Empire State Building debuts flashing red and white 'siren' light to honor health care workers

The iconic New York City skyscraper featured a flashing red and white display on Monday night to honor health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Samantha Kubota

The Empire State Building is sending a powerful message to health care workers.

The iconic New York City skyscraper debuted a flashing red and white light display on its mast Monday night, an effect intended to represent America’s heartbeat, according to the building's Twitter account.

“Starting tonight through the COVID-19 battle, our signature white lights will be replaced by the heartbeat of America with a white and red siren in the mast for heroic emergency workers on the front line of the fight,” the Empire State Building tweeted on its official account.

New York has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. As of Monday night, the state had 68,363 cases and 1,342 deaths, according to an NBC count. More than 38,000 of those cases are in New York City, where over 900 have died, including a child, believed to be the first death of a minor in the city.

Some found the 102-story building's display to be unsettling.

“The @EmpireStateBldg reminding us that the city is in the middle of an emergency," a commenter named Rita J. King tweeted, along with a video of the lights.

Others said they felt the idea of a tribute to emergency workers was a nice idea, but the siren light was “anxiety inducing.”

"The intention is great, but the effect is terrifying," another wrote.

"this is one of those things that I bet sounded cool in a zoom meeting but is absolutely terrifying in execution," Chris Person tweeted.

At 9 p.m., the building also lit up to the tune of “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys, which was played on a local radio station at the same time.