When we think back upon the last few months in the Financial District, one thing we do not think is “Lower Manhattan should have a light show!” Nonetheless, that’s what the Economic Development Corporation is after, a lighting initiative that would “transform the experience of [read: too dark/too quiet] Lower Manhattan at night,” reports the New York Times. Because not enough tourists are flocking there after business hours. According to the Post, “The Bloomberg administration’s goal is to attract tourists, residents, and new businesses and stimulate night life.”
Night life, if only we could have more night life.
Currently, South Street between Fletcher and Whitehall and the public plaza surrounded by Broad Street, Wall Street, and Exchange Place have been pitched as possible locations. However, both light show proposals and location selections are largely up for grabs. (The EDC gives the example of the Victoria Harbor laser light show in Hong Kong, in which multicolored lights flash for 10 to 15 minutes nightly, attracting 4 million tourists and, presumably, sending none of them into fits, as inspiration.)
Proposals will be accepted until the end of February, with two installations pegged for completion by the end of 2012. The lights would be run regularly for three years, with the EDC contributing up to $1 million to the project.
So, what do we think about this? One one hand, Community Board 1 chair Julie Menin says the project will be good for safety, and safety is good. On the other hand, isn’t peace and quiet sort of…underrated, sometimes?
“If it brings more tourists I’m going to throw up,” said Daemon O’Neil, who lives in a rental property managed by TF Cornerstone. But when he weighed the costs and benefits of a light display, he conceded, “Why not?”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2011