New York City bridge lights to shine again

4 businesses donate funds to pay for cost on 4 spans

November 02, 2003|By NEWSDAY

NEW YORK - The world-famous "necklace lights" on the city's East River bridges will begin to burn again Wednesday thanks to contributions from four private businesses.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg spans will be relit for two years, which will be paid for with $160,000 from the donors.

Credited with keeping the hundreds of mercury vapor bulbs aglow are the River Cafe, Travelex, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP and the International Gemological Institute, officials announced.

"It's not chump change, it's real money," Bloomberg said Friday of the lighting costs and the city's fiscal crisis. "So we turned 'em off. ... These four firms are outstanding corporate citizens."

Bloomberg made the announcement during his weekly radio interview and call-in show.

Funding comes through a city-controlled nonprofit corporation called the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, which under the deal will reimburse the Department of Transportation for the operating costs.

The necklace lights use 100-watt mercury vapor bulbs.

There are 160 bulbs on the Brooklyn Bridge, 304 on the Manhattan Bridge, 224 on the Williamsburg Bridge and 218 on the Queensboro Bridge. The lights were installed in the early 1970s and can be seen from more than 25 miles away on clear nights.

Through Bloomberg's first two years as mayor, debate has grown about how to properly mix corporate enterprises, private foundations, advertising and government.

On Thursday, the mayor unveiled a project to improve four city parks with help from private fund-raisers. But months ago, the mayor drew criticism from fire unions for not using proposed corporate sponsorships to avert firehouse closings.

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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