The fixture’s in! Old-timey street lamps coming to historic Vanderbilt Ave. stretch

Lit: Lamp lover Gib Veconi shows off the new lights — already seen here in Grand Army Plaza — that could be installed on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

Vander-build it and they will come!

The city is outfitting a historic stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights with ornate light fixtures just like those that used to illuminate the street a century ago, and local leaders hope they will attract hordes of people looking to get a taste of old timey Kings County to the retail corridor.

“When people think about this part of Brooklyn, they think of the historic architecture and these lights will really help enhance that experience,” said Gib Veconi, who is the head of neighborhood group the Prospect Heights Development Council. “We’re trying to do things to make it a more exciting and attractive destination for people all over the city.”

Fifty of the cast-iron fixtures will replace the current drab, modern lights on the brownstone-lined strip between Atlantic Avenue and Plaza Street.

Veconi’s group has been pushing to get the traditional street lamps for five years, and Borough President Adams just produced the funds to make it happen by allotting $575,000 from taxpayer coffers for the fancy light fittings.

The grant will cover the entire cost of the lamps and their installation, and the Beep also hopes they will translate into more moolah for the thoroughfare’s traders.

“Vanderbilt Avenue is one of our borough’s most exciting commercial strips, and the new historic street lighting … will add true character and charm that translates into economic benefit,” said Adams.

That stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue is part of the Prospect Heights Historic District, so both the local community board and Landmarks Preservation Commission had to sign off on the addition.

For those who can’t wait to see what the lights will look like once they’re up, there are a handful of similar posts up already in Grand Army Plaza and Eastern Parkway, Veconi said.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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