Kirsten Hively loves neon signs, and has photographed more than 800 of them for her Project Neon. In an interview at Collector's Weekly, she explains how she finds, photographs, and maps those signs, as well as the history of neon signs and why they mean so much.
Neon signs are a fascinating combination of a high-tech chemical reaction that seems magical and an artisanal hand-crafted good. When you look closely at the letters, you can often see that no two are exactly the same because they’re usually handmade. Plus, the quality of the light from a neon sign is just so amazing.
I like how a neon sign becomes attached to a place, especially the big, elaborate, animated signs. So even if you haven’t ever been in the store, you know the sign, and you can direct people based on the sign. People will say things like, “Turn left at the neon sign” or “It’s two doors past the neon sign.” That sense of place is what makes the best signs.
You'll also find lots of pictures of the best neon signs in New York. Link