It’s Official: The Entire “King of Jeans” Sign is Down — But Could It Come Back?

The king and queen have left the building.

A photo posted by Leslie Burnette (@lesselb) on

Well isn’t that an image to have in mind in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Since the start of its removal last week, we’ve been waiting to hear about when the iconic kissing figures on the “King of Jeans” sign would be taken down. It appears that day was today.

Interestingly, the Passyunk Post‘s Taylor Farnsworth writes the sign might have a chance of returning to its original spot–though probably not to its original original spot, as Renee Gilinger of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District made clear to me when I asked her about the possibility of it coming back after the planned mixed-use development that will replace the vacant King of Jeans store is complete: “No,” she said, as the new building will be mostly residential and “you can’t have windowless units.”

Then, given that the sign is being held at Provenance Salvage, I asked Gilinger if she thought the sign could potentially be displayed elsewhere (say…back in South Philly?). “Theoretically,” she replied, “if a property owner was interested in it […] yes, I could see that.” Now, the Passyunk Post has caught whiff of a similar story:

Although it was said in [David] Goldfarb’s statement that the sign may not be resold, [Conrad] Benner mentioned that they might still be looking to give the sign away to a Philly institution.

Photo credit: Art Etchells

Photo credit: Art Etchells

That would be awesome if I do say so myself, but that doesn’t seem likely: “We gave stakeholders a year to find a good home for it and they weren’t able to do so,” Andy Kaplan told me. Kaplan is the developer behind the mixed-use project that’s set to replace the former “King of Jeans” store.

Indeed, I spoke to one of several area groups that had been hopped on the idea of acquiring the sign, but for various reasons could not: the Philadelphia History Museum, whose executive director cited space was the issue. Meanwhile, Foobooz’s Art Etchells, spoke with local bar Garage, whose owners had also expressed interest in the sign, only to be “met with adversity from another business owner in the area who came out strongly against it.”

“I was surprised people took a liking to it,” Steve Calabrese told me when speaking to him last week. Calabrese had a hand in the creation of both the original and recent KoJ signs, along with artist Angel from Angel’s Fine Art Studio. “We woulda’ taken it and hung it up on our shop,” he says when asked about his reaction upon hearing it would be taken down. “I didn’t think the sign had that many people interested in it.”

Here’s a look back at the original when it was first installed in 1994. “Meet me at the King of Jeans sign,” Calabrese says he would hear people say. Well, not anymore.