(from Uptown Grand Central’s newsletter)
“The overhead lights in the back of a public plaza in East Harlem, mounted on a rusty viaduct that supports the Metro-North Railroad, were not working. And Carey King was panicking.
Ms. King, who runs the plaza as the director of Uptown Grand Central, a nonprofit group formed by local merchants, was getting ready to reopen that section in the spring of 2021 after two years of construction to make it nicer. It was so dark that neighbors stayed away. Drug addicts shot up in the shadows and others found hidden corners to urinate and defecate.
When Ms. King tried to get the lights turned on, the Metro-North Railroad, which is operated by the state, said they were not its lights. She went to the city’s Department of Transportation, only to be told to check with Metro-North. After months of going back and forth with different agencies, she finally got city transportation officials to take ownership of the lights.
‘It’s a bad joke: How long does it take to change a light bulb?’ Ms. King said.”
👉🏽👉🏾👉🏼 Big thanks to The New York Times for giving our spot under the train tracks some shine! And to the NYC Department of Transportation for getting the boxy white lights on.
Also grateful to the Design Trust for Public Space and NightSeeing for the colorful string lights that are making our space even brighter and better.
Head here for the full article on the city’s new public space director and problem-solving plans.
There’s just a little while longer to enjoy the Winter Lights that are glowing here along East 125th Street.
Our trees are lighting even more blocks than ever before, from Fifth to Second avenues. We’re grateful as always to local small business Urban Garden Center for the many weeks they spend to bring you the holiday magic.
The lights will be up through the end of February — adding not only festive cheer, but extra shine and safety on the sidewalks on these dark winter nights.