The Battle of the Bulbs continued on Saturday between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Empire State Building owner Tony Malkin.
Ms. Quinn sent a letter to the real estate mogul blasting his support of her plan for New Yorkers to place battery-operated candlesticks in their windows on Aug. 26, the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth.
Ms. Quinn proposed the move earlier in the week after Mr. Malkin, in response to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, refused to light his building blue and white on what would have been Mother Teresa’s birthday.
“The idea of individuals placing lights in our own windows is being done because you have refused to do what you could do. Therefore, your endorsement of our effort is the height of hypocrisy,” Ms. Quinn said in her letter, dated June 12 and citing earlier Observer coverage. She castigated Mr. Malkin for failing to use his power and resources to help others, and urged him to reconsider.
Mr. Malkin has cited his building’s policy not to support religious organizations or their figureheads with his light bulbs; and he has encouraged New Yorkers to use Aug. 26 as a day of community service (the mayor has, too, and Ms. Quinn quickly joined that call).
The speaker’s letter below:
Dear Mr. Malkin:
I am writing in response to your reported comments in the New York Observer. If they are accurate, they reflect a profound misunderstanding of what has transpired since your refusal to honor Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.
Mother Teresa’s message was that all people have a personal responsibility to help their fellow man. This means using your resources and your power to help people and spread this message.
The idea of individuals placing lights in our own windows is being done because you have refused to do what you could do. Therefore, your endorsement of our effort is the height of hypocrisy.
We again respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision and pay tribute to this great woman by lighting the top of the Empire State Building in her honor.
Christine C. Quinn