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Photo via Flickr by Ian Glover

Have you ever dreamed of being able to control the lights on one of New York City’s skyscraper spires?  Now you can… if you know the right people. We had a chance to test the invite-only app Spireworks in real life last night and it’s super fun.

Spireworks, New York City’s latest exclusive “club,” is a web-based app that allows users to control the light color atop two of New York’s skyscraper spires, the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park and 4 Times Square. Each night, after sunset, users are presented with an interface for two minutes that allows them to choose from a pallet of eighteen colors that will change the color of the spire of your choosing between the two available buildings. The color requests are sorted by cloud-hosted software and then sent to the lights that line the two spires.

You can choose between choosing to change the entire color of the spire and sending new colors upwards or downwards (creating a candy colored assortment). On top of this, you can send sparkles (which they also call “sparkles and sprites”) in bursts or as single actions. When the two minute session ends, you can restart or pick the other building. Standing on the streets below, or on a nearby rooftop bar, the moment you realize that you’ve changed the spire colors is pretty magical.

Here, we changed the whole spire at 4 Times Square to purple

Only five users are allowed to actively use the app at any one time, which means on busier nights you could be placed in a digital queue. On the Fourth of July, some users were left waiting for close to thirty minutes. And the app isn’t as easily accessible as everyone might hope.

Spireworks is only available to users who have been sent an invitation from someone already with access, which has created a class of exclusivity throughout New York City with people familiar to the innovative app, and naturally created a “market” for such. Those without Spireworks have been pleading their cases on social media to gain access and some have even been willing to spend anywhere from $50 to $200 for an invitation on Craigslist.  The creator of the app, Mark Domino of the Durst Organization, which owns both buildings, had recently even asked for a profile to be taken down from the dating app, Tinder, that had been trying to search for an invitation for $1,000.

At One Bryant Park, we started sending new colors downwards 

Those who have been lucky enough to receive an invite have been hounded on Twitter and social media by strangers looking for an invite. The invite only exclusivity “velvet-rope vibe” of Spireworks hasn’t exactly been what Mark Domino was aiming for when he wrote the code to control the spire lights back in 2010.  Mr. Domino claims that he wanted the app to be an “open system to share in moments of discovery and play.” In his attempts to remove the stigma, he has considered doing away with the invitation only system and replacing it with a charitable donations based way of joining the app’s community of close to 10,000.

Back to 4 Times Square, we created a medley of colors

He has also been discouraged that the biggest fan base of his app has been young men who have been looking to use Spireworks as a way to pick up women.  Some even have gone as far as tweeting to the official page to nab an invitation, claiming that it would be a “power move of a pickup line.”

The app, however, has been used for many other reasons that have lived up to Mr. Domino’s vision sharing moments.  Some have used it in marriage proposals and one couple even used Spireworks to turn 4 Times Square’s spire blue to reveal the gender of their expecting baby.

Whatever the reason for the desired usage, there’s no doubt that Spireworks has taken New York City by storm, and potentially created a new craze of “exclusive” apps in the process, with seekers vying for any chance of getting their hands on this innovative app.

If you’re especially nice to us, we may give you an invite…

Next, check out Top 10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Rooftop Bars in NYC and the Top 10 Tallest Buildings in NYC. Get in touch with the author on Instagram @mrich20

 4 Times Square, Bank of America Tower, Durst Corporation, midtown, Spireworks

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