In an Empire State of Mind

In an Empire State of Mind
The red-hued Empire State Building , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The building sparkles yellow, blue, red, white, green and grey to honour workers and first responders

Labanya Maitra
April 16 , 2020
03 Min Read

The once-tallest building of New York City, and the world, the Empire State Building has lit up its crown for decades to commemorate people, places, and show solidarity at the toughest of times. But April 2020 was different, it was something more. As New York City became the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, claiming the lives of over 10,000 New Yorkers, the city’s favourite building—although shut—shone bright for its people.

April began as the dreary, foggy, New York sky lit up dramatically with a brilliant red and white siren to pay tribute to first responders and medical workers at the front lines of this war against the novel coronavirus. And every night since, the Empire State Building blinks to the heartbeat of New York. Towering nearly 1,500 feet above Manhattan, this heartbeat shows solidarity and support to over a million people across the world suffering from COVID-19.


But that’s not all. At the top of every hour, the building sparkles yellow, blue, red, white, green and grey to honour emergency workers and first responders like paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement, 911 dispatchers, correctional officers and the military.

Every night at 9pm, the Empire State Building, in collaboration with iHeartMedia and Z100, has a special Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind music-to-light live show kicked off by Elvis Duran. For five minutes after the show, there is complete darkness in honour of those grieving and the lives lost in this pandemic.

Now, the thing about this city-that-never-sleeps is that, well, it doesn’t sleep. Even with access to public spaces restricted, including the observation decks of the Empire State Building, you can still enjoy this dynamic city from the comfort and safety of your homes. The
building’s website gives you a 24-hour live coverage of the view of the building itself, and that too from the 86th floor observatory, looking straight down lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

Want to get even higher? You can find panoramic views from the Top Deck of the Empire State Building with nifty little location markers pointing out the iconic places in the Big Apple. But what is life if not extraordinary, just like this city? You can go even higher to get uninterrupted 360° views of New York and parts of New Jersey from above the Empire State Building. I don’t know about you, but we’ve been on these sites for hours, walking along downtown Manhattan, through Dumbo, and into Brooklyn. Come along!

Related Articles


Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe