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Here's how some New Yorkers get to control the color of the city's skyscrapers

Talk about an amenity!

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

A new building in Long Island City is providing an amenity to tenants that may have you do a double take. In addition to having access to the on-premise gym, movie room and pool, tenants at the Sven, a 958-unit skyscraper in Queens, will have the ability to control the color displays atop certain Manhattan buildings. That's right, they'll be able to change the New York skyline from their phones.

The residents will be given access to Spireworks, a mobile app that allows users to control various lights on some of the local buildings owned by the Durst Organization, the same company behind the Sven (and the app.) Among the roster of controllable real estate is 4 Times Square and the remarkable 300-foot spire that sits atop the Bank of America Tower. According to Patch, residents will also on occasion be able to control the spire on the One World Trade Center. (We can already imagine the future marriage proposals.)

As exciting as the proposal is, it isn't entirely a new concept. In fact, Spireworks has been around for some time. Until now, the mobile app—which 30,000 subscribe to—was available by invitation only and sometimes open to the public in relation to corporate and charity events. By allowing all Sven residents to access the program, Spireworks will likely grow by 1,000 to 3,000 people.

How does it work, exactly? Users who open the app on a day with no event running (think New Year's Eve or Breast Cancer Awareness month, for example), will have to wait on a virtual line to then be part of a two-minute-long session that will allow them to change the colors and light effects of a particular building. 

Given the price of the apartments at the Sven (studios, one, two- and three-bedrooms are priced between $2,950 and $6,000 per month), this is a pretty good perk to be able to boast about. Who even needs access to the gym these days?

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