Jolanta Benal expressed her distaste for the new illumination this way:
“It feels like I’m in a strip mall in outer space. I don’t want to come off as melodramatic, but it really is horrible,” she said.
|Street lights in the snow, the old-fashioned way|
“Each day that goes by, there are more of them,” she added. “There is nowhere to run and hide.”Other residents describe the experience of being in the glow of the new lights as like being in a construction site or a set for a movie in which the film crew is shooting at night. Some even say they feel like the lights would work well in a prison yard, or as good lighting for alien abductions.
The new lights are environmentally friendly LEDs, which can save the city lots of energy, but are known to be optically harsh.
“The old lights made everybody look bad,” said architect Christopher Stoddard, who lives at the corner of Fuller Place. “But these are so cold and blue, it’s like ‘Night of the Living Dead’ out there.”“We’re all for saving energy,” added his wife, Aida Stoddard, also an architect. “But the city can do so much better.”
The change over began in October 2013 and will eventually replace all 250,000 of the city’s lights with these LEDs. The city has a goal of reducing its overall carbon footprint by 30 percent by the year 2030. The cost of replacing the old lights with the new is estimated to be about $75 million. Savings will run about $6 million on energy costs, and $8 million on maintenance, annually. Since the bulbs last on average 20 years, about two to four times as long as sodium-vapor lamps.
“To the degree you can make the city’s operations more sustainable, it just pays so many dividends,” said Margaret Newman, the LED leader during the Bloomberg administration, .