Empire State Building’s heartbeat light show returns for nationwide COVID-19 memorial

January 14, 2021

Photo courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust

A memorial honoring the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic will be held at the Lincoln Memorial next week and cities and towns are invited to join the tribute with ceremonies of their own. President-elect Joe Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee announced plans to feature a lighting around the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. on January 19, the evening before the inauguration. The Empire State Building will participate by playing its red heartbeat light show, which first debuted last year as a tribute to the city’s frontline workers.

“The Empire State Building has always, and will always, symbolize the hope and resilience of our great city and its people. We will come back even stronger, and the Empire State Building will be here to welcome everyone back,” Anthony E. Malkin, president and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust, said in a press release.

On January 19, from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. the skyscraper’s signature white lights will be replaced with a red heartbeat light show, along with Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” broadcast on iHeartMedia New York’s Z100 and on the iHeartRadio app at 9 p.m.

The inaugural committee is inviting cities around the country to join D.C. in “illuminating buildings and ringing church bells” at 5:30 p.m. ET as a nationwide tribute. According to the committee, it’s the first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost. According to The COVID Tracking Project, there have been 375,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19, with over 32,000 of them in New York alone.

“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey,” Pili Tobar, communications director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a statement. “However, in the midst of a pandemic – when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors – it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”

If you’re not able to view the Empire State Building light show in person, the event will be live-streamed via EarthCam here.


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