From The New York Shitty Inbox: The East River State Park Lights

October 7, 2011 by
Filed under: 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

This item comes courtesy of a very nice lady named Jackie. The residents around East River State Park have a problem; very simply put, it is the solar lighting which was installed at said park to keep it lit at night. To this end they have been remarkably effective! In fact, they have been described to yours truly as “lighting up East River State Park like Yankee Field”. Hence why an online petition has been created requesting a more sensible solution be put in place. Here’s what Jackie has to say:

I am told the State used the $200,000 OSA donation towards the solar lights.The state was addressing community chatter  a few years ago about wanting more access to the Park, longer days, and for that the State requires lighting. But there was no public forum that I know of. If the state had spoken to the community they would have realized that in the summer the park closes at sunset which is around 9pm, but all folks really wanted was to be able to stay in the park and watch the sun set, instead of being asked to leave 10 minutes prior. There is sufficient light during dusk to allow this. In the winter when the sun sets early, the Park is usually very cold, extremely windy and sparsely attended, so night access is not a big issue. In addition, the city installed a soccer field adjacent to the East River State Park, with large stadium style soccer lights that also light up the entire State Park and beyond and bounce off of THE EDGE building, causing a lot of light pollution. These lights are suppose to be turned off at 10:15PM. It seems the State and City do not work in concert so this was not factored in. In addition, the stadium lights stay on well past the 10:15PM time frame, as the timer is not reset to adjust to the shorter days and often is on until midnight or all night. These are electric lights that cost taxpayers dollars, that are on during snowstorms when there is no use of the soccer fields. These lights blare into bedrooms and also ruin the evening city skyscapes. But I digress.

Now these towering industrial solar poles in the park close off what was OPEN SPACE. Frisbee anyone? Williamsburg is a central hub of print and film shoots and a popular place for the industry to film. Yea, you can retouch out a pole or two in print, but not in film. “They ruined it”, said a location scout. The sun panels on top of these poles have a mirror quality and on sunny days it throw 50 rays of molten light into people’s homes. One sun is enough, thank you. Visually,  the amount and placement makes the park look like a DOT parking lot, or some have described it as a UFO center. Many were placed next to trees that will overshadow the solars and render them useless.

There are many solutions to this problem, and the petition is meant to be a calling card so that the community can get a meaningful dialog going with the State.

Those of you who are interested can add your signature to this petition by clicking here.

PHOTO CREDITS: the solar panel photo comes courtesy of Blue4Rose.


2 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: The East River State Park Lights

  1. AJH on Sat, 8th Oct 2011 4:54 am
  2. While I agree that the solar lights are not the prettiest, and it is annoying that because they are solar we have to have so many of them because, obviously we cant control the weather, I disagree about the assumption that all anyone wanted to do is stay an extra ten minutes to watch the sunset. I work late and it has always annoyed me that in NYC parks soccer/football/baseball or whatever sport players get treated as though they are the only ones who merit lighting after dark, or who might, gasp!, want to use the park with lighting to make it safe after dark. Since I often dont get home to the neighborhood until 8:30 or even later, I have been really enjoyed the opportunity all summer, and am still enjoying it, to go to the park with my boyfriend and spread out a blanket have take out food and look out at the gorgeous skyline. Its an amazing view and I feel really lucky to be able to go there and have a late evening meal (finally) without having squash onto the soccer field with all the players, which doesnt sound fun at all. And we are definitely not the only ones enjoying romantic evenings on the waterfront now that the lighting is there. The park is almost always packed at night, with couples or groups of friends, all relieved to have a place to go, that doesnt require playing sports to get lighting in a park after dark, although occasionally you will see a casual frisbee game.
    Also, my roommate who is a bit of an activist tells me that the majority of the money ossa gave was not used on the lights. That the money was used to keep the park open, and make sure that it was not put on the list of state parks to be closed by the governor when state park department’s budget was being cut in half and they were closing like 50 or 70 state parks, some of them massive ones upstate that actually make money for the state as tourist attractions, our little piece of waterfront was not on the list because of the ossa donation. And that an equal amount was put into the rest of the money was used in other parks in the area, mostly for mundane things like trash bags and additional workers or the weekends and a PEPP officer (?), so that when the parks workers run out of the “allotment” of trashbags they get for the month for this area, I guess its this community board? they can get the money from ossa to buy more, or to clean out porta johns and fix benches and whatever. Its hard to get excited about that stuff, but I guess none of us would want to see the parks run out of trashbags or weedwhacker string. I was kinda shocked to learn that they could, that they only get a certain amount per month and if they run out early, too bad, the trash just rots there, or the grass where people usually sit to enjoy themselves just gets overgrown. How on earth can the city run things like that? What do other areas do that dont have fall back money?
    As for the lights, yeah they are ugly, but its cool they are doing something for the environment, thats what parks are about, and I have no problem bundling up, so I imagine Ill be going down there for dinner for at least another month or two. Its about time non sports players got acknowledged

  3. Zenster on Sun, 16th Oct 2011 5:39 pm
  4. Dear AJH,

    Thanks for your reply, I agree, now that the STATE park is open later…on those few but wonderful Indian summer nights it is wonderful to be able to utilize the Park. The Soccer Field (a city Park) is actually a profit center for the city. The leagues pay to play. The OSA contribution goes directly to the State and they spend the money as they see fit. OSA does not have influence over how they spend the money according to Stephanie Thayer, ED of OSA.

    The point here is not to remove solar lighting, but to replace it with solar lighting that
    does not destroy the integrity and beauty of the Park. You misunderstood our intent.
    There are hip height industrial solar lights that can do the job. Thanks, I hope you will sign the petition.

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