06 December 2006

Grand Christmas!

Christmas in Brooklyn just got a whole lot better this year, thanks to the splendiferous new holiday display in Grand Army Plaza. I'm a connoisseur of such things, and upon first sight I easily equated it with such NYC holiday classic displays as the Rockefeller Center tree, the giant crystal snowflake at the intersection of Fifth and 57th and the New York Stock Exchange tree.

The display is complex and covers a lot of ground. A cone-shaped faux tree sits directly under the arch. The tree gradually changes color every minute or so, from blue to pink to red, etc. Designer Jim Conti, who teaches at Pratt, used LEDs to light up the tree and other aspects of the design, employing 600,000 lights in all. The colors are synchronized with wireless animated controllers. The top of the Memorial Arch itself is wreathed in white lights, and, perhaps most beautiful, the often ignored Bailey Fountain, which sits behind the arch, has been filled with white and blue whites that create the appearance of rolling waves. It's really quite stunning. (That picture at the right doesn't do it justice. It's just the best I could find.)

Conti has also festooned Prospect Park's various entrances with lights. The Daily News sponsored the display, which may be the most savvy bit of self-promotion that hapless rag has executed in years.

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