michelle-young-empire-state-building-colors-grateful-dead-nyc-untapped-citiesEmpire State Building donning tie dye colors for the Grateful Dead tribute

The Empire State Building is a beacon in the New York City skyline that attracts more tourists than we’d like. Night in and night out, the lights on the 72nd floor and above give the building its distinguished look from afar most notably in white. According to the building’s Fact Sheet: The first light to shine atop the Empire State Building was a beacon that told those within a 50-mile radius that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected President of the United States in November 1932.

In November 2012, the tower got a major upgrade. The mere 9 available colors from 1964 when the floodlights were added were replaced with 1200 LED lights bringing the ESP over 16 million color possibilities!

The site What Color Is The Empire State Building is updated daily with the current color scheme of the tower and a small description of what is being commemorated. You can also check the official ESB site for this information, and more about how to become a lighting partner (and pick the colors for the Empire State Building!)

Alicia Keys was on hand in 2012 to try out in the new lights in a grandiose light performance that coordinated with several local radio stations. Some of the occasions that typically warrant designated color schemes include Christmas, Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Bastille Day. But the Empire State Building is known for its quirky light fixtures as well–remember when it was tie dye for the Grateful Dead?

The new colors were installed by Philips Color Kinetics and are engineered to provide a wider array of colors and completely run by computer. Even though there are many more lights, the new fixture is much more power-efficient than the previous flood lights. This past Fourth of July was another great opportunity for the Empire State Building to show off in a light show that rivaled the fireworks themselves. Again, the lights were programmed to mirror the fireworks. Anthony Malkin, whose family owns the building, remarked: “Partnering the world’s most famous building with the world’s most famous fireworks spectacular can only happen in New York City.”

Next, read about the secrets of the Empire State Building. And Did you know the top 204 feet of the Empire State Building is completely vanity height? We still love the ESB anyway.