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NYC: Empire State Building lights up for Super Bowl, Chinese New Year

Is Manhattan big enough for two seasonal events to take over the lights atop its landmark Empire State Buidling? Apparently so. Red and gold dazzling lights in honor of Chinese New Year will shine brightly on the building's tower lights Friday -- until they are interrupted for an hour-long Super Bowl tribute.

The Empire State Building kicked off lunar new year festivities on Wednesday with a lighting ceremony and opening of a Year of the Horse exhibition in the lobby. The bursts of color are meant to represent fireworks for the new year observance, which begins Friday and lasts 15 days. The lights started Thursday and are scheduled to continue until 2 a.m. Saturday.

But Super Bowl XLVIII set to start Sunday across the water in New Jersey rates its own special light show. In a novel social media-driven rivalry, NFL fans who tweet #Broncos or #Seahawks with the hashtag #WhosGonnaWin when answering questions about the game on Twitter determine what color lights appear. An algorithm decides which team's supporters sent the most tweets.

The winners then see their team's colors -- blue and orange for the Broncos, green and white for the Seahawks -- flash atop the Empire State Building.

On Friday, the building will pause the Chinese fireworks lights and switch to the football motif from 6 to 7 p.m.

And that leaves just one question: Will passersby on the street who are gazing up get any of this?

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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