Interesting take, David, and I do understand the desire to lighten it up and increase the contrast. I prefer a darker version, but could definitely work on the overall contrast.
I also find it interesting that so many who have responded don't like the sign at the top. Although I cannot for the life of me recall exactly why I thought it a good idea, I actually included the partially dissected sign intentionally. As for the grafitti at the bottom, that was part of what attracted me to this stairwell as a subject, the grittiness and urban decay look, even though it's located in the small coastal Oregon town of Newport. Thanks all for taking the time to comment, and thanks David for your version.