The Real Deal New York

The invite-only club that lets members change the color of NYC skyscrapers from a phone

Durst Organization launched an app in 2010, but worries it is being misused
July 12, 2017 10:10AM

4 Times Square and One Bryant Park at night (Credit: Durst)

The Durst Organization created an app called Spireworks that enables users change the color of two of its skyscrapers at night, but is concerned that usage is getting out of hand.

The app, created by Douglas Durst’s son-in-law and the family firm’s head of digital media, Mark Domino, allows users to choose from a palette of colors on their phone and then watch the spires atop 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park change colors. It’s free, but invite only. Over the years the number of users as grown to around 10,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

But Domino told the Journal he was unhappy about the app becoming a status symbol and being used increasingly by young men trying to pick up women. He wanted the app, which launched in 2010, to be an “open system to share in moments of discovery and play.”

According to Domino, bartenders at the rooftop bar Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel complained about all the men trying to impress women through the app.

Brokers have successfully used the app to sell apartments. At the 2015 launch party of a Tribeca penthouse the sales agent impressed attendees by changing the towers’ colors in full view from the apartment, according to the Journal. The unit sold for $8.3 million.

“What is more powerful than getting control of the city?” tech executive Vincent Bruneau, who landed an invite to the app, told the Journal. “It’s kind of supernatural.” [WSJ]Konrad Putzier