New York will be observing Mother Teresa’s 100th birth anniversary in many ways, but the iconic Empire State Building has opted out of the citywide celebrations of her life, another, the landmark Times Square will have marquees and hoardings shining on Thursday evening in white and blue, the colours of her Missionaries of Charity.
The Great White Way, as it’s called, with its bright neon lights will mark the day, according to an announcement by the non-profit Times Square Advertising Coalition.
While Catholic groups had requested that the lights that crown the spire of the tallest building in New York be coloured white and blue to honour the Nobel Laureate, Empire State Building president Anthony Malkin has refused to accede. The official position is that the towering Building does not honour political or religious figures. It is customary for the Empire State Building’s lights to be turned to symbolic colours. For instance, on India’s Independence Day, it is suffused with the hues of the tricolour.
The original request for lighting the Empire State Building had come from the Catholic League. They had received the support of New York’s City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In a statement, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said, “Catholic churches all over the nation are celebrating Mass in honor of Mother Teresa, and many are sporting blue and white ribbons. Furthermore, Resolutions honoring her have been passed by city councils, state legislatures and Catholic organizations.
However, the celebration of Mother Teresa’s life will go on throughout the city and the country, even if she is ignored by the Empire State Building.