that the sign is to Madrid what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.

The Eiffel Tower was originally intended as a temporary installation, but has become an icon of the Paris skyline. In Madrid, Tío Pepe could suffer a similar but inverse fate and disappear.

Photo credit: Susana Vera / Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An autonomous vehicle drives on a race track in California.
    Equity

    Driverless Cars Won’t Save Us

    In fact, they’ll do the opposite of what techno-optimists hope, and worsen—not ease—inequality.

  2. A scene from Hey Arnold! is pictured.
    Life

    Even Hey Arnold's Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Now

    Series creator Craig Bartlett explains how he built the cartoon city that every ‘90s kid dreamed of living in.

  3. Equity

    Why Sexual Harassment Rates Are So High in the Restaurant Industry

    Where working for tips means the customer is always right, waitresses, bartenders, and other tipped-wage workers endure stunning rates of sexual harassment.

  4. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  5. Transportation

    Why Is African Air Travel So Terrible?

    Taking a flight between cities in different African nations is often expensive, circuitous, and unsafe. But better days for travelers may be coming.