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Join Uptown Flash -- a braided light extravaganza

Experience an art installation in Harlem - materials: D.I.Y. string lights and community engagement

Uptown Flash, a light canopy in East Harlem, is based on the art and history of hair braiding. Plaited light strands suspended below the Park Avenue Viaduct transform a desolate plaza into a luminous place to meet.

D.I.Y. lighting techniques were invented during the Covid pandemic. New York City’s streeteries sprang up embellished with cheerful swags of fairy lights.

A question formed — what if the simplest, least expensive lighting that anyone can do was simultaneously innovative, inclusive and fun?

During the Uptown Flash Street Lab, 150’ strands were laid out on the pavement. Neighbors and transit riders stopped by to try their hand and apply their imaginations to create the art installation.

Watch this video clip as the colored strings of light are braided by kids and adults.

Join the Uptown Flash inauguration to flip the switch accompanied by marching bands!

In the darkened hours of the winter solstice, December 21, Leni will conduct a mini NightSeeing™

LightWalk starting at 6:30 p.m. The walk will be both festive and practical to examine the darkness and qualities of light along the East Harlem corridor. We will finish on the 124th Street side of the 125th Street Plaza for the grand opening of Uptown Flash with hot chocolate and music.

Experience a once bleak underpass as it transforms into a cozy, bright and friendly plaza.

Dress warmly and celebrate.


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