“I’d like to see some of the current decorations re-imagined with the use of newer technology and enhanced lighting”(8)

(8th in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

Dana Grubb is a lifelong resident of the City of Bethlehem who worked 27 years for the City of Bethlehem in the department of community and economic development, as sealer of weights and measures, housing rehabilitation finance specialist, grants administrator, acting director of community and economic development, and deputy director of community development.

Gadfly:

I couldn’t attend because I had a concert to photograph last night, so I can only comment on the photos included in today’s news coverage. I agree with Peter that some of it looked gaudy. It seems overkill. I’m very tradition oriented, so I’d like to see some of the current decorations re-imagined with the use of newer technology and enhanced lighting. What I really liked was the use of red and green lighting on the Hill to Hill Bridge, and the truth be told, I wouldn’t mind seeing all 3 bridges lighted architecturally all year round, much like bridges elsewhere in the world. The 3D stars located at certain intersections looked interesting, yet the stars on the end of the Main Street ramp looked overwhelming. I think the use of projection lighting on buildings, such as at Comenius Hall at Moravian College, has some potential as well. Peter’s question about using city money (if it is public money) and staffing time is very valid in my opinion.

Dana

The Christmas lights: “they don’t seem very imaginative or creative” (7)

(7th in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

Gadfly:

I only saw the images via an article on LehighValleyLive, and while I think some of the proposed designs are somewhat attractive, they don’t seem very imaginative or creative—and I’d describe some of them as almost gaudy.

They might have gotten much better results at a much lower cost by soliciting local ideas—including from students. At the end, I have to ask whether this is an appropriate use of city money & time.

Peter

The proposed Christmas lights: “All in all . . . a very nice design” (6)

(6th in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

Judy Parr is a lifelong resident of Bethlehem.

Gadfly:

I agree with Barbara — it was very festive and cheery. I particularly liked the proposed placement of oversized Bethlehem stars at Five Points and elsewhere. I was relieved to see that the iconic 4 advent candles were still featured, and I appreciated the designer’s attention to the original Christmas designs from the 20s and 30s.

Across the Fahy bridge, the design shows colored lights leading north and then switching to white lights as the lights cross the bridge. This is unfortunate and, as I said in my notes on the design, does not provide the unity that they planned for.

All in all though, a very nice design, sensitive to Bethlehem and the commercial value of the season to the city.

Judy

“We are very much trying to provoke conversation” about the Christmas lights (5)

(5th in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

See this lehighlive.com article for a series of pictures of the proposed lighting scheme!

Christmas lights

  • None of the changes are set in stone, and nothing is changing for this coming season. The earliest the new decor may appear would be in Christmas 2020, with a five-year phase-in, said Allyson Lehr, city housing and community development planner. “Major, major fundraising” with community partners will be needed to make the proposals into reality, Lehr said. “This is about feedback,” said Alicia Miller Karner, city director of community and economic development. “We are very much trying to provoke conversation.”
  • The city in January hired New York City-based David Weiner Design for $35,000 to brainstorm ways to freshen up the Christmas City’s holiday look. Weiner said he drew inspiration from the city’s holiday icons, like the Bethlehem star and Moravian candles. Moravians named their settlement that would become Bethlehem after Jesus’ birthplace, on Christmas Eve 1741. And during the Great Depression, city business leaders tried to cash in on that holiday heritage and began marketing Bethlehem as the Christmas City in 1937. “The idea was to create something both unifying from an iconography perspective but could be modulated in a way that could be unique to each neighborhood,” Weiner said Thursday.
  • Lots of questions remain, like whether to go with a singular unifying look using all Bethlehem stars or mix in Moravian stars on the city’s north side; Bethlehem stars have a longer tail, while Moravian stars are more symmetrical. Another unresolved point is whether to go with all white lights, or continue South Side’s tradition of colored lights. The city will be soliciting additional feedback on its website and through its social media channels.
  • One idea shared Thursday is to use projectors to turn building facades, such as Moravian College’s Comenius Hall, into light shows for people to view at scheduled times.
  • John Halleman, Sandra’s husband, said he thought the designs were well presented to residents. “It was nice we had a little bit of voice into it, as citizens,” he said.

The proposed Christmas light scheme: “The design was very festive” (4)

(4th in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

Barbara Diamond enjoys retirement as Lehigh University Director of Foundation Relations by engaging in various activities and organizations hopefully for the betterment of the community. Her particular interests at the moment are preventing gun violence, local government ethics reform, and Bethlehem Democratic Committee work.

Dear Gadfly,
I walked over this afternoon to view the photo facsimiles of what the decorations would look like. The plan proposes unified decorations on the major gateways to the city (Rt. 378, New St Bridge, 5 Points, 4th Street) , Main Street, and a focus on Payrow Plaza. The proposed decorations have a consistent theme of garlands with multicolored lights and a central white star. There are different iterations of this along with trees wrapped in lights and the rotunda and library wrapped in lights and snowflakes projected on the plaza pavement and walls of the plaza buildings “painted” in projected light, along with the tree & creche.The design was very festive, and I can imagine that it would enhance downtown Bethlehem for the Christmas season as a destination benefiting our downtown merchants. Not sure what the cost is of all of this, so that is a different discussion. Interestingly, the design included some giant candles where the menorah usually is situated. I asked the designer, David Wiener, where they planned to put the menorah, and he said that no one had mentioned a menorah to him so he planned to follow-up with that.

Barbara

Thanks, Barbara. Hey, Judy, did you get to go? Your email is not working for me.

Return to the original intent for the Christmas lights, with white-only on the Moravian buildings, festive colored lights everywhere else (3)

(3rd in a series of posts on Christmas lights)

Gadfly:

Agree with Steve. The all white scheme on the north with colored lights on the SS may have been well intended, several people have interpreted it as having a racial overtone. (north side=white only; SouthSide=colored). This alone is enough reason to return to the original intent, with white-only on the Moravian buildings, festive colored lights everywhere else.

And someone needs to rethink the desirability of spending hundreds of hours of time & many $$ attaching trees to all those light poles — especially plastic trees!

Peter Crownfield

(Can anybody go to that open-house Thursday 5-7 at Town Hall and report to us?)