Greg Brown and I have started an ad hoc Save The Bagel committee, to defend the giant bagel and coffee cup at 477 S. California Avenue in Palo Alto, known for 18 years now as Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels.
We suggest the powers that be consider the bagel and cup works of art and add it to our collection. The City meanwhile sent a message from the Code Enforcement team that there should not be a sign on the roof.
I am finding a comparison between this case the Chanukah story and hoping a miracle keeps the bagel here a wee bit longer.
The cup stands about 7 feet, the bagel five — they both appear to be made of foam and affixed to the roof via a metal bracket doohicky. The store owner Israel “Izzy” Rind told me last month, when I noticed the sign driving south on El Camino craving ramen but re-routed, that he had commissioned Mohamed Soumah to make the signs; if readers don’t know Soumah by name they may recognize his “poppies” mural a few doors down, at Country Sun (part of PAPA collection, 2004) or his other mural on the wall of the dive bar further south, toward the tracks. I met him once briefly and recall that Mohamed, sometimes called “Slim” is an immigrant from Africa.
edit to add, later that night: Jason Green has a story on “Save The Bagel” in Friday’s Daily News and Mercury papers, and here online. Quoth he:
A mini-controversy has erupted over a giant cup of coffee and bagel recently added to the roof of a Palo Alto eatery.
The city has ordered Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels at 477 S. California Ave. to remove the 7-foot-tall display because it violates the city’s prohibition on roof signs. Manager Maria Arzate said the green coffee cup and sesame-seed bagel are scheduled to come down Saturday.
“In order to have roof signs the city and city council would have to change the sign code,” Brian Reynolds, one of the city’s two code enforcement officers, said in an email interview Thursday.
But concert promoter Mark Weiss and muralist Greg Brown are hoping to convince the city to spare the cheerful display, arguing it is more art than advertisement. Indeed, it was crafted by Mohammed “Slim” Soumah, who also painted the “Under the Sun” mural on the east wall of nearby Country Sun Natural Foods.
“It’s somewhere between being a sign and being a comment on signs,” Weiss told The Daily News. “There’s something compelling about it.”
Weiss said he has already reached out to four of the city’s nine council members about securing an exception for Izzy’s.
That’s true. Here is what I texted (although none of them responded or acknowledged me YET):
LET’S PROCURE IZZY’S BAGEL AS PUBLIC ART
I WILL RAISE THE DOUGH
18 YEARS 20 EMPLOYEES DESERVES PRAISE NOT HASSLE.
Who said: I will never join a revolution that is short on kishke-gelt?
edit to add, four days later, post-Chanukah: Greg Brown called to say that the bureaucracy did indeed eat the bagel; Izzy had called from his journey to say that his strategy was to remove the sign then possibly seek a way back to Cali Ave for this masterpiece, or it could end up at his new East Palo Alto location.