#EmpireStateBuilding #EndangeredSpecies

This past Saturday I was privy, along with tens of thousands of Manhattanites, to an impressive light show (costing $1MM) in honor of endangered animals.

Endangered Species Projection Against Empire State BuildingWe congregated at prime viewing spots jockeying for the optimal viewing furiously clicking and filming away while doing our best to guess the various animals being projected against the iconic Empire State Building – some being clearer and easier to identify than others. My friends and I gathered near the Flatiron with hundreds of others.

Endangered Species projection in New York CitySome of us complained about the office buildings with their lights on at 9pm on a weekend night (couldn’t they be asked to turn them off for the price that was paid?). All of us groaning collectively when the city buses blocked our view at just the wrong time. Luckily the show was on a loop that ran for three hours.

“Although the men refer to the event as a ‘weapon of mass instruction,’ Mr. Threlkel explained: ‘We’re going to try to create something beautiful. Not bum people out.’ He added later: ‘Hopefully, this is one big domino. If we can tip it, it would be great.'” (source: NYT.com) Check out this New York Times article about the installation for more details.

Endangered Animals Projected against Empire State BuildingThe projection coincided with Cecil the Lion back in news with the tour guide who took the Minnesotan dentist who killed him (exactly a month prior) speaking to the Zimbabwean authorities.

When we gathered we were still unsure if, after Zimbabwe had enacted a temporary hunting ban, Cecil’s brother Jericho had been killed (it turns out he wasn’t his brother after all, but was indeed alive and well).

 Whale projected against Empire State BuildilngBut contrary to what some believed the projection had not been organized in Cecil’s honor. It was a project by artist Travis Threlkel that was years in the making that became a reality thanks to the intervention of Mr. Psihoyosthat, the man behind “The Cove,” in order to receive New York City approval.

There were a few moments of levity as the men incorporated King Kong into their reel. I was uncertain about how appropriate it was and wondered if it cheapened the installation, until a friend reminded me that gorillas too are endangered…

Cecil the Lion, a tagged lion, being studied by Oxford University who was killed for his head and pelt by an American.

Cecil the Lion, a tagged lion, being studied by Oxford University who was killed for his head and pelt by an American.

Rest In Peace Cecil. Hopefully someday soon the world will recognize it’s not okay to kill majestic sentient beings for sport.


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  • Thanks for writing this and for the videos. I wish I could have been there. What a great project to bring awareness! I think Cecil might have been the tipping point.

    • Thank you for your ongoing encouragement. I wish you could have seen it as well. I hope Cecil’s death was not in vain and that he was in fact the tipping point. It’s a nice way to look at it.

  • pilch92 .

    I saw the Empire State Building on the news and I loved that they remembered poor Cecil.

    • Yes it’s amazing, the timing! Glad it made the news!

  • jmuhj

    That must have been a TRULY awesome presentation. May it move people to get involved and make meaningful change NOW, while there is so much passion and outrage. Nothing will bring King Cecil back, but it is a fitting tribute to him that so many are galvanized into action by his senseless murder.

    • I hope so. I’m still so heartbroken about Cecil. But I hope all this attention isn’t for not. Paws crossed.

      • jmuhj


  • Thanks for sharing, Tamar. Very powerful stuff, especially that image of Cecil. I hope this helps motivate folks to advocate for change.

    • Thank you, and thanks for reading and commenting. I hope so as well.

  • Mommy missed it. She was in Manhattan that day but came home because she would have had to wait a long time.

    • awwww too bad, I would have loved to have seen your mommy – silly mommy, I live so close by she could have come hung out with me until the projection!

  • W Speers

    I must tell you off the topic – my son (2yrs) made some funny comment to Siri and your blog came up.
    We do like cats and have several of our own.
    Keep up the blog.


    Son and mommy from utah

    • Ha! Siri knows me (on your phone at least!) I’m honored!

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  • Thanks for sharing this with us. What a beautiful tribute to endangered species!

    • It was great and especially wonderful to see so many people interested and engaged. Thank you so very much for reading and taking the time to comment.