Bright Ideas

Written by admin on . Posted in Lifestyle, Our Town.


I’ll never forget the day, years ago, when a friend introduced me to Reveal light bulbs. I screwed that lovely, violet-tinged orb into my ceiling fixture, flicked the switch, and my apartment was magically transformed. My white walls, which were getting that dread yellowish cast, were suddenly blazing blue-white, and my sickly peach blanket turned perfectly pink.

This is great, I thought. I’ll never have to paint—or clean—again! All right, it’s a slight exaggeration, but still, it was a red-letter (a clear, crisp crimson) day when Reveal lit up my life. And it was just as stunningly a black one when I recently realized that GE was no longer offering Reveal incandescent bulbs in my needed 100 watts. I won’t belabor the general phaseout of incandescent bulbs, which, as you doubtless know, is not particular to any specific make but rather a function of rules and regs and the greening of America.

Yes, Reveal comes in the now de rigueur compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, but I found its lackluster light yellower than its incandescent version. I tried another brand’s Daylight, which I was assured was crisply cool. Indeed it was—to the point where my apartment had all the charm of a gas station at 3 a.m.

What’s a girl to do but turn herself over to Just Bulbs, which carries—please sit down to avoid injury while plotzing—over 30,000 different bulbs. Yes, that’s a three with four zeroes.

“Why didn’t I hoard my bulbs when I had a chance?” I moaned to David Brooks, the encyclopedically informed owner of this truly one-of-a-kind shop at 220 E. 60th St. “I don’t like CFLs.”

“People like what they like,” he shrugged amiably, having heard it all before—including from those who count their hoarded stash and actually calculate if they have a lifetime supply: Let’s see, if I live another 23 years and run the bulbs for an average of three hours a day…

Silly people—step with me into the Sunshine (a 3,500-degree Kelvin hue that Brooks thinks would make me happy). Yeah, look at me, I’m talking Kelvin now, and lumens, too (simply judging bulbs by wattage is for weenies—i.e., what I was until about five minutes ago). Walk into this compact but stocked to the rafters store and you too can not only become conversant in all things luminary, you will find whatever you’re looking for.

Need a special “ping pong frosted”? Find it the European bulb collection. The “vertical pigtail”? But of course; it’s in the Victorian/Edison series, along with the “flickering flames,” which perfectly replicate a gently wavering candle without the open flame hazard.

Look: This is a 32-year-old business that monthly tends to Gracie Mansion’s chandeliers. Among the challenges there, the lighting must not only be ecologically sound, of course, but also historically accurate for the 100-year-old crystal fixtures. Do you think they can handle our apartments? Count on it.

And please don’t think all the wares extremely rarefied. Brooks obviously takes great pleasure in his strings of “party lights”—tiny bulbs that are brilliantly colored and/or whimsically shaped (a 12-foot string of flamingoes, anyone? Just $14.99).

Oh, I almost forgot, my fellow 100-watt Reveal fans. Brooks quickly honed in on the best sub for us: the 5,000-hour incandescent Chromalux (“the original,” he noted); $7.50. A CFL version is about $6; $15 for dimmable.

As usual, I’ll need a return trip to make my final decision—see you there?

—Laura Shanahan

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