Empire State Building has 16.7 million colors
It was a tiny test for the huge public surprise four days later: the flipping of a switch at the Empire State Building to turn on its dancing new LED lights. They burst from the skyscraper while synchronized with R&B star Alicia Keys singing "Empire State of Mind" on nationwide radio.
After all, the 102-story skyscraper "has always been a symbol of what's possible in New York, and all the dreams that can come true in this city that never sleeps," said Keys. She's a New York native, said before her performance, which was ready on tracks while she watched from a Manhattan studio.
The LED system has 16.7 million color possibilities, in digital combinations of ripples, sparkles, sweeps and strobes. The old lights came in only 10 colors.
The lights are part of a larger effort to modernize the 81-year-old edifice that is undergoing a more than half a billion-dollar renovation that includes making it "green." The computerized LED system will cut energy consumption by more than half. The new lights will deliver light and vibrancy superior to the old floodlights, which have huge tympani drum-size lenses that had to be changed every so often.
One old light will not be discarded in favor of a 21st century novelty: a red beacon - half the size of a Volkswagen Beetle - that serves as a warning signal for aircraft flying over New York City.
Critical thinking challenge: Why was the new lighting system kept a secret? What were the benefits of the “surprise?”
Define these words: tympani, synchronized
- Posted on November 29, 2012