BLISS PLAZA — The Sunnyside Arch will get a makeover in the coming months, including the installation of digital LED lights that can change colors to mark certain seasons or holidays, officials announced Tuesday.
The art-deco arch — which looms over 46th Street at the intersection of Queens Boulevard — will also get a thorough cleaning as part of a planned $17,000 overhaul. Officials said the current lighting system on the structure is often on the fritz and difficult to repair.
"The lights have proven a little hard to maintain. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t," said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose office is allocating $15,000 of the renovation funds. "It's a terrific landmark that needs a little love."
The project will replace the arch's outdated lights, including the neon backlighting behind the letters spelling out "Sunnyside," with new LED bulbs that the Sunnyside Shines BID will program to change colors. The arch could be lit up green for St. Patrick's Day, for example, similar to how the Empire State Building frequently changes colors to mark events or causes.
The repairs will also weatherize all of the arch's electrical equipment to protect it against future outages, according to BID director Jamie-Faye Bean.
The arch was erected in 1983 over 46th Street near Queens Boulevard. (DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly)
"[It's] a reflection of pride in the community, a reflection of support for the local businesses," she said.
The arch was erected in 1983 by a local business group, and was last renovated in 2009 as part of a $500,000 project that also added new benches, bike racks and trees around it.
John Vogt, chairman of the board at Sunnyside Shines, said the arch is designed to symbolize "the gateway to Queens."
"Everybody in Sunnyside knows the arch," he said. "We like it because it’s a central point where people meet: 'I’ll meet you at the arch.'"