New York City's Empire State Building said "yes" to Mariah Carey, dog shows, cancer charities, even the 60th anniversary of communist China. But the landmark skyscraper's owners have declined to illuminate the iconic skyscraper in honor of the late Mother Teresa.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said his advocacy group requested that the building be lit on August 26 for the centennial of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner's birth. The request was denied in an unsigned, faxed letter, Donohue said, "and they never gave an explanation."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Associated Press that she spoke with Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin. Although the real estate mogul was "very professional" and said he "would reflect on the points I made," she said, he didn't give her a satisfactory answer.
Mother Teresa helped open a pioneering hospice for AIDS patients in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. "Her impact on the world was so much greater than one religious group," Quinn said.
Illuminating the 102-story high-rise on Fifth Avenue in different colors to mark an important date, cause, or personality is a New York tradition. The building is color-decorated for religious holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah and other special occasions.
For Mother Teresa, the building would glow in blue and white in the New York night--the colors of her Missionaries of Charity order. Mother Teresa died in 1997, at 87, and was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church-- a step toward possible sainthood.
Requesting a lighting display involves filling out an application evaluated by the Empire State Building Co., which is privately owned and considers selection "a privilege, not an entitlement," according to the website with the application form. A decision is made "at the sole discretion of the (company's) ownership and management."