Their arrogance is constantly on display as they glisten under the hot sun and give off an illuminating glow after dusk.
I love skyscrapers and have felt that way since I was just a wee lad running around with a sippy cup in one hand and a Tonka truck in the other. There are many reasons why I admire skyscrapers and, unless you’re with Greenpeace, or an ecosexual, you probably admire them too.
They give us amazing views with their ridiculous height and serve as city landmarks–each unique in its own way–so what’s not to love? If there are any environmentalists/Debbie Downers in the peanut gallery, we’re going to save talking about big city pollution for later, just FYI.
What I love most about skyscrapers is their magnificent appearance at night. When I’m driving down the highway, or flying at night and the glowing city skyline becomes visible in the distance; a child-like amazement captivates me–kind of like a bug to a porch light. When that happens, you can guarantee that I have my face smashed up against the window as if I had never seen the city before.
Unfortunately, for the past few years, I’ve been noticing a growing trend in the city night sky, where less and less skyscrapers have their lights on, or at least a significant amount. It’s not like every single skyscraper light is off past 10, but from what I’ve noticed, the skyscrapers just don’t have the same glow as they once did (back in the old days).
If you’re wondering why I decided to randomly write about such an odd topic, the last few nights I’ve been staying with my younger sister at an apartment that she’s been ‘sitting’ for friends who are on holiday in Aspen.
Their apartment (left picture) is on the 9th floor of a high-rise and has amazing views of all the downtown skyscrapers …especially at night.
Which means I’ve had ample time the last few days to sit out on the balcony and stare as much as I’d like at the skyscrapers…without the hindrance of a window!
It’s basically my dream apartment…except for the fact that it’s in Houston. If I had the money to pay six grand a month on rent, Houston’s probably the last place I’d buy a loft.
Anyways, after spending all weekend perched on a balcony like a buzzard, I decided that I wasn’t imagining things and that cities (not just Houston) are turning off more lights than they have in the past.
Before doing this article, I researched my hypothesis and found several culprits that I’m going to blame in the next few sentences. Firstly, and not surprisingly, environmental concerns are the biggest factor behind why skyscrapers are darker.
I say screw it and keep all the lights on! I want to see all the pretty lights, plus it’s the 21st century; who needs a freaking ozone layer anyway? Did you know that I was just kidding? I hope so.
The second culprit behind the darkening of the skyscrapers, are those little winged creatures known as birds. Apparently, the little birdies fly into the skyscrapers when their lights are on, which results in many fatalities (especially during migration).
Since I’m not into ornithology, I don’t really understand this and I didn’t feel like reading the entire BBC article to learn about how stupid birds are, but, from what I understand, the birds don’t collide with the skyscrapers as much if the lights are off.
So they can fly, whistle and lay eggs, but they crash into illuminated buildings at night? The birds (good movie) have a growing force on their side; there’s actually a program, on the birds side, called ‘Fatal Light Awareness Programme’ (or FLAP for short) that is attempting to make changes for the darker. If they get their way, major cities in North America will feel even more pressure to dim their skyscraper lights.
The next time you see the skyline of a major city at night, notice and appreciate the skyscraper lights…before the birds have them all turned off.