NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s iconic skyline is getting a new look.

“When people look up to downtown Manhattan, they’re going to see a very new building,” Lisette Camilo, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said.

That new building is actually about to turn 105 years old, but it’s getting a serious face lift.

(Credit: CBS2)

It’s the New York City municipal building, and if you’ve been to downtown Manhattan, you may have noticed it.

But it will be especially hard to miss starting this month.

The DCAS dipped into their budget to make the castle-like landmark shine.

“We actually already had a lighting system that had been installed over 20 years ago that was in badly need of repair,” Camilo said.

They replaced the building’s 71 out-of-date lights with 272 state-of-the-art bulbs.

Because they’re lower watt LEDs, they’ll illuminate the building’s top 80 feet while using significantly less energy.

A big part of the bright idea came from Danny Donovan, the director of energy management at NYC DCAS facilities.

“We’re lighting up a building that’s over a hundred years old, and to be able to look up at that tell your children, I had something to do with that, is going to be pretty cool,” he said.

Donovan, the building’s head electrician, took CBS2 on an exclusive tour behind the scenes of the new lighting system.

(Credit: CBS2)

On the 36th floor, coincidentally, sit 36 tiny bulbs nestled between columns, ready to illuminate 55 feet of the tower.

Up a winding staircase and through a secret passage to the top tier sit smaller strips of bulbs placed precariously above.

It’s just enough to light the remaining 25 feet, the golden statue Civic Fame.

Thirteen electricians donned harnesses and dangled from specially installed anchors for six months to make it happen.

Fifteen thousand feet of wiring ties it all together, and Camilo is hoping it brings us all together.

“Be a part of New York City residents celebrating national occasions or special occasions with everybody in town,” she said.

The lights will be white most nights, but they will change to dynamic designs for special occasions decided by a committee of city employees.

The building will light up for the first time on the Fourth of July, forever changing the city skyline.


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