Volume 74, Number 20 | September 22 - 28 , 2004

Let there be lights, but in October

By David H. Ellis

And then they were gone.

After raising the hopes of nearby residents and admirers of the Washington Sq. Arch by illuminating the icon several times earlier this summer, the city’s Parks Department says that enthusiasts of the new look should not expect to see it again until October.

According to the agency, new lights installed at the foot of the arch are being fine-tuned in the hopes of matching the light design on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The lights were activated only four times previously for testing purposes and are not expected to glow again until next month. The arch lamps, which are expected to operate the same hours as the lampposts in park, are part of a $3 million project to restore the arch to its original condition announced in May 2003. According to the Parks Department, the arch, which was designed in 1889 by famed architect Stanford White to commemorate the centennial anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration, was at one point wrapped in light bulbs in the 1900s to illuminate the monument.

As the arch has remained dark through the summer and early fall evenings, John Morrison, a 10th St. resident who glimpsed the improved lighting several months ago said the new look was stunning.

“I walk by the arch all the time,” said Morrison. “But when it was lit by the new lights, they were spectacular.”

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