A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 21, 2005
Lights Out NY
"Lights Out NY" is a program to encourage buildings to turn off lights late at night. The lights interfere with bird migratory patterns, and the program also helps save energy.

September 20, 2005
No. 85


Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, Executive Director of NYC Audubon E.J. McAdams, Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola, Executive Director of Building Owners' and Managers' Association Roberta McGowan, and Executive Director of Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York, Inc. Nicholas La Porte, Jr. today announced the kick-off of "Lights Out NY," an opportunity for building owners to conserve energy, save money, and spare the lives of thousands of birds during the fall migratory season. Volunteers for Wildlife brought along a kestrel, red-tailed hawk and saw-whet owl as representatives of species affected by the program.

"Lights Out NY is a win-win situation for building owners and for the birds that pass through New York City," said Commissioner Benepe. "Parks & Recreation is thrilled to support this effort, which will save the delicate lives of thousands of birds that, to the delight of many, color City skies and chirp in City parks."

"The skyline may not be quite as bright, but turning down the lights in tall buildings after midnight makes environmental and economic sense," said Commissioner Lancaster. "New York City can save energy, save dollars, and save birds. Building owners should seriously consider participating."

About five million birds fly through New York City during the migration season. Each year, thousands of night-migrating birds never make it to their breeding grounds because their navigation systems are disrupted by encounters with buildings in their flight paths. Birds use visual cues, such as the stars and the moon, to migrate, and the lights on tall buildings confuse them. Night-migrating birds will often circle the buildings until they are exhausted, causing them to land in our hazardous glass canyons. On rainy or foggy nights, these migrants can collide with the structures or with other birds.

Lights Out NY is asking the owners of tall buildings—40 stories or more—to turn off the decorative lighting on the upper stories of their buildings from midnight until sunrise from now until October 31, the time when birds migrate. In addition, Lights Out NY requests that tenants in these buildings turn off lights in unused offices or pull the shades down in active offices to eliminate confusion. Owners of smaller buildings, especially those along the Hudson and East Rivers with extensive glass exteriors, are also encouraged to participate. Every New Yorker can get involved by turning off the lights at night or pulling down the shades in offices and apartments.

"Lights in the City are a fatal attraction for night-migrating birds. New York City Audubon applauds Commissioners Benepe and Lancaster for taking on this cause, and BOMA, REBNY, and ABO for encouraging their member-buildings to participate," said McAdams. "Turning the lights out will save birds lives—Pale Male and Lola would be very proud of this show of civic support for their fine feathered friends."

On top of the impressive number of birds that would be rescued, the potential energy savings are striking. The owner of a building with 2.5 million square feet of floor space would save more than 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity and approximately $625,000 throughout the year by turning off the lights from midnight to sunrise.

"Call it saving two birds with one stone—At BOMA/NY, we pride ourselves on listening, learning and leading," said McGowan. "And that is why we're joining in this initiative to save wildlife—and energy—and putting the force of the 400 million square feet of space our members own and manage behind this initiative. I am especially pleased that even before we announced our participation, one of our most well known members and a global icon of the New York skyline—the Empire State Building—has stepped forward to volunteer. I am confident many more will follow."

"REBNY and its building owners and managers divisions are committed to Lights Out NY in an effort to keep migrating birds free from harm," added Spinola. "It is always the intention of our members to have their buildings peacefully coexist with New York's wildlife and to promote programs that are good for New York City."

"What a wonderful way to display compassion for the creatures that provide us with so much joy. It is also a great energy-saving program!" said La Porte. "By reducing our electricity consumption during this period we are saving valuable natural resources—in many ways. We in the real estate industry are always proud of the humanitarian efforts of our members and know that this is just another way that makes New York the Greatest City in the World."

Affected birds include the white-throated sparrow, common yellowthroat, ovenbird, dark-eyed junco, black-and-white warbler, northern parula, red-tailed hawk, and kestrel.

For more information and to register for the Lights Out NY program, building owners can visit http://www.nycaudubon.org.


CONTACT: Warner Johnston / Dana Rubinstein (Parks) (212) 360-1311
Ilyse Fink (Buildings) 212-566-3473
E. J. McAdams (NYC Audubon Society)
Posted by Barry Popik
Buildings/Housing/Parks • Wednesday, September 21, 2005 • Permalink

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