top of page
  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

The Secret Key to NYC’s Beacon of Light

When red, white, and blue lights were turned on atop the Empire State Building to commemorate the country’s 1976 bicentennial, they lit up a new age of popularity for New York’s most iconic building.

Up till then, the tower of the 1932 Art Deco skyscraper – the tallest building in the world when it was completed – was illuminated with giant white search lights. Powerful floodlights replaced them in the 1950s. The building’s tower has been lit in various colors to represent the seasons and other events since 1977.

State-of-the-art LED lighting was installed in 2012. The computer-controlled system expanded the available colors from nine to more than 16 million. The building’s tower lighting design changes frequently to recognize holidays and important events throughout the year. The Empire State Building’s default tower color of brilliant white is used on nights when there is no special commemoration.

A key to each night’s tower lights configuration is posted on the Empire State Building Tower Lights page, along with a calendar of special lighting dates.

The ESB Live Cam lets you enjoy the displays in real time, no matter where you happen to be.

By the way, anyone can submit a special tower lighting request through the Empire State Building’s Tower Lights page, although lighting commemorations for personal, commercial, or political events or religious figures aren’t done.

Video by Daniel Carlton from Pixabay

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page