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Five New Buildings That Light Up Our Lives, and Just Won't Stop

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You can call New York City architects and developers plenty of things, but "Seinfeld fans" is not one of them. Poor Jerry and Kramer were driven temporarily insane by the glowing red menace of a single Kenny Rogers' Roasters sign, but now the trend is to turn entire buildings into huge Lite Brite boards, adding Broadway glitz to neighborhoods that in some cases are nowhere near Times Square. Will the neighbors become a sleep-deprived zombie army hellbent on revenge? It's too soon to tell, but we're sitting on a cache of rifles just in case. Here are five shining examples of what we're talking about:

5) Gansevoort Park: Sure, there's a Gansevoort hotel with "light columns" in the Meatpacking District, but that's pretty restrained for the circus that is MePa. The huge color-changing glowstick on the chain's new hotel on Park Avenue South is, shall we say, more distracting. We've seen the light show previewed, and this latest look comes from MadParkNews. "Mad" may be a theme when the nightlife-loving hotel opens this month.

4) Eventi: This 54-story hotel/apartment tower is livening up (or lighting up) a Sixth Avenue no-man's-land just south of Midtown and north of Chelsea, so most folks probably won't have an issue with the illumination sensation. However, the threat of the rotating lights being projected onto Sixth Avenue makes us want to take a moment to remind taxi passengers to buckle up.

3) The Metropol: It takes a lot to stand out in Williamsburg, where new buildings spring to life like kudzu. It takes...blinding, wavy LED patterns covering an entire facade. Yes, the Burg's strangest apartments/movie theater hybrid is a mind-blower, which might be why it hasn't yet found its audience. Brownstoner recently noted that the building, at 136 Metropolitan Avenue, was sold, and the nine condo units have gone rental.

2) Murano: When a new condo building has a moat, and that's only the second strangest thing about it, we know we're in a brave new world. That world is called Long Island City, where the Murano's "light clock" located halfway up the building changes colors every hour, thanks to some LED magic. Get ready for a sudden outbreak of UFO sightings along the L.I.E.

1) Hotel Hell: The three neighboring budget hotels next to the Port Authority designed by architect Gene Kaufman all have some quirky features, including the funhouse-on-acid effect seen in the video clip above. This is really the only one in the bunch that has seen a notable level of backlash (hence the "Hotel Hell" nickname), but if you can't build something crazy like this next to an ugly bus station in Midtown, well, then the lightbulb that lives inside all our imaginations has gone dark forever. Er, sorry, we've been staring at the colors too long.

Any more? Leave 'em in the comments, or send pics to

The Beatrice

105 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001