Bushwick's Broadway Lacks Razzle Dazzle — and Lights, Locals Complain

By Meredith Hoffman on January 25, 2012 10:17pm | Updated on January 25, 2012 11:48pm

Broadway near the J train tracks in Bushwick. Local complain that a lack of lighting on the stretch makes for unseemly conditions.
Broadway near the J train tracks in Bushwick. Local complain that a lack of lighting on the stretch makes for unseemly conditions.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

BUSHWICK — Lillian Vega's Broadway is not just lacking in razzle dazzle — it barely has any lights at all.

"This is like the downside of Broadway, it's dead," she said on the Bushwick thoroughfare Wednesday afternoon, as the J train rumbled overhead. "Times Square has got a lot of lights, but here it's dim."

To Vega, the darkness means an abundance of scurrying rats at night, while others believe it attracts more criminals or the risk of falling into potholes.

Regardless, they all tend to agree — Brooklyn's Broadway deserves increased illumination.

Brooklyn Community Board 4 district manager Nadine Whitted said the board has campaigned for more lights for years, to no avail.

"We need them all the way from Flushing to Eastern Parkway Extension," said Whitted of the 2-and-a-half mile stretch, much of which is covered by subway tracks.

But the Department of Transportation surveyed the area and determined there was no need for more lights, according to a DOT spokesperson, who confirmed the board spoke with the agency about the matter in October.

"The agency studied the area and found that the level of lighting meets the recommended level," the spokesperson said. "DOT will re-survey the area to check that all lights are working properly."

To Doreen Davis, a resident of the neighborhood the past 34 years, the problem needs to be addressed.

She said she has had trouble seeing when crossing Broadway at Myrtle Avenue, a junction for subways with a large, above-ground station that blocks out even natural light.

"I almost killed myself in a [pot]hole crossing the street," she recalled about an incident at the spot one year ago. "I didn't see the hole because it was so dark."

Another longtime local, Luis Ramos, agreed that the Myrtle Avenue intersection was the worst, and said the lack of lighting encourages illegal activities.

"That's one of the worst places, where you can actually see the drug dealing on the corner," he said.

For Adelina Orta, 53, who shopped at a market at the intersection Wednesday afternoon, the real issue is a few blocks down Broadway between Kosciuszko and Vernon streets, where she said her son was robbed several months ago.

"They hide where there's not much light," said Orta in Spanish about the alleged robbers. "I don't go out at night anymore."

By 5 pm, she said, she stays in her house.

As for Vega, she still goes out during the evening — but said she avoids a patch of Broadway's sidewalk where the rats lurk once the sun sets

"You have to cross the street to go to the store," she said. "Regardless of how much they clean it, the rats always come back. Anybody who walks by here at night will run into one."

And on Willoughby Street, the road intersecting with her Broadway apartment, she claimed not to see a flicker come nighttime.

"Maybe somebody can help one day," she said, "to put up some lights." 

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