Empire State Building dons Indian colours too

August 8th, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 8 (IANS) The landmark Empire State Building here will light up for the Summer Olympics - the four sides of the famed tower will be illuminated with the colours of the flags of 66 top countries, including India. As the Games open in Beijing, for 16 nights beginning Friday night, the building will honour the top 66, based on the number of athletes on each national team, using coloured plastic gels over 182 floodlights. It will be the first time the skyscraper will have separate colour schemes on each side.

For the first night, the north side of the tower will have the colours of the French flag, the west side will have the colours of Britain’s Union Jack, the south will showcase Portugal, and the east will be green, white and saffron for India.

On the final night, Aug 24, the colours of the US and Chinese flags will adorn the tower.

The lights are intended to be “another source of pride for the athletes and their countries taking part in the Summer Games”, according to the building’s general manager James Connors.

“The Empire State Building is honouring the athletes that have trained and worked their entire lives to make it to this international stage of competition where unity, athleticism and sportsmanship are revered,” he said.

“We are proud that the Empire State Building can be a part of this international celebration and hope that its tower lights are another source of pride for the athletes and their countries taking part in the summer games,” he added.

Changing the lights is no small task. It takes six hours and teams of six electricians to change the gels to different colours.

The 102-story Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York, soaring 1,454 feet (436 metres) above Manhattan, has been illuminated to commemorate holidays, events and causes since 1932.

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