Saturday, September 23, 2006

For the Birds!

As the lights on the Parachute Jump seemed dim to begin with – it’s now lights out for the famed structure.

Well, at least, not completely but rather during the fall and spring seasons. So far the Parachute Jump is the only Brooklyn building or structure to be part of the "Lights Out NY" program and only one out of six structures citywide.

“Lights Out NY” is a program in its third year that encourages buildings to turn off lights late at night. The lights interfere with the migratory patterns of birds that pass through New York City on route to their breeding grounds. The program is also an incentive for an opportunity to save energy. “Call it, Save two birds with one stone”, says executive director of Building Owners and Managers Association, Roberta McGowen.

A coalition of public and private interests which include the New York City Audubon Society are encouraging other building owners and managers to join the program to save the birds. Five million birds fly through New York City during the migration season. With the stars and the moon as their usual navigation reference, thousands never make it to their destined breeding grounds. So many of these birds of various species which include sparrows, hawks, and warblers to name a few, become disoriented and clash with buildings or encircle them exhaustively until most of them plummet.

This has been a problem for many years. “The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were once hated in aviary circles for the way in which they ensnared birds in their glow - an irony considering the events of 9-11”, says Yigal Gelb for the New York City Audubon Society.

“I’m happy to be a poster child” for the “Lights Out” program, said Parachute Jump lightning designer Leni Schwendinger. She went on to further explain that she was more than happy to re-program the tower’s lighting scheme which will take place during the fall and spring migratory seasons.

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