2017-10-11 / Front Page

Sunnyside Arch To Get New Lighting

By Thomas Cogan

PHOTO DAN MILLER/DMD IMAGESPHOTO DAN MILLER/DMD IMAGESThe Sunnyside Arch, standing astride 46th Street, near Queens Boulevard, is in need of another overhaul, the second in its 34-year history.  This past Tuesday, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer stood in back of the arch and announced there would be funding for such a thing, particularly as it pertained to lighting.  The lighting that was installed on the arch in the first overhaul a decade or more ago has become unreliable and the current system will be replaced by a new light emitting diode, or LED, system that will be able to show various colors throughout the year to observe holidays and special occasions.  The councilman said about $15,000 will be granted for the improvements.

He said the arch has become beloved in the community, though when it was built in 1983 its future didn’t seem guaranteed and was considered uncertain until the first renovation, which gave it a new life.  Now, that has to be sustained by new repairs.  The councilman said that he recently had dinner locally with a Manhattan acquaintance who told him she liked the arch but said Sunnyside was not being served well by its faulty lights, some of which, if not all of them, would go out at night. But, said Van Bramer, once the original, now outdated LED system is replaced and the old neon light system removed altogether, his Manhattan friend should be gratified.  Jamie-Faye Beane, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, the local Business Improvement District, called the arch a symbol of pride in the community and will be all the more so once new lighting is put in.     

John Vogt, president of Sunnyside Shines, conceded that the arch has not always been admired and appreciated; quite the contrary.  Before the first renovation, at a time when a couple of decades of exposure to the elements had left it shabby, the arch’s builder and owner, the Department of Transportation, was apparently uncertain that it should be preserved.  At a meeting of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce in those days, Vogt said it was a matter of fixing the arch or tearing it down.  It was fixed and now will be fixed again.  On Tuesday, Vogt called it “a bridge” connecting the parts of a diversified community.  Cyrannina Andres, a local merchant and owner of Bing’s Gifts, 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she simply loves it.

Councilman Van Bramer said the light changes the new system will be able to perform might be compared to the lights at the top of the Empire State Building, which turn red at Christmas, green on St. Patrick’s Day, blue when the Yankees or Giants win big, and a variety of other colors for traditional or ad hoc occasions.  The Sunnyside Arch will perform similarly, if not for quite so many viewers.  But local and nearby residents, and visitors from other boroughs and elsewhere, might be impressed on seeing it.






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