New Yorkers and New York sports fans on social media were seeing red after the Empire State Building was lit in green and white on Sunday, Jan. 29, in honor of their football rivals. The colors were shown after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a division rival of the New York Giants – and the Eagles beat the Giants earlier on Jan. 21 in a divisional round blowout.
Giants safety Julian Love retweeted the Empire State Building account, writing: “What on Earth… Let me close these blinds.” A retweet from the New York Giants account said: “I'm just here for the comments.”
“For anyone who finds this as treacherous, traitorous, and unforgivable as we do - just pretend it's green and white for #NewYorksStrongest. We take out the trash every day...and next year, that'll include the Eagles,” New York’s sanitation department tweeted.
Some wondered if the Empire State Building’s Twitter account was hacked. VERIFY looked into whether it’s normal for the Empire State Building to change its colors, even for New York City rivals.
Has the Empire State Building changed colors for non-New York football teams before?
- The Empire State Building
- Images taken by New York photographer Dan Martland
- Previous footage from the Empire State Building
Yes, the Empire State Building has changed colors for non-New York football teams before.
WHAT WE FOUND
Hours after the Empire State Building was lit for the Philadelphia Eagles, the building changed to red and white when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC title.
New York photographer Dan Martland also posted photos of each team’s colors. He told VERIFY he took the photos from across the Hudson River in New Jersey, so he wasn’t actually in the city to get a sense of the atmosphere around the building when the Eagles lights were shown.
“But judging from my followers' comments and seeing the backlash on Twitter… You can tell New Yorkers were not impressed,” Martland told VERIFY.
The Empire State Building has been lighting up the New York skyline since 1976. Since then, it’s been tradition to change the colors of the lights to recognize important occasions, holidays, and organizations throughout the year, the building’s website says. In 2012, the building had the lighting upgraded and now it can display more than 16 million colors.
These events include notable NFL wins. For example, after the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, the Empire State Building was a vibrant orange and blue.
The building has also been lit up for other occasions, both happy and sad. In 2022, it was red, white and blue on the Fourth of July. After Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, it was lit in purple and silver to celebrate her life.
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