Eternal Light Flagstaff
In 2018, Madison Square Park Conservancy completed a landscape renovation surrounding the Eternal Light flagstaff, in partnership with the United Veterans War Council and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Learn more about the project via the New York Times or in our official announcement.
Giving the monument the street-facing prominence it deserves, the renovation project removed fencing crowding the monument’s base to create a new Park entrance plaza at 24th Street. Designed by Lichten Craig, the new entrance was highlighted at the Veterans Day Parade commemorating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018.
The landscape renovation included demolishing the pavers and fencing around the monument base, constructing the new plaza, installing new gardens, fencing, and benches around the plaza, and replacing and upgrading pavers and electrical infrastructure around the southern end of Madison Square Park to support the annual Veterans Day Parade production.
The renovation achieved a number of important objectives: first and foremost, to give this historic monument—so important to the veterans community—the prominent setting it deserves; second, to showcase design principles championed by Commissioner Mitchell Silver’s Parks Without Borders initiative which opens up park edges and creates inviting entrances; and third, to complete the Department of Transportation’s effort, stemming from Mayor de Blasio’s VisionZero program, to enhance pedestrian circulation and safety around the public plazas at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue by directly aligning the new Park entrance with the 24th Street crossing.
Designed by Thomas Hastings (1860-1929)—of Carrère and Hastings, architects of many notable buildings including the New York Public Library—the monument features a 30-foot-tall flagstaff supported by a massive stepped pedestal of Milford pink granite, inscribed with the names of significant battle sites and tributes to those who served their country in the First World War. The decorative bronze flagstaff base sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett (1865-1925) features rams’ heads and garlands, it supports a five-pointed, star-shaped luminaire, continuously lit as an eternal tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom.
The Eternal Light Flagstaff was dedicated on Armistice Day 1924, and is the location of the wreath-laying ceremony which commences New York’s annual Veterans Day Parade—the largest in the country.
The Eternal Light Flagstaff plaza reconstruction is made possible by New York Life, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, and the New York City Council (Hon. Corey Johnson, Speaker; Hon. Dan Garodnick, Former City Councilman; Hon. Rosie Mendez, Former City Councilwoman).
Special thanks to the Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA, Geert De Proost, General Delegate, for their support of the groundbreaking ceremony.
The Conservancy would like to thank Con Edison, Zwicker Electric Co. and the New York Building Foundation for their support of the 2017 restoration of the illuminated star atop the Flagstaff.
For more information on this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Rashmi Gill