The Grand Army Plaza Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch Lights Up the Night

Photo by Susan De Vries


While traffic hurled around Grand Army Plaza Monday night a small group cast their eyes on the memorial arch as its usual purple glow was augmented with a new brilliance.

The temporary new look was a lighting test, part of the $8.9 million dollar capital project to restore the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch and surrounding plaza. As part of the design phase, a team from architectural lighting design firm Renfro Design Group was on hand to test out two lighting schemes that each included numerous different fixtures with variations in intensity and cold and warm temperature settings.

grand army plaza

Richard Renfro, lighting designer and firm principal, was perched in a cherry picker adjusting lights as the design team and Prospect Park Alliance staff gathered to observe and document the results below. The schemes included lights to enhance the Frederick MacMonnies sculptures, added after the original 1892 dedication of the arch.

In addition to the lighting, the project will include the cleaning and restoration of the arch, the repair of the bluestone pavement surrounding the plaza and the Bailey Fountain, and the replanting of landscaped beds. The project is still in the design phase, with work expected to begin in the spring of 2021.

grand army plaza

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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