The Empire State Building goes L.E.D.


Here's what's been true to date:

  • 9 colors have been available in lighting the Empire State Building until now. Almost every day of the year, a new color scheme is in place.
  • 6 maintenance workers have braved the elements on the building's parapets to install — by hand — colored plastic lenses on the tops of 208 old-fashioned floodlights
  • And it takes all 6 men 6 hours a day to set up these color changes, which they do about 200 times a year.

From a recent article in The New York Times:

The Empire State's lights, normally switched on from a bit before sundown to midnight, have long observed a complex annual cycle of ritual changes: blue and white for Hanukkah, red and green for the December holiday season, yellow and white for spring, green for St. Patrick's Day, pink and white for breast-cancer awareness. This calendar has often been punctuated by special events, as when the building went blue in honor of the passing of Frank Sinatra, Ol' Blue Eyes.

But all the available permutations and operation of the lights is going to change real soon!
Yes, the Empire State Building is about to enter the 21st century as new L.E.D.s are being considered by a couple different firms which will allow all the changes to be programmed from a computer console. The L.E.D.s will, of course, give off less heat, last much longer, and probably be more energy efficient than the current metal-halide lamps.
All this has me excited. Could wind up being much more interesting, sort of like guessing what Google will do to their insignia every holiday.