It’s never a good day for Giants fans when the division rivals from Philly book passage to the Super Bowl. Sunday, no less a New York City icon than the Empire State Building rubbed salt into a few million local wounds by lighting up in Eagle green and white for the NFC champs. A few hours later, the colors changed to red and gold of the AFC champion Chiefs — seeming proof that this was not a giant middle finger but a celebration of football achievement. Still, the salute to the dirty birds, who cleaned the Jints’ clock the previous weekend after having vanquished them twice in the regular season, stung.
Too bad. The tough-love truth of the matter is that the Empire State Building, though a beloved piece of our skyline, is privately owned by a realty trust controlled by one Anthony Edward Malkin. That means Malkin can do pretty much whatever he wishes with his edifice, short of having a giant ape climb up.
Malkin has strong opinions. In 2010, we thought him nasty and petty for refusing to light up in honor of Mother Teresa on what would’ve been her 100th birthday — and we said so, exercising our own inviolable First Amendment rights. But we couldn’t make him comply, because that’s the glorious nature of free speech in these United States.
Government has structures it controls: One World Trade Center, which Gov. Cuomo lit to celebrate the passage of an abortion-rights bill; the Kosciuszko Bridge, which Gov. Hochul had lit up in pink, white and light blue in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Just last week, all state landmarks were illuminated for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. If we, the people, are upset about any of this, we can and should do something about it. We’re not suggesting a referendum on each individual event; we collectively elect an executive whose administration gets to make decisions of this nature.
But Tony Malkin? He speaks with his own giant voice, for better and worse.