This article was originally published in in the 2016
Election Corner back in May 2016. Considering that this issue continues
to have significant impact on our neighbors, it is being republished as
part of the main SPBuzz.org site, as not to be relegated to the dusty
corners of Seward Park history.
Courtyard of Lights
The Courtyard between Buildings #1-2 is certainly well illuminated at
night, with over fifty lamps lined up, many of them less than twenty feet
apart. The lamps were installed with the aim of safety, but are deemed
to be problematic to neighbors whose windows face the courtyard, for whom
nighttime darkness is largely offset by the floodlights.
Panoramic view of Building #1-2 Courtyard at night.
Mapping of lamps in Building #1-2 Courtyard.
Nighttime view from low floor facing Building #1-2 Courtyard, with curtains
closed, and nighttime illumination within that apartment from courtyard
It is important to note that management has strived to address this —
our General Manager, Frank Durant, responded to an SPBuzz inquiry, saying
We just converted the backyard bulbs from 240 watt incandescent
bulbs to 60 watt LEDs for 99 fixtures. This is a tremendous savings
without having to have blind spots of no light.
With this change we are saving far more than we would
with doing the major electrical overhaul it would take to do what was
suggested. The payback for the work we did is less than a year and Con
Edison and Lockheed Martin helped pay for it.
Too many people use those areas throughout the night
and I believe it is necessary to keep them on for safety purposes.
SPBuzz has reached out to a Shareholder who live alongside the courtyard
to find out if they notice any significant improvement. Rather than declare
whether or not there has been an incremental improvement, that Shareholder
There is a defined phenomenon known as Lighting Pollution. It is defined
as excessive, misdirected, to obtrusive artificial (usually outdoor)
light. That pretty much sums up the courtyard between buildings 1 and
2. It is 10:54 PM and there are
still people in the playground...probably waiting for dark(!) so that
they can put their kids to bed.
Aside from the quality-of-life issues of Shareholders in low apartments
facing the courtyard, other issues surface, namely:
- If this amount of lighting is called for in the name of safety, why
doesn't the Building #3-4 Courtyard merit similar safety measures?
- Why keep lamps on all night around the playground and where the fountain
used to be?
Some possible strategies to reduce lighting would be:
- Survey and solicit input from residents of first through fifth floors
apartments that face the Courtyard.
- User (even) lower wattage lamps in positions closest to buildings.
- On lamp posts that have two lamps attached, use only one of the lamps.
- Post a notice that the playground is only open from dawn to dusk...
and turn off the lighting accordingly. (If deemed to be appropriate,
motion detectors can be installed to illuminate the playground (and
to notifiy security) in the event the playground is used at night.)
- Post a notice that the path adjacent to the playground is only to
be used from dawn to dusk... And turn off the lighting along that path
- In order to save energy, motion detectors can automatically illuminate
lamps when needed.
- Now that we've privatized access to our garage and parking lot, we
no longer have Shareholders going through the parking lot... Perhaps
parking lot lighting could be reduced accordingly?
- Over time, replace lamp posts with ones that are more spaced-out,
lower, and not as bright.