After being shunned by Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin, Mother Teresa will be honored on what would have been her 100th birthday, at least in Bronx.
The Hutchinson Metro Center, which can be seen from the Hutchinson River Parkway before the Westchester Avenue exit when heading South toward the Whitestone Bridge, and shortly after passing the exit when heading North, will be lit up in blue and white to honor the Nobel Peace Prize recipient on August 26, 2010. The Center is located at 1200 Waters Place, Bronx, NY 10461.
The Empire State Building representatives have claimed that their policy is to exclude religious figures from light rights. No matter that the building was lit up to honor Cardinal O’Connor and Pope John Paul the II. Among those that have earned a lighting were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mariah Carey, and blue M&M’s. Most curious, is why the building was lit up to honor Communist China’s 60th anniversary.
Since the thumbs-down was given by the Empire State Building owner, a groundswell of support has been building. Council Speaker Christine Quinn called for a day of service to honor the late Nobel Prize winner by asking that New Yorkers put battery-operated lights in their windows on August 26.
Most drivers who frequent the Hutchinson River Parkway are familiar with the beautifully lit Hutchinson Metro Center, with its eye-catching and constantly changing color themed lights. In October 2009, the center promoted “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence,“ to bring greater awareness to the fight to end domestic violence, by illuminating its main building in purple lights. It’s estimated that more than 150,000 cars drive by the building on an average weekday.
City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) said about the announcement, “It sends a message to the Empire State Building: ‘Shame on you. You have some nerve.’ I feel that they have some nerve saying no to Mother Teresa without reason, I think the Empire State Building has to come off their high horse and come out of their ivory tower.”
President and COO of Hutch Management, Joe Kelleher, explained that the request by Vacca and Quinn was fitting, because some of his tenants are service-oriented companies who help people such as the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, whose logo can be seen from the parkway. “It’s all about helping people. Mother Teresa helping people, helping the poor.”
The Metro Center is 14 stories compared to the Empire State Building’s 102 stories, but the enthusiasm is big enough to make up whatever height difference there may be.