CityLights Finally Begin to See Daylight

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
New York City's new street lights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker

New York City's new streetlights are making their debut downtown. (AN/Stoelker)

Approximately six years after Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Office for Visual Interaction, and Werner Sobek won the CityLights competition for a new standard streetlight, some of the first examples are popping up in Lower Manhattan. The design for LED streetlights was cutting edge at the time, and the technology was very expensive. Prices for energy efficient LED’s have fallen considerably since then, allowing the ultra slim fixtures to find their way onto city streets. The Bloomberg administration has changed New York’s scrappy streetscapes in numerous ways, including adding new pedestrian plazas and hundreds of miles of bike lanes, and commissioning new street furniture and newsstands. These fixtures, developed by the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Transportation, are the latest of these efforts to make gritty city a bit greener and more civilized.


The streetlight on Church at Murray.

The streetlight on Church at Murray.

A detail of the LEDs.

A detail of the LEDs.

Base detail.

Base detail.

The new New York City Street lights are making they're debut downtown.

The view from below.

2 Responses to “CityLights Finally Begin to See Daylight”

  1. Versus says:

    These new street lights are just as ugly as those they replace.

    We should have beautiful, lower-level, street lighting. These are purely functional, with no consideration for aesthetics at all.

  2. Identity-H says:

    This design is everything that public infrastructure projects should be in my opinion: streamlined, durable, efficient with an impressive modern look. Not only do these lights look better during the daytime, I have no doubt that the light they give off is a vast improvement over the ugly orange glow of the old high-pressure sodium lamps – all while using significantly less energy and money. Win-win!

    At a time when many cities are running backward by installing fake 19th century streetlighting everywhere (that uses the outdated high-pressure sodium technology), New York is embracing the future and quite possibly setting a standard. Hopefully it will spread fast. The city I live in (Milwaukee) hasn’t even begun a pilot program for LED lights, instead opting for the old-time look in some places and neglecting it’s infrastructure in others.

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