EVERY WEEK THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is lit in different colors. This lighting display offers an unusual seperation of space & time from the message delivered by the system.
Space: since the ESB is New York City’s tallest building, the lighting display atop it can be experienced from all over the city, as opposed to a more location-specific display, like the subway’s pixelboards that display the next station.
Time: The ESB lights are changed on average once per week, so the display lacks the immediacy of say, the clock atop the Virgin megastore, which is updated every millisecond, or weather forcasting building spires, like Toronto’s Canada Life Building (updated four times daily). This gives the ESB lights the appearance of permanence, until the viewer has repeated exposure, and notices the changes occur from one night to the next, or until the viewer learns the significance of a particular combination of colors (by reading the schedule in Time Out New York, or on the esb website).
*edit* The Canada Life Building has the weather beacon, not the Canada Trust Building, and it is updated 4 times daily, not immediately, from Environment Canada’s Station at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.