Photo: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects

NS_project_HTO Park 2.jpg

Photo: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects


Photo: Joe Buglewicz


LOCATION: Queens, New York, U.S.

CLIENT: 82nd Street Partnership (Business Improvement District)

TEAM: NightSeeing™


           Participating in the NightSeeing™ tour of Jackson Heights opened my eyes to the simplicity and complexity of how lighting affects the community, how it can help create relationships with street cart vendors and bars, how shops can increase the visibility of their wares while providing a sense of safety, and how white paint reflects light to guide us via pedestrian crosswalks in busy intersections and signage. Now I know that paint, color and light –inexpensive materials – can create dramatic and dynamic effects to benefit us all."

     –– 82nd Street Partnership stakeholder

The 82nd Street Partnership (BID), located in a Queens New York City commercial core, required strategic lighting advice and three distinct creative designs. A lighting task-force was assembled and a NightSeeing™ program was initiated to educate the public and stakeholders before workshopping an approach for the district’s nighttime environment. 

Leni Schwendinger and her team worked closely with the Partnership and their constituency to envision a lighting strategy to connect and unify district-wide assets, establish a unique discernible identity and reinforce the Partnership’s effective stewardship on behalf of property owners, merchants, residents, workers, and visitors.

Site-specific lighting programs were developed during the community meetings and workshop to enhance the after-dark experience of residents, workers, and visitors through legibility, safety, and city enjoyment.

All night technical measurements and observations were undertaken throughout the study area. Through the NightSeeing™ analysis, darkened gaps and on–the- ground observations identified opportunities for light to unlock potentials and strengthen area assets
(subway transit nodes, building facades, public art, etc), with an eye on creating an enhanced district signature. 


Three model project designs were presented for funding. The “Living Lanterns” to activate public spaces with a Festival of Light, the “One Light at Night” is a storefront program, and the “Underpass Light” which illuminates the traffic corridor intersections, marks overground subway stops and enhances place identity. 


A set of core principles were established.

- Quality of Life

- Economic Development

- Enhance Community Building

- Placemaking

- Public Health & Safety

- Public-Private Partnership


Guidelines were assembled in book form for future consideration