BROOKLYN – As part of City Hall in Your Borough, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the City will pursue a new archway in the Chinatown neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Spanning Eighth Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets, the archway is a gift from Beijing’s Chaoyang District. Installation will be managed by the Department of Transportation.
“Over the last few decades, 8th Avenue in Sunset Park has grown into one of the greatest hubs of our City’s growing and vibrant Chinese-American community — and it will soon be graced with a grand and distinctive arch to welcome locals and visitors alike,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I want to thank our friends from Beijing’s Chaoyang District for the generous gift of the Friendship Archway. We look forward to this archway giving Sunset Park the recognition it deserves — serving as an everlasting bridge between New York City and Beijing, two of the world’s great cities.”
“New York needs to think big — and the Friendship Archway will be a big, bold and colorful entrance to the vibrant Sunset Park community,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “DOT looks forward to ensuring this new and distinctive structure is safely constructed – and serves for years ahead as a signal to New Yorkers and a growing number of tourists that Sunset Park is a destination we all should visit.”
“Bringing New York City’s first-ever Friendship Archway to Brooklyn has been a labor of love, and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and his administration for working with me on this important cultural exchange. Our sister city, the Chaoyang District of Beijing, has generously and graciously gifted us with a nine-roof archway that reflects the robust dynamism of our growing Chinese community. I have no doubt that it will be an enduring source of pride as well as an attraction that brings people from around the world to enjoy all that Sunset Park has to offer.” said Brooklyn Borough President Adams.
New York City’s Public Design Commission approved the archway’s design at its July 2017 meeting. The archway, not uncommon in other North American cities, would be the first of its kind in New York City. In conjunction with the archway’s expected arrival, the Department of Transportation will conduct a pedestrian and vehicular traffic safety study for Eighth Avenue between 39th and 65th Streets.
Eighth Avenue serves as the heart of Sunset Park’s Chinatown, the first in Brooklyn, which spans from approximately 42nd Street to 68th Street. Brooklyn’s Chinese-American population continues to flourish, with 8th Avenue complemented in recent years by commercial corridors along Avenue U as well as in Bensonhurst. Together, these Brooklyn communities account for the second-largest Chinese-American population in New York City, only behind the communities in and around Flushing, Queens.
In a 2015 letter to the Borough President, Community Board 7 announced its unanimous support of the archway, saying it “would make a beautiful addition to our community and could potentially promote local tourism.” Borough President Adams committed $2 million in capital funds toward the work NYC DOT will oversee to build a foundation and place the archway midway over Eighth Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets. Installation of the archway itself will be managed by DOT, and the work is expected to require relocation of some light and utility poles.
The archway in Sunset Park will stand 40’-7’’ high, 12’-4” wide, and span 40’-9” across Eighth Avenue. Designed in the “Bu Chu Tou” style, the nine-roof, two-pillar archway will have blue indigo glazed tiles with sculptures of mythical creatures, similar to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The arch will have a blue and green accented Xuan Zi style painting pattern with a golden dragon and revolving floral motif. Across the middle beam of the arch will be a Chinese inscription reading “One Family over Four Seas” as well as and English inscription reading “Brooklyn – Beijing Chaoyang.” The marble base will also have mythical creatures and the design team is currently refining the overall lighting proposal. Solar shingles are expected to power the lights sustainably – and the use of local materials and labor will be strongly encouraged.
In Chinese culture, archways traditionally mark entry to major urban streets. They are also often placed at significant sites like temples, parks, tombs and government offices. Beijing itself has over 100 archways within the city of 21.7 million people. Beijing’s Chaoyang District is the city’s largest, with a population of over 3.5 million people.
“A symbol of unity, connection and friendship, this generous gift from Beijing’s Chaoyang District cements the rich bond between Sunset Park and the Chinese-American community. I would like to thank the Mayor and NYC Department of Transportation for making this gift a reality that will soon be celebrated by locals and visitors alike,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY)
NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “This new Friendship Archway symbolizes a spirit that has animated New York for generations – a spirit of welcoming community that connects New Yorkers to the world. Thanks to Beijing’s Chaoyang District for this open-hearted gift that speaks to our shared values, graciously closing a distance of 7,000 miles. As a welcome to Sunset Park, may this Friendship Archway uphold bonds that unite us all.”
“I am delighted that the Friendship Archway will become part of our Sunset Park landscape. Many thanks to Beijing for this wonderful gift. Sunset Park is one of New York’s premier neighborhoods and home to a wonderful and growing Chinese American community. The new arch will become a landmark, drawing many more people to visit, work and live.” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.
“The 8th Avenue Chinatown in Brooklyn is a thriving commercial strip as well as a vibrant community that continues to grow. It has been my honor to represent the Chinese-American community in Sunset Park in the NYS Assembly and support this project. Thanks to the hard work of many and a very generous donation from Beijing’s Chaoyang District, New Yorkers and tourists will know what residents in South Brooklyn already know—that Brooklyn’s Chinatown is a world class attraction and home to great retail stores, restaurants and businesses,” said Assembly Member Peter Abbate.
“Today is a great day for the Chinese community, and indeed all of Sunset Park. We welcome a beautiful new arch to 8th avenue, the heart of our Chinese community. Sunset Park is a diverse and vibrant part of New York City, and this arch will help demonstrate its deep connections to so many different communities across the world. I want to thank the Beijing Chaoyang District for this generous gift. Know that it serves as a warm welcome to you and all others who would like to visit Sunset Park,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“The Friendship Archway will be a truly magnificent entry point to Brooklyn’s Sunset Park that will serve as a neighborhood landmark for generations to come. Congratulations to Brooklyn on continuing to expand on New York City’s great spirit of innovative architecture.” Said Council Member Peter Koo.
“The Friendship Archway will stand as a vivid symbol of the connection between the people of New York City and the Chaoyang district of Beijing,” said International Affairs Commissioner Penny Abeywardena. “A beautiful gesture from one global community to another, the archway will remind all who pass through it that our human diversity is a source of unity and strength.”
“Brooklyn Chinese-American Association has been serving the Brooklyn Chinese community for 3 decades, witnessing enormous growth in Chinese population in this Brooklyn Chinatown area. The Chinese population growth here is the highest among all five boroughs in New York City. The Brooklyn Friendship Archway is extraordinarily meaningful to all people in our community, and it will also stimulate the development of local economic growth, tourism, cultural and entertainment industries.” said Paul P. Mak, President / CEO Brooklyn Chinese American Association.