No timeline for Calvin marquee repair

  • The damaged Calvin Theater sign in Northampton, Monday, April 18, 2016. JERREY ROBERTS

  • Not for the first time, the marquee of the Calvin Theatre on King Street in Northampton is missing a letter. Owner Eric Suher told Mayor David Narkewicz last week it would be repaired soon. JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 4/18/2016 8:46:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The void is hard to miss. Whether it’s seen on newscasts or spotted while passers-by mosey along King Street, onlookers are taking strong notice of the missing “A” in the Calvin Theatre marquee, and they’re not happy about the vowel’s continued absence — or what they say it implies about the state of their downtown community.

The marquee above the front entrance to the historic theater has been without the “A” in “Calvin” for at least a year. Before that, it was missing the “C” for a time, as the Gazette recorded in August 2012.

Eric Suher, who oversees the building, owns the Iron Horse Entertainment Group and numerous other Northampton properties, including the former Spoleto space on Main Street, which has sat empty for four years.

Suher has not yet spelled out a timeline for when residents can expect the marquee to undergo repairs.

“I’ll take all the rest of the letters down so it evens itself out, how about that?” Suher said when reached by a reporter Monday. “That’s my quote.”

The issue of the marquee’s missing letter was thrust back into the public eye when Mayor David Narkewicz engaged in a heated exchange with Suher at a meeting Wednesday with other local business owners. Narkewicz called attention to Suher’s vacant properties, as well as the missing “A” in the marquee.

The meeting was intended as a public session for the mayor to hear from local businesses about how they would be affected by proposed changes to the city’s water and sewage rates. But the session turned into a sparring match after attendees accused Narkewicz’s administration of neglecting the downtown economy.

At the meeting, Suher responded to the mayor by insisting the marquee would be repaired soon. After mention of the sign in a story in the Gazette on Thursday, Narkewicz said, his office was overwhelmed with calls and complaints about the marquee.

One resident sounded off in a letter to the editor of the Gazette two days after the meeting.

“Its damaged condition would make one think the town is going to seed, giving the impression that other locations probably are in the same condition,” Peter Flynn Sr. of Northampton wrote Friday. 

The mayor said he agrees.

“It’s such a centrally located and iconic building in downtown,” Narkewicz said. “It’s concerning to many residents who take a lot of pride in our city and, in particular, downtown.”

In the meantime, social media users — such as those on the Only in Northampton Facebook page — are still coming up with their own explanations for the missing vowel or offering suggestions for what could replace it:

“I think it’s a black hole that sucks up liquor licenses and the letter ‘A,’” wrote Owen Zaret on an Only in Northampton Facebook post.

“Dollar sign is the only honest solution,” Jenn Iannaconi commented on the same post.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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