Sunnyside Arch renovation to include customizable LED lights for holidays, events

The iconic Sunnyside Arch in Queens is getting a makeover, complete with digital LED lights that are eco-friendly.

City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer announced on Tuesday that his office has allocated $15,000 in funding to restore the historic arch to its former glory.

“For decades, this arch has served as a gateway to this incredible neighborhood and to the entire borough of Queens,” Van Bramer said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I look forward to the new lighting and to keeping this arch a neighborhood icon that we can all be proud of.”

The new funding is expected to completely cover the cost of the renovation, according to Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, which is responsible for looking after the arch.

“We are absolutely thrilled that [Van Bramer] has chosen to fund this project. The arch is a very important landmark in this community,” Bean, 41, said by telephone Wednesday.

Located on Queens Boulevard at 46th Street, the Sunnyside Arch has been a neighborhood institution since 1983. It was outfitted with neon and analogue LED lighting in 2011, but the lights have faded in and out of operation over the years. The arch went dark back in fall 2016 and has remained that way ever since.

Bean said Van Bramer and the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District have fielded inquiries and comments from residents about the arch’s spotty lighting, which helped spark the decision to pursue a renovation.

“When we started looking into doing a more decisive repair, we found that some of the former electric work had not been weatherized,” Bean said, which she believes may have been the cause of the on-again, off-again lighting issue.

The new-and-improved arch will feature “tasteful but custom lights” that can be programmed for special events and holidays, Bean said.

Switching from neon and analogue LED lighting to all-digital LEDs will make the arch safer, longer lasting and more energy efficient, Bean added.

The renovation should be finished by the end of 2017 or early 2018, according to Van Bramer’s office.