NEW YORK—Sleek, modern, state-of-the-art streetlights, named City Lights, will be popping up in Harlem over the next few years.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Assemblyman Keith Wright and the representatives from 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) celebrated the installation of the first city light on 125th Street, just outside the Apollo Theater.
“They’re a great new illumination for the streets of Harlem,” Sadik-Khan said.
The advantages of the new light fixtures are that they’re sturdy, easy to maintain, and made with LED technology that uses 40 percent less energy. One lamp can last 20 years maintenance-free, which will cut down maintenance costs by 80 percent.
Another 63 of the same streetlights will be installed from Fifth Avenue to Morningside Avenue next year. They will replace what the commissioner called “Kennedy-era” lights, also known as ‘Cobraheads’ that haven’t been upgraded for over half a century.
“I can’t wait until this evening comes, because then I’m going to say, ‘Let there be light!” Wright said.
Wright allocated a $556,000 grant for the lights, and was happy that Harlem was the first neighborhood to receive the lights. The city also contributed $1.5 million to upgrade traffic lights in the area and to convert another 250,000 streetlights to the new LED lamps.
A street vendor, Abraham Cissé, who has been selling watches and jewelry for the past 10 years just a couple of feet away from the first city light, said he’s looking forward to seeing the light in the evening.
“It depends on the light, if it’s brighter then it’s good,” he said, noting that more lighting will help his business in the winter.
“I do like those [old lights] because I don’t see them around,” said an onlooker Lucy Dedewo, 26. “Something very sweet about them.”