The Empire State Building: You Light Up My Life

What a sight at night. Photo by: Photo Gallery

It’s St. Patrick’s Day!  Think green, like leprechauns and shamrocks or green beer and t-shirts, many of which reference drinking too much Irish stout or other alcoholic beverages.

Consider the Chicago River.  It turns green, really bright green, Emerald Isle green.

And the Empire State Building.  The top floors glow green to commemorate the holiday.

Since 1964 when floodlights were added to the iconic skyscraper, appropriate colors emanate from the structure throughout the year in honor of special people, places, organizations, and events.

When the New York Giants won the Super Bowl, the building went blue.  Blue was also used to call attention to the 20th anniversary of the Blue Man Group and to mourn the passing of Ol’ Blue Eyes, when Frank Sinatra died.

For World AIDS Day the tower turns red.

For the U.S Open in Flushing Meadows, it shines yellow, as bright as a new tennis ball.

It’s red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July, and red, white, and pink for Valentine’s Day.  Tribute is paid to Thanksgiving in red, orange, and yellow, a reminder of the fall season just past.

To celebrate gay pride, the building radiates a veritable rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and lilac.

The lights are turned off to respect Earth Hour, organized by the World Wildlife Fund.  The tower went dark for fifteen minutes when actress Fay Wray died.

Building policy dictates against lighting for religious figures, which created a fuss when it denied honoring the newly created Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  Only Easter, Eid Al Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, Hanukah, and Christmas are observed with illumination.

To take part in this custom, submit an application to the Empire State Building Company selection committee, although approval is not guaranteed.  It’s considered a privilege, not an entitlement.

Alternatively, go to the Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Center for a great view unobstructed by other skyscrapers.  The sight is worth seeing from New Jersey, too.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


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