City Keeps Chinatown Park in the Dark over Light Outages [OP-ED]

Posted on: February 28th, 2020 at 5:04 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Is the Department of Transportation stuck in neutral?

Back in early 2017, the lights dotting Columbus Park in Chinatown began to fade, eventually shrouding the whole park in darkness. Being an early riser and accustomed to walking my Furbabies at 5:00am daily, I was forced to carry a flashlight in order to see. My inquiries to the Parks Department were passed to DOT, the agency, strangely enough, that is responsible for maintenance of lighting within parks.

The issue was finally resolved almost a year later due to media pressure. The city acted to replace burned-out lamps days after Bowery Boogie, and later, NBC News, ran stories.

Photo: Karlin Chan

However, within a few short months, in April 2019, the lamps started flickering out again. And stayed that way. So, we are back to square one.

Once again, repeated inquiries were met with the same noncommittal responses from DOT.

Currently within Columbus Park’s northern section, there are 15 of 18 lamps out; within Foley Square Park, there are 7 of 11 lights out; and Thomas Paine Park has no working lights, including the fountain area favored for demonstrations.

Many may find park lighting a trivial issue, but it’s time to raise the alarm in light of the gruesome murder of four homeless men on the Bowery last October, as well as the murder of Tessa Majors in Morningside Park. We cannot afford to have publicly accessible spaces shrouded in darkness.

All said, the city not only keeps us in the dark on community issues now it’s doing it literally.

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