Ode To the CITGO Sign

The CITGO sign was originally made in 1940, but wasn’t the lovely sign we all know and love until 1965, when its name was officially changed into CITGO. Over 50 years later, it became a landmark all Bostonians and visitors would grow fond of.

I can’t help but smile as I pass by – always mindful of the tender moments that shaped my first year in Boston.

From living next to Yankee Stadium at home, to being a five minute walk away from Fenway Park felt like an internal betrayal to my hometown of New York City. However, my move to Boston was a clear sign that a new chapter in my life was starting. The first thing I noticed was the huge fluorescent square sign with a large red triangle in the middle, the word CITGO spelled underneath in blue

Connie Dai | Senior Graphic Artist


Growing up, I watched baseball religiously with my grandfather. I remembered seeing the sign in the background of all Yankee vs. Red Sox games that took place in Fenway Park, almost as if it was watching over the stadium. Even though it was a three hour drive away, I never thought I’d get to see it in person until my godfather dropped me off in a city I’ve never been in. 

I learned to love the sign early into my freshman year when I lived in The Towers. The sign would flash into my room every night until midnight. The fluorescent glow of white became my alarm clock, reminding me that when the lights would shut off, I should probably get to sleep. 

The sign became a symbol of comfort too. On the rare days that I wasn’t interviewing people for class, I was with my friends. It became a strange coincidence that many of the memories I have of them all have some mention of the CITGO sign in the background of it all. 

I have countless memories of leaving my dorm at night, meeting friends at bus stops at two in the morning and going to Late Night at Marciano to gossip — with the sign always insight while memories were made. 

What I didn’t realize was the comfort the sign actually brings. I always knew, no matter how far or how late I would be from my dorm, I wasn’t home until I saw the CITGO sign. The familiarity became a haven for me. 

I’d get lost around the city, deciding to walk back to campus and risk having aching legs for days. This is a small price to pay for living in Boston. The sigh of relief I give when I see the red triangle will never get old — especially when it’s time to move back in. 

The everyday anxious feeling that gnaws at my stomach seems to vanish once I see the sign on the horizon. Finally, I can breathe again. Finally, I’m home. 

I was never into math — especially geometry. However, having that triangle as a symbol in my life for community and home is important to me. 

Thank you, CITGO — I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me. 

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