Skyline surprise: ‘Watchtower’ letters quietly removed from Brooklyn Heights building

Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

First to go: Workers began by taking down the “R.”
There she goes: The letter “W” was taken down last.
We hardly new ye!: The Jehovah’s Witnesses are taking the letters to their new upstate headquarters.
“O” boy: The 15-foot letters no longer look out over the East River.
What a view: Several workers climbed atop the Columbia Heights building to remove the characters.

It officially sign-ed off!

Workers tore the 15-foot red neon letters composing Brooklyn Heights’s iconic Watchtower sign from their framework on Dec. 6 as part of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s ongoing transformation of the former Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters into a swanky office space.

The Witnesses filed plans with the Department of Buildings this summer to rip the East River-facing characters that towered over the nabe for more than 40 years from the roof of the Columbia Heights building, but locals were left guessing when that day would actually come.

And without notice on Dec. 6, workers climbed up onto the roof and started removing the heavy letters one by one in reverse — the “R” going first, and the “W” last.

Kushner stepped down as the chief executive of his development firm Kushner Companies in January, after the company — in a collective with developers Livwrk and CIM group called Columbia Heights Associates — purchased the building for $340 million in 2016. The group announced its plan to turn the religious organization’s home base into a massive office-and-retail complex in June.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses made their home in Brooklyn for more than a century, but the group is relocating its headquarters upstate and is bringing the letters with them.

The framework that held the characters — which includes a flashing time and temperature — remains in place, however, and may soon hold a new marker above Brooklyn Heights, according to one of the building’s owners.

“As the property undergoes its transformation into a world-class office campus, there is an opportunity to bring a new beacon to the Brooklyn skyline,” said Asher Abehsera, the founder of Livwrk.

The Watchtower letters join many now-gone placards that once hovered above Brooklyn, including the Kentile Floors, Eagle Clothes, and Bruno Truck Sales signs in Gowanus, Red Hook’s E.J. Trum sign — all of which remains are a floating period and “R” — and Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar sign, which will return to the factory’s landmarked refinery building after it is made over into a glass-and-brick office space.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 3:05 pm, July 13, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

stan chaz from greenpoint says:
If it wasn't Kushner's plaything,
it would be an ideal place for a huge
Dec. 8, 2017, 9:56 am
No Tears from Brooklyn Heights says:
Losing "Watchtower" is no lost sleep to Brooklyn.

This oppressive business exploits weak minds into a form of physiological slavery.

The only thing they watchover is their brain washed human robots.

Good by and good riddens Watchtower!
Dec. 8, 2017, 10:15 am
Morris from Mill Basin says:
I'd like to watch Jared Kushner be locked in the Tower of London and someone do to him what Richard III did to those other annoying little princes!
Dec. 8, 2017, 12:56 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Dec. 8, 2017, 12:57 pm
a fan says:
Paul Martinka just quietly going about his job....
Dec. 8, 2017, 4:49 pm
Better of the two from NYC says:
Cry all you want, we got the better of the two candidates in the white house. Just think how bad Hilarious had to be to loose to the worst president in history.

Down with Watchtower, up with anything else.
Dec. 8, 2017, 10:47 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
It will be just another thing to ha e lost in the old skyline.
April 29, 2018, 2:24 pm

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