BY GABE HERMAN | A years-long effort to install classic street lights in the West Village has finally come to fruition with the installation of several of them along Seventh Avenue South.
A ribbon cutting on Nov. 20 was held at McCarthy Square along Seventh Avenue in front of one of the new street lights, which are in the style of classic Bishop Crook poles and have LED teardrop fixtures, according to the Department of Transportation.
“This is a very exciting day that we’ve been working toward for a long time,” said Erik Bottcher, Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Chief of Staff, at the event. He noted that the project was part of Johnson’s broader goal to beautify the area, including renovating every park and filling all empty tree pits.
In the past, historic street lights on Seventh Avenue had come up for a vote in the district’s Participatory Budgeting, but although it didn’t win funding, Johnson continued to push for it, Bottcher noted.
Local block associations and members of Community Board 2 also pushed for the street lights, Bottcher said, and when there was a budget gap, State Assemblymember Deborah Glick stepped in to provide funding for lights on West 13th Street.
Bottcher said he was glad the area was moving away from the “cobra head” lights — the standard street lights in the city — and that Seventh Avenue now looked less like a highway and more like a Greenwich Village street.
“It’s important for the people who live here, but also people who visit here from around the world.” He added. “You can come here from anywhere and know that you’re in Greenwich Village.”
Glick said at the ceremony that efforts for the classic streetlights had probably gone on for 15 years or more, and it was great to have the new lights along a main avenue.
“We feel very proprietary about the Village, as we should,” Glick said.
Most of the project’s 33 street lights have been installed in recent weeks, according to Ed Pincar, DOT’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner. The posts are on Seventh Avenue, from Perry to Clarkson Streets, and on West 11th and 12th Streets between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Several more will be installed at a later date on West 13 Street, between Seventh and Greenwich avenues. Over $500,000 in funding has gone into the project, Pincar said.
“No one can deny the benefit and great improvement that historic lighting brings to the West Village,” Pincar said.
Members of CB2 at the event included Shirley Secunda, chair of the Traffic & Transportation Committee, who praised the ability of the community and officials to work together for the project. “I think we all deserve a pat on the back for so much cooperation,” she said.
Frederica Sigel, co-chair of the Land Use & Housing Committee, said that she has already seen people admiring the new poles on West 12th Street.
Carl Stein, a resident of West 11 Street since 1971 who was there on behalf of the street’s block association, said it was great to be adding something to the Village to leave it better for future generations.
“It’s very nice for us, but it’s also nice because the Village is such an important element for people coming to New York from outside,” Stein said. “It’s great. It’s really a special thing to be living here on so many levels.”