Street lights! Traffic sounds could power Hamilton Avenue art installation

Street lights! Traffic sounds could power Hamilton Avenue art installation
Artists want to build a glowing installation under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to brighten up the dreary patch of street.
Courtesy Artist Build Collaborative

Red Hook artists want to turn a dreary space under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway into the Studio 54 of sidewalks.

A drab strip of street near Hamilton Avenue will become home to a pulsing, multi-colored light installation that uses noise from passing cars to illuminate arched rectangular panels, if the project’s designers get their way.

They hope the “Silent Lights” project will make the walking path more fun and pedestrian-friendly, said artist Michelle Brick.

“It makes the street feel safer and more visually interesting,” said Brick.

At night, LED lights inside the installation will react to the level of sound from cars, much like Marcus Learner’s acclaimed highway-side installation in Germany.

Brick said the group, Artists Build Collaborative, has earned grant money and preliminary approval from the Department of Transportation — and is working with city officials to make sure the project isn’t too distracting to drivers.

Designers hosted a Sept. 20 fund-raiser for the project, saying it will brighten up a drab street that feels more like a service road than an inviting thoroughfare for pedestrians.

“We looked at space and thought, we can improve this,” Brick said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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