Bright Lights, Big City

Kenmore Sq. sign gets high-tech makeover

They took pains to make the sign look just as it did before. And they extol the virtues of the specially made LED tubes: They won't break under the harsh seige of a New England winter, as the fragile glass bulbs did, and being considerably more energy efficient, they will cut electric bills in half.

Still, in a city where traditions are held close to the heart and change is viewed with suspicion, there are some who aren't ready to embrace the new light source.

''There is a very firm opinion that the neon is not really neon; it's LED," said Arthur Krim, a Cambridge resident and professed Citgo sign historian who has made it a personal obsession.

He said the new sign may be nearly the same, but there are subtle differences. ''The new bulb is brighter and more intense than the old neon," Krim said.

Get over it, Artie.

I love the Citgo sign, having spent my college years basking in its sickly glow. That said, if they are going to go so far as to demolish the Deli Haus (home of the Guinness float!), you kind of have to expect the powers that be to "Vegas up" the rest of the gateway to Fenway.