Eternal Light Memorial Flagstaff Renovation

On Thursday, May 25th, Madison Square Park Conservancy and United War Veterans Council commemorated the restoration of the illuminated star atop the Eternal Light Flagstaff in Madison Square Park with a flag-raising ceremony, and also announced plans for a renovation of the surrounding Park landscape, made possible by a generous grant from New York Life Insurance Company.

With generous in-kind support from Zwicker Electric Co. and Con Edison, Madison Square Park Conservancy restored the Eternal Light this spring. The star was removed by crane, and the LEDs were replaced with new, longer-life fixtures by Sentry Electric Corp. of Freeport, NY. MSPC cleaned and repainted the star, had the flagpole re-wired and new electric service brought to the monument base, and finally the star was re-mounted and electrified.

MSPC is also proud to announce its partnership with UWVC and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation on plans to renovate the landscape around the monument. Giving the monument the street-facing prominence it deserves, this project will remove fencing crowding the monument’s base to create an open plaza which will serve as a new Park entrance at 24th Street. A second phase of the project will upgrade pavers and electrical infrastructure in the south end of the Park. Lichten Craig has designed the new entrance plaza, which is expected to be complete in time for the Veterans Day Parade commemorating the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018.

The estimated cost of the Eternal Light Flagstaff Landscape Renovation project is $2 million. MSPC has received a generous commitment of $400,000 from New York Life Insurance Company, and is working with UWVC to raise the remaining funds from private donors, the City of New York, and the New York City Council.

The Conservancy’s Executive Director Keats Myer said: “When the United War Veterans Council approached us two years ago with a request that we restore and upgrade the Eternal Light Flagstaff, we quickly understood how important this project was for the veteran community and for all Park visitors. Madison Square Park Conservancy is delighted and proud to undertake this renovation with the help of our many generous public and private supporters including New York Life, a valued partner for many years.”

Eternal Light Memorial Flagstaff RenovationNew York Life’s Sheila Davidson said: “Madison Square Park has been important to New York Life since we moved here in 1928 and we helped spearhead its renovation around the turn of this century. For the last 15 years, Madison Square Park Conservancy has done amazing work in stewarding the Park as a verdant oasis and a world-renowned cultural destination. We are delighted to honor our veterans and support the Conservancy by playing a part in the landscape renovation, which will highlight this unique monument for all Park users.”

“The United War Veterans Council is honored to work with the Madison Square Park Conservancy and other government and private sector partners to restore this very special place, where we gather every year to honor our veterans at the start of the New York City Veterans Day Parade, the largest commemoration of service in the nation.  This restored space will integrate better with the neighborhood, just as we strive to better connect the men and women who have served in uniform with their communities. This will be a further reminder of the debt of honor and support we owe them,” said United War Veterans Council President Dan McSweeney.

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez said “The Eternal Light Flagstaff located in Madison Square Park memorializes the sacrifices made by individuals in defending this country and our freedoms.  I am proud to support the work of the Madison Square Conservancy and the United War Veterans Council in the proposed revitalization that will prominently showcase this area of the park and emphasize our commitment to the young men and women who serve our country.  In addition, I am advocating for financial support from the City Council to make these renovations possible.”

“I applaud Madison Square Park Conservancy and the United War Veterans Council on this initiative, which will serve as an important reminder of the sacrifices made by our veterans,” said New York City Council Veterans Committee Chair Eric Ulrich.

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, said: “I’m excited that NYC Parks’ planned renovations around Madison Square Parks’ beloved Eternal Light Flagstaff will open the space up into a plaza, allowing this historic monument to be on grand display. Utilizing our Parks Without Borders design elements, we will transform this veterans gathering place at one of our city’s most notable crossroads.”

Photos of the Eternal Light Flagstaff by Rashmi Gill
Photos of the ceremony courtesy of Con Edison