Rendering of the Friendship Archway at the entrance to Sunset Park’s Chinatown. Image via the courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office.
Sunset Park’s Chinatown is being gifted a new public archway from Beijing’s Chaoyang district, which is known for its numerous archways. The gesture is a sign of friendship extended toward the Brooklyn neighborhood as well as New York City.
“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 during the announcement.
The arch, called the Friendship Archway, will be 40 feet tall and 12 feet wide with a nine roof design, built in the heart of the neighborhood’s Chinatown on 8th Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets.
The structure will resemble the “Bu Chu Tou” design of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That design being blue-indigo tile structure in the shape of mythical creatures like a golden dragon, and floral patterns in a traditional Chinese design. The arch will also feature two inscriptions on it- one will read “One Family over Four Seas” in Chinese and the other being “Brooklyn-Beijing Chaoyang” in English.
The “Bu Chu Tou” designs (the roofing, 2-pillar archway, blue indigo glazed tiles and depictions of mythical creatures) on the Temple of Heaven. Image via Roberto Franceschini/Flickr Creative Commons
The original designs for the arch were approved by the Public Design Commission in July of this year and is part of de Blasio’s new initiative called “City Hall in Your Borough,” in an effort to immerse de Balsio’s and his senior staff in the five boroughs in the hopes of connecting more with local the communities.
“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 greatest cities,” said de Blasio.
The Friendship Archway gained unanimous support from Sunset Park’s community board back in 2015, and to go forward, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams pledged $2 million in capital funds for its construction.
The hope for the arch is to stimulate economic growth for the neighborhood’s local businesses and to further develop its entertainment, cultural, and tourism industries, said the President of the Brooklyn Chinese American Association Paul P. Mak.
The NYC Department of Transportation’s Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said that the DOT will ensure that the arch will be safely constructed and “serve 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.”
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