Press Release

March 10, 2016
Contact:, (212) 306-3322

NYCHA Completes Installation of New Lighting at Polo Grounds Towers

Additional lighting part of Mayor’s Action Plan— $115 million comprehensive effort to help deter crime and improve security at 15 NYCHA sites

NEW YORK—Today, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced the completion of a $4.8 million lighting installation project at Polo Grounds Towers in Harlem. Beginning August 2015, NYCHA replaced the development’s outdated exterior lighting system— installed when the buildings were originally built in the late 1960s— with state-of-the-art, energy efficient lighting located at entrances, walkways and parking areas.

“Increasing safety is at the core of improving the lives of NYCHA residents. That’s why we are implementing a comprehensive security plan – more lighting, additional security cameras, and improved coordination between NYCHA and the Police Department – to do this,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “After decades of disinvestment in our public housing, we are leveraging every tool possible to strengthen and preserve NYCHA for today and future generations.”

“Lighting is an important aspect of community safety,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “Following an $18M investment in security cameras and modern layered-access doors, we are proud to further our comprehensive security vision through the installation of permanent lighting. Improving safety and security in public housing is a key strategy in NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s 10 year strategic plan, and these new lights will support a safer environment for both NYCHA residents and the larger community.”

The installation of 341 new lighting fixtures at the Polo Grounds Towers is part of the Mayor’s Action Plan (MAP) for Neighborhood Safety, an initiative to reduce crime and increase neighborhood safety at 15 NYCHA development sites with some of the highest crime rates in the City. As a partnership between NYCHA, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the NYPD and other city agencies, MAP was launched in July 2014 to bring together neighborhood residents and government agencies to implement a 21st century approach to crime reduction that goes beyond ‘boots on the ground’ and addresses concentrated disadvantage; improves public space through infrastructure upgrades and programming; and leverages citywide networks to reduce disorder.

In its first year, the MAP strategy brought physical improvements, expanded opportunities for work and play, and joint problem-solving between police and residents. The results thus far have been promising. Between Fiscal 2014 and Fiscal 2015, New York City saw a 6.9-percent decrease in violent crime, while violent crime in the 15 MAP developments dropped by 11.2 percent. This additional permanent lighting will assist in driving crime down further, and making Polo Grounds and the surrounding neighborhood safer.

“Good lighting deters crime and promotes public safety,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. “The installation of new exterior lighting at Polo Grounds Towers, which is part of my Office’s $101 million commitment to improve NYCHA security, will enhance residential safety and quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers.”

“When we think about deterring crime, we need to pursue a broad range of strategies beyond traditional law enforcement. A well-lit street deters crime better than a dark alley, just as opportunities for work and play promote safety better than disadvantage and disconnection,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “These are the ideas at the heart of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Installing these lights today is an important next step in this Action Plan and our work to promote public safety in partnership with the residents of Polo Grounds.”

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe neighborhood to call home. Often, residents themselves know best how to turn New York City’s shared vision for safe, strong neighborhoods into a reality,” said Amy Sananman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. “Lighting and other capital investments are essential to our efforts to reduce crime in the Polo Grounds neighborhood, as is working with residents, the police, city agencies and community stakeholders to continue to promote safety in these few neighborhoods where violence persists.”

“Our city has made a commitment to provide NYCHA’s 400,000 tenants with clean, safe, affordable housing, and maintaining safe public spaces in NYCHA developments is part of that commitment,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Installing new lighting, like removing unnecessary scaffolding, is a simple step that can go a long way in improving safety for NYCHA residents.”

“Safety and security in our city's public housing is of the utmost priority,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety implements key improvements to reduce crime and make NYCHA developments safer places to call home, including much-needed enhanced lighting. The City Council is proud to support New Yorkers in public housing through its investment in the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. The City Council also committed over $28.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for essential security upgrades and community programming. These investments will not only bring down crime at NYCHA developments, but also connect residents with tools, resources, and opportunities for growth and success.”

“This means that tenants, staff, and police will have an easier time when walking throughout the development—and can spot bad behavior,” said Polo Grounds Towers Resident Association 1st Vice President Georgia Bishop. “These are the kinds of changes we want to and need to see for our community’s safety.”

“Arcadia Electrical Company has been in business for over 25 years, and although we have completed many projects both private and public, we are honored to partner with Mayor de Blasio to celebrate the most important and rewarding aspects of being a contractor, and that is making our city a better, safer and more sustainable place to live,” said Stephen Gianotti, President of Arcadia Electrical Company. “In partnership with Local Union 3 IBEW and the Mayor’s office, we were able to hire members of the community to be part of our team – and together we made the Polo Grounds a safer, more enjoyable place to call home. It was truly a pleasure to be part of this project, and I look forward to continuing our work together, throughout New York City.”

New lighting construction has started at 8 other locations— Butler Houses (Bronx), St. Nicholas Houses (Manhattan), Boulevard Houses (Brooklyn), Bushwick Houses (Brooklyn), Ingersoll Houses (Brooklyn), Van Dyke 1 (Brooklyn), Castle Hill Houses (Bronx) and Stapleton Houses (Staten Island). NYCHA expects installation of new lighting to be substantially completed at 13 of the 15 MAP sites by the end of 2017. Temporary light towers will remain in place at developments until all projects are completed.

The next phase will be the installation of CCTV and LAC at these MAP sites. Construction is already underway at two sites— Brownsville Houses and Tompkins Houses in Brooklyn— with the bulk of the remaining site installations rolling out over the summer and fall of 2016. Most of the sites are estimated to be substantially completed by the end of 2018.

NYCHA recently announced the installation of new CCTV security cameras and layered-access control (LAC) as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce crime. Funding was provided from the Mayor’s Office, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and the City Council.

We also launched the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), collaboration between NYCHA, NYPD, residents & citywide stakeholders to develop the NextGen Public Safety Blueprint, an integrated plan to create safer, cleaner and more connected public housing communities.