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Veronica Varlow
  -  Dirty. Glamour. Realness. Life in NYC.   -  Magic Monday: City Lights Magic

Living in the city, I can’t see the stars to wish on.

So I wish on the brightest thing in the sky:

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My love affair with the Empire State Building started long before I moved here. Regal, gleaming silver, art deco structure in the sky…lighting up the way for me to find my home.

It uprooted me – 1,300 miles away from the heat and the ocean where I lived and drew me in with its light.

It’s a beacon of unspoken promise.

The promise of dreams coming true, of taking a chance, of wild risks and even wilder life…

and I said “Yes.”

And I still do. And will until the day I die.

I wake up with the the sunrise reflecting off the Empire State Building’s side like solid gold beams.

After being away from the city on tour or on adventures, I search for the Empire State Building out of plane windows. It always reaches up to me in the sky, to welcome me home.

I walk along the river at night with Niney, and make wishes on it.


On a night walk….me and the Blue Lady.

For as long as I’ve been having this affair with The Empire State Building, her lights would shut off at midnight.

She would officially close out the day for me.

I started a game long ago, where I would make wishes right before midnight and make sure I was wishing right before the light went out. That way, she could take my wishes with her, before going dark into the night.

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The view from my roof on my birthday. From L to R: The Empire State Building, my favorite water tower and the Chrysler Building.


Five minutes before midnight, on my actual birthday, I found myself on a rooftop with my tarot cards and a blanket. A brand new magic city ritual occurred to me right then and there…

The Empire State Building, stood, lit in front of me.

She stood like a gigantic candle on top of the most lovely cake of New York City. Seconds before midnight, I would say my wishes and at the strike of midnight, on a rooftop in Brooklyn, I would take all the air into my lungs and blow the lights of the Empire State Building out.

The church bells rang in the distance, chiming twelve times to start the new day.

I had spoken my wishes out loud and started to blow on the wind – waiting for the Empire State Building to go out.

And I blew.

And I blew.

She was still shining white lights on the city.

And I looked at my watch.

And it was 5 minutes after midnight.

And I blew more.

And then it was 10 minutes after midnight.

And I realized that sometimes things change.

And I passed out, knowing that my wishes were definitely attached to that gorgeous old building and she would let the lights go out and deem wishes true whenever she damn well pleased.

She got an upgrade.

A fancy new light system debuted on New Years Eve like I wrote about here. But what I didn’t know, was that she now stays lit until 2am.

I was determined to try this again. I looked up the schedule for her lights and found something better.

At midnight, SHE was turning 82.

Ah. I see how it goes. She was willing to celebrate the end of my birthday at midnight going into April 30, if I was willing to celebrate HER birthday 26 hours later on May 1st.


So on May 1st, moments before 2am, Burke and I raced home. We unlocked our apartment, ran to our bedroom window and stood side by side, holding hands, wishing as hard as we could.

She wore peach that night.

And we were there to celebrate her.
And this city.
And the wild dreamers who are drawn to her light.

We whispered our wishes to her in a frenzy. Delicious. Goosebump inducing. Magic.

And on her 82nd birthday at 2am…we blew all of those gorgeous dreams to her, the candle of our city, the grand dame.

The wishes caught the wind.

And she flickered for a moment.

Before she went dark into the night.

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