Celebrate the Return of Bishop’s Crooks Lights with the BHA on June 30

This dispatch in from the Brooklyn Heights Association:

We’re delighted to report that the historic Bishop’s Crook street lights are returning to the Brooklyn Heights Historic District- or at least to its southern portion.

Thanks to a federal grant awarded in 2010 under the auspices of Congresswoman Velazquez, and a 2009 City Council funds allocation sponsored by our then-Council Member David Yassky, we have enough monies to install approximately 60 historic lights.

As you may know – at least from photographs – Bishop’s Crooks were the basic lighting fixture in Brooklyn Heights from the first quarter of the 20th century up to their replacement with the modern steel and aluminum street lights (called “cobras”) in the early ‘60’s. The historic fixtures will hold modern high-efficiency LED bulbs and will cost the same to operate as the cobras they are replacing.
The Brooklyn Heights side of Atlantic Avenue is already lined with historic street lights, as is Montague Street.

The New York City DOT will replace the cobra poles with the cast-iron Bishop’s Crooks on streets south of Remsen Street and west of Clinton Street. Included in this first grid are Joralemon, Henry and Hicks Streets, between Atlantic Avenue and Remsen Street, and the Place streets in between. Already you’ll see evidence of the changeover as the Wellsbach Contracting Co. crews are selectively removing cobra poles to be replaced with the historic poles. It should be noted that, instead of doing all lights at once on any given block, they are gradually staggering the timing of the replacements to avoid leaving streets in the dark.

We hope one day to raise the money necessary to complete this project, and we are thrilled to be getting started with the installations this spring.

We invite you to join us on June 30 at 5:30 PM at an outdoor celebration of the light installations on Willow Place (mid-block). Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez will be on hand to speak and you’ll hear from others who were instrumental to this exciting project.

Refreshments will be served.

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  • Fred s

    The light is so harsh and white and bright. These things are a fiasco. Can’t we change the color temperature?

  • Solovely

    agreed. I do not feel very celebratory at the moment. I can’t look at them, the light is so harsh! let’s wait until they fix this horrible situation. no celebration yet.

  • Brandon

    The lamp poles look great in the daytime when they’re not lit up. At night, the bright white glare is disconcerting. LED lamps come in warm tones too. Why didn’t they consider that?

  • Heights observer

    And those of us above Montague Street will get them when?

    Oh, yes “We HOPE one day to raise the money necessary to complete this project…”

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Heights Observer, you and I had the same train of thought. John, could Michael report on how our esteemed Brooklyn Heights Association arrived at the decision to place all these historic lamps in the southern part of Brooklyn Heights. Knowing the BHA, I’m sure they have a logical explanation though I must admit I am extremely disappointed. I thought Middagh and Cranberry were perfect candidates for these lamps considering that this part of Brooklyn Heights is the most historic due its proximity to Fulton Ferry Historic District. Would love to know what went into this decision and who made it.

  • David on Middagh

    HO, what do you think of the quality of their light? (Same question to Karl.)

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Personally, I like the luminaire teardrop version of the Bishop’s Crook. Haven’t really taken the time to study it comparatively but I sure love the way they look. Perfect compliment to the 1820 wood frame houses on Middagh and Cranberry though they were developed around the 1920’s. Have you ever seen the one’s with the pinkish hue? Fantastic but not practical for NYC.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    David, I walked south to Joralemon, Willow, Garden Place and saw the new Bishop Crooks fixtures firsthand (during daytime) and asked residents what they thought of the brightness and all had complaints. They unanimously said they are too bright. One individual who lives across the street from a light said it felt like they were filming a movie across the street at night. I would think there is a way to diffuse or filter the light to reduce brightness but don’t know for a fact. During the daytime, though, they are very handsome indeed.

  • Bornhere

    Although I really haven’t noticed the harshness of the bishop’s crook lights, I must say that, harshness aside, having better lighting on Joralemon is not a bad thing — between Clinton and Hicks, there are pockets of darkness that are a bit spooky after nightfall; and Henry, from Remsen to Atlantic, is quite dark.
    And Karl is correct — the tourist/visitor element is beyond abundant in the southern reaches: Joralemon Street is like a busy anthill, and I am betting that improved and more attractive lighting is, in part, a nod to the increased traffic.

  • stuart

    street lights have an important utilitarian job to do. They are supposed to illuminate the street and sidewalk. They are not there for romantic accent lighting. The current lights are state of the art and give off far better illumination with far less energy use than the old fixtures. Get used to them because it is the new standard established by the state and local DOT. Stop complaining to the BHA, they have nothing to do with the level of light that transportation engineers have established for our streets.

  • stuart

    reminds me of the Downton Abbey scene when the dowager countess encounters the new electric chandelier her son installed and finds it so ghastly she has to shield her face with her fan as she walks by.

  • David on Middagh

    Karl, I checked out Grace Court once the lamps were lit. The light falling on the sides of the residences does indeed remind one of a movie shoot. The light seems to be radiating where it isn’t needed.

  • Zorg_Montague

    You can’t even see the new fixtures above the lights at night, the LED bulbs are so bright.

  • Guest

    Stuart is right. The DOT follows govt standards for street lighting. We will get used to them. Were they dimmer, people would complain of increased crime. I think streets will be safer. Lights are great.