July 9, 2020 By John Bolger
The iconic Citi logos have been removed from the top of One Court Square, marking the end of an era in Long Island City.
Scaffolding was erected on the roof of the building late last month in order to facilitate the removal. The logo had adorned the top of the building ever since it opened.
According to Department of Buildings records, the signs are to be replaced with logos for Altice USA, a cable network service provider, which has been headquartered in the building since 2017. Altice owns several brands, including Optimum.
Although the change may seem dramatic, it was a long time in the making, as Citigroup has been reducing its presence in Long Island City for years.
The banking giant sold its tower in 2005, although it continued to lease space in the building.
The bank began to vacate as early as 2016, relocating many of its departments to Manhattan and Jersey City. Its lease came to an end this year, bringing Citi’s 30 year tenure at One Court Square to a close.
One Court Square, originally named Citicorp Tower, was built on the site of the former Saint John’s Hospital and completed in 1990 in a much different Long Island City than what is there today.
It was the first modern skyscraper built in Queens and was the tallest building in the city outside of Manhattan, a distinction it enjoyed up until just last year when Skyline View Tower across the street surpassed it by 100 feet.
Hints that the Citi logo’s days were numbered could be seen as early as 2018 when the infamous Amazon headquarters deal seemed all but certain.
In a document prepared by the city to lure Amazon to Queens, there was even a mock-up depicting the building emblazoned with a giant Amazon logo where the Citi logo once was.
Amazon was expected to take up to two thirds of the building’s 1.5 million square feet of office space while the waterfront campus was going to be built.
“When you think of Long Island City, you think of dynamic change in both the arts and its landscape,” said Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society. “It will always be the first tower and remains at the heart of the community no matter what its name.”
The Citi logo appears in several other locations of the building, such as its lobby, on the facade of its low-rise annex, and on its first floor windows and revolving doors. It is not yet clear what fate awaits these icons of the building’s former tenant.
Savanna, the building’s owner, and Altice declined to comment for this story. Citigroup did not comment for this story in time for press.
Citi is a great company, great building, great neighborhood. Sad day.