But first, some more thoughts about Thanksgiving, this so inclusive American tradition, about thankfulness, and faith groups which provide the community Thanksgiving dinner event, especially for those who might be alone. Thank you again, St. Monica’s, and for sending dinners to those unable to leave home. And thanks to volunteers from Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, for example, who share those holiday meals.
That ‘s what Thanksgiving is all about, Charlie Brown, and not really so much about whether the balloons will fly.
But most on the minds of East End Avenue residents was the LED streetlight appearance at the northern end of this quiet and peaceful place. If ever we needed a “First, do no harm” governmental and environmental creed, it’s converting sodium street lights to the LED light kind. Yes, they reduce the carbon footprint, and cost a little less to operate, but they do incalculable harm to the homes they invade. They turn night into day, especially for lower-floor homes. Street trees and other plant life also suffer – they need that cycle of relative darkness the sodiums provide. So do we all. So do we all.
Blackout Curtains Are Not the Answer
Reportedly, they do not reduce crime – indeed some research finds it may well increase it in low-crime areas So does noise as more people stay out later – like skateboarders.
And government tells those who lament their homes being flooded by this unnatural light, “Use blackout curtains!” Some recall how in WWII such curtains were used in western European cities to help hide their existence from enemy bombers. Now, it seems, the enemy is within. As for blackout curtains, besides being unsightly, they block air from open windows – more air conditioner use is needed, costly to both homeowners and the environment.
This residential light pollution, of course, mostly attacks lower floor residents. That’s a form of discrimination – which not only reduces the quality, the health of life, but the resale value of co-ops and condos.
But, above all, it’s the over-all devastating effect, not only on the quality, but, again on the health of homes directly in the line of fire.
Most unfortunately, protests from other LED streetlight-blighted areas didn’t persist. And media turned a blind eye after only a few distressed accounts in the city’s five boroughs. Consciousness just has not been raised about light pollution, and worldwide, these invasive LED street lamps wreak their nighttime havoc. Yes, even when the lights are properly adjusted, they still destroy the nighttime ambience. And only a few of the many worldwide protests now remain online.
Again, if ever consciousness needed to be raised, it’s about light pollution, especially when it invades our homes and becomes a significant health hazard, And so much more. Again, even when they’re adjusted, unlike the sodiums, they still blight the night - the natural night-time ambience - a very real but too unrecognized need,
Save Energy, Feel Better and Look Better
So many ways exist to save electrical energy safely, above all reduce the excess light wattage that has become de rigeur this last half-century. Super bright light lights in public places, including hospitals and emergency rooms where patients ask for dark glasses. Forget the phenomenal over-the-top entertainment venue lighting. Again, so many, “First, do no harm,” ways to save electric light energy which actually make us feel better, and look better – make everything look better.
But back to fighting the LED Streetlight blight, here’s to East End Avenue residents leading this “Not on our avenue or any avenue!“ protest. While they need to open the windows and holler “We’re damn mad and not going to take these lights that oppress us!,” but right now keep calling our elected officials and community boards listed in this paper’s Useful Contact column – repeatedly. Contact International Dark Sky group for help Pressure media – go on social media – big time. So much is at stake, above all for lower floor home health, but in general, to save the city’s night time peace and quiet. To save the night! It can be done if enough of us try.