Sunset Park

Chinese-American leaders say Sunset Park archway marks big step

De Blasio announces plans to build "friendship" entryway

October 31, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Sunset Park to announce plans to erect the Brooklyn Friendship Archway at the entrance to Chinatown in Sunset Park. Photo from www.flickr.com/nycmayorsoffice
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Brooklyn’s Chinese-American community is reacting with excitement and anticipation to the announcement made by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Oct. 27 of plans to erect a Brooklyn Friendship Archway on Eighth Avenue at the entrance to the borough’s Chinatown.

Paul P. Mak, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, said his organization has witnessed enormous growth since its founding 30 years ago and predicted that the archway will serve as a tribute to New York’s Asian community.

“The Chinese population growth here is the highest among all five boroughs in New York City. The Brooklyn Friendship Archway is extraordinarily meaningful to all people in our community, and it will also stimulate the development of local economic growth, tourism, cultural and entertainment industries.”  Mak said in a statement.

The Brooklyn Chinese-American Association’s headquarters are located in Sunset Park.

The mayor, who came to the neighborhood on Friday to announce the plans for the Brooklyn Friendship Archway, said the archway, which will be erected over Eighth Avenue between 60th and 61st streets, is a gift from the city of Beijing.

The archway, which would be the first of its kind in New York City, will be erected by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

“Over the last few decades, Eighth 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,” de Blasio said in a statement.

In Chinese culture, archways are erected at the entry point of major city streets. 

Brooklyn’s Chinese-American population has been growing in recent years, according to officials, who said the Sunset Park neighborhood has the second-largest Chinese-American population in New York City, behind only Flushing, Queens.

Plans call for the archway to stand 40 feet high and 12 feet wide.

The archway will be decorated with blue indigo glazed tiles and will feature sculptures of mythical creatures, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The portico was partly inspired by the “sister city” relationship that exists between Brooklyn and the Chaoyang District of Beijing, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

“Our sister city, the Chaoyang District of Beijing, has generously and graciously gifted us with a nine-roof archway that reflects the robust dynamism of our growing Chinese community. I have no doubt that it will be an enduring source of pride as well as an attraction that brings people from around the world to enjoy all that Sunset Park has to offer.” Adams said.

A Chinese inscription reading, “One Family Over Four Seas” as well as an English inscription reading, “Brooklyn – Beijing Chaoyang” will be displayed across the middle beam.

The location of the Brooklyn Friendship Archway was a deliberate choice, according to the mayor and other officials.

“New York needs to think big and the Friendship Archway will be a big, bold and colorful entrance to the vibrant Sunset Park community,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “DOT looks forward to ensuring this new and distinctive structure is safely constructed and serves 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.”  

The city’s Public Design Commission approved the design for the archway in July

Prior to the installation of the archway, DOT will conduct a pedestrian and vehicular traffic safety study on Eighth Avenue between 39th and 65th streets.

Plans to build the archway appear to enjoy a great deal of local support in Sunset Park.

In a 2015 letter to Adams, Community Board Seven announced its unanimous support of the archway, saying it “would make a beautiful addition to our community and could potentially promote local tourism.”

 


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