The Empire State Building on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, just added a new lighting system that means that the lights for this monumental building now use 50% less power. The super-efficient commercial LED lighting system cost over a million dollars to install and will recoup its investment within 2 years from the power consumption savings. The iconic Empire State Building has been cleaning up its act as “The Top Of The Rock” at 30 Rockefeller Plaza just overtook it in number of visitors per year. Normally the lights are switched off at midnight to save money and avoid neighbor complaints. Often the lights at night can cause havoc with air traffic as it can blind airline pilots coming in to La Guardia or Newark airports.
The building is responding to other challenges too, from record high office space availability as many of its tenants have either gone out of business or moved to cheaper climes like uptown, downtown or even New Jersey and Long Island.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Whether you revel in this holiday, choose to ignore it, or haven’t even checked your calendar, New York certainly offers its share of events, from the romantic to the just plain…odd.
For starters, take a trip to Times Square (soon) where a 7,000-pound ice sculpture in the shape of a heart is slowly melting its way into viewers’ hearts–and onto the ground.
Designed by Robert and Granger Moorhead, two architects who also happen to be brothers, the sculpture was actually created to melt away in what they call a celebration of its temporary nature.
A commentary on love? Relationships? A way to while away the time? Who knows?
The 10-foot-tall heart, which was finished on Friday, is made of blocks of ice and is designed to act like a kaleidoscope, magnifying and refracting the lights of Times Square.
Over at the Empire State Building, the lights are red, pink and white in honor of the holiday, and 14 couples were married there yesterday, courtesy of wedding website theknot.com. (A heads up: Tomorrow the lights switch to red, white and blue in honor of President’s Day.) One couple was married at the 86th floor Observatory, while the others got hitched on the 61st floor.
More than 200 couples have been married in the building, which has been open for weddings since 1994. This is the only time of year that the building allows these ceremonies to take place.
So celebrate as you like-in New York, Valentine’s Day can be whatever you want.
If you have, know, or have spoken to a preteen over the last year, you have probably seen them clutching one of the “Percy Jackson” books. Now, the first movie based on the series (five books in all) by Rick Riordan finally opens today in New York (and across the country).
The series highlights a group of kids who are demigods: Each one has a parent who is an Olympic God: Greek mythology made modern.
Plot? Young Percy, who’s the son of Poseidon, is wrongly accused of stealing a powerful lightning bolt from the gods and must set about to clear his name, all while dealing with adolescent issues. Oh yes, his mom gets kidnapped and taken to Hades, his two best friends (a satyr; the daughter of Athena) have issues of their own, and so on.
What makes the movie especially intriguing for New Yorkers, however, is that much of it is set here, and much of it was filmed here.
Pivotal scenes take place in and around The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the museum will actually be running family workshops inspired by the book in March and April. (Semi-spoiler alerts approaching: the Greek galleries play an important role, and much filming took place in front of the building last summer.)
Another important landmark in the book: The Empire State Building, or, to be more specific, the top of the Empire state Building and beyond…)
Central Park also plays a role, as does the Upper East Side.
So when you’ve seen the movie, check out the actual landmarks that inspired the scenes–and get ready for Percy Jackson fever to take over.
Think you’re in good shape? How does an 86-floor, 1,576-stair climb sound? Not going to try it any time soon? Well, yesterday (Feb. 2) more than 300 athletes raced to the top of New York’s Empire State Building, starting in the lobby and ending on the 86th floor Observation Deck. It’s a fifth of a mile, or 1,050 feet (although by the time you reach the top, it probably feels like a lot more.)
We’ll just stay put, thanks.
The race, which has been held 33 times since 1978, drew participants from 19 states and 17 countries. The overall winner was professional stair-racer Thomas Dold (yes, that’s really what he does), with a time of 10:16–he took the top honors for the fifth year in a row. The fastest woman, Melissa Moon, hails from New Zealand, and is a 40-year-old mountain runner (You go girl!) Her time: 13:13. (The fastest the race has ever been run is 9:23.)
Nether of the top two women had ever climbed the Empire State Building before. The second-place woman was New York’s Gretchen Hurlbutt (let’s hear it for hometown girls!), who had never done any kind of stair race before.
And yes, it is a real thing, and that is a real term. Stair races are held all over the world, and are often used to raise money for charities. (One is coming up in Chicago at the Presidential Towers at the end of March, for example.)
But still, we’ll stick to the Stairmaster.
It’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but green and white are the colors to display this weekend in the city in honor of the New York Jets football team. Even New York’s Empire State Building is getting into the action—the building will glow green and white all weekend in honor of the team’s making it into the playoffs.
The official lighting ceremony took place on Friday; former Jets wide receiver Wayne Chebret had the honor of flipping the switch that set the building aglow in the team’s colors. The Jets ”Flight Crew” cheerleaders and some former players joined fans for the ceremony.
The Jets are heading to San Diego, CA for the divisional playoff game on Sunday, at 4:40 pm. They play the widely favored San Diego Chargers. The Jets, if they win, will be one game away from the Super Bowl.
However, the Jets, for those keeping track, have not made it to the Superbowl in more than 40 years–since 1969.
Can’t make it to San Diego? Well, at least you can turn on your TV—and also go gaze upon the Empire State Building.
By the way, upcoming lighting schemes for the Empire State Building include red, black and green for this Monday, January 18, and the celebration of Martin Luther King Day; all red for the National Heart Association “Wear Red Day” (February 5); and red, pink and white for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Looking for a fun new way to tour New York City? How about by boat? The New York Water Taxi offers a hop-on/hop-off weekend boat service around New York Harbor, making stops at 10 of the city’s best neighborhoods and attractions. This service will run from May 2 to October 11, 2009, every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A day pass ($20 for adults, $15 for kids) allows for unlimited travel.
The Water Taxi’s first stop is West 44th Street at Pier 84. Check out the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Pier 86 at West 46th Street to tour the large aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. The second stop is West 27th Street at Pier 66 in Chelsea. Cool off from the summer heat by ice-skating at Chelsea Piers. Next up is Greenwich Village at Pier 45. Stroll the West Village and Hudson River Park. Traveling further south, the Water Taxi docks at the World Financial Center for a great opportunity to see the World Trade Center Memorial.
The fifth stop is Battery Park, the very Southern tip of Manhattan, with views of the Statue of Liberty. Round the island to South Street Seaport for shopping and a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by Fulton Ferry Landing, the oldest ferry landing in New York City. The Water Taxi then stops at Hunters Point for access to Water Taxi Beach and Long Island City. The tour ends at East 34th Street, with sites like the United Nations Building and the Empire State Building in the vicinity.