By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The country’s tallest building, One World Trade Center, is going gold. Can the Unisphere be far behind?
Now that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has agreed to a request by Bay Ridge lawmakers to bathe One World Trade Center in golden light in a tribute to children with cancer, the elected officials are aiming to do the same to the Unisphere in Queens.
State Sen. Marty Golden, U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, Assemblymembers Alec Brook-Krasny and Nicole Malliotakis, and Councilmember Vincent Gentile, the group responsible for convincing Port Authority Chairman Patrick Foye to light One World Trade Center, have written to New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver with a request to have the lights on the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park turn gold.
Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens also signed the letter.
The Unisphere, a 140-foot-high stainless steel globe, was presented to the 1964 World's Fair by United States Steel. Today, it is a centerpiece for Flushing Meadows and serves as the park's most popular meeting place, according to the Parks Department’s website.
Elected officials and cancer advocates waged an “Empire Go Gold” campaign earlier this summer to convince the managers of the Empire State Building to bathe the iconic structure in gold in tribute to kids with cancer during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The building’s management refused the request. After that snub, Coney Island Councilmember Mark Treyger asked the owners of the Parachute Jump, a famous neighborhood landmark, to take part in the gold program and light the structure. The owners agreed.
Bay Ridge lawmakers then wrote to the Port Authority seeking to have One World Trade Center take part in the program. The Port Authority, which is responsible for the World Trade Center site, agreed to the request.
The Staten Island Advance reported that One World Trade Center will be lit in gold on Sept. 2.
Golden and his fellow lawmakers expressed confidence that their letter to Silver will have a positive result.
“We are writing to you at this time regarding the ‘Empire Go Gold’ campaign, to raise awareness for pediatric cancer that has become the focus of many throughout New York City. Many families, organizations and elected officials have joined together to encourage ‘Go Gold’ participation of landmarks, during the month of September which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We have had great success, including agreements from the Coney Island Parachute Jump, Times Square, the Niagara Falls Peace Bridge and more to go gold,” the lawmakers wrote. “We truly believe that the Unisphere, the famous and spectacular globe presented during the 1964 World’s Fair, would get the attention of the world, and as we seek to increase awareness we think such an action would be so important to our success."
In their letter, the lawmakers refer to the Unisphere as “Queens’s most recognizable symbol.”
Bay Ridge Cares, the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation and the Olivia Bocuzzi Foundation, all groups that assist families in need, are leading the effort to get city structures lit up in gold for the pediatric cancer awareness effort.
Bay Ridge Cares has developed a "Go Gold Bay Ridge" program aimed at spreading the word. As part of the effort, the group will distribute gold ribbons, gold bows and gold lights to neighborhood residents.
The Unisphere would be a significant site for the cancer awareness effort, according to the lawmakers. “We truly believe that The Unisphere, the famous and spectacular globe presented during the 1964 World’s Fair, would get the attention of the world, and as we seek to increase awareness we think such an action would be so important to our success” they wrote.