‘Red Beacon of Doom’: New Yorkers Alarmed by ‘Nightmare’ Empire State Building Siren

The tribute came across to many New Yorkers as ominous, unsettling, and just plain frightening.

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Nowhere is this truer than in New York City, which is currently the epicenter of the CoViD-19 pandemic in the United States. With over 36,000 cases and nearly 800 deaths as of Monday, hospitals and other critical services in the city have been pushed near the breaking-point as New Yorkers contend with the unprecedented health crisis.

On Monday evening, the iconic Empire State Building made a gesture of gratitude with a glaring light display filled with symbolism that would make clear the city’s gratitude toward critical healthcare personnel and first responders.

Instead, the gesture came across to many New Yorkers as ominous, unsettling, and just plain frightening.

In an announcement on Twitter, the building’s management wrote:

“Starting tonight through the COVID-19 battle, our signature white lights will be replaced by the heartbeat of America with a white and red siren in the mast for heroic emergency workers on the front line of the fight.”

And while the idea of solidarity and togetherness is always welcome in the resilient Big Apple, the sight of the skyscraper’s pulsating in blood-red amid low cloud cover struck many residents as simply bizarre—as if the city that never sleeps had become the realm of Mordor, fictional home to the Lord of the Rings arch-villain, Sauron.

“The @EmpireStateBldg reminding us that the city is in the middle of an emergency,” tweeted Rita King, who accompanied her tweet with video of the menacing scene.

While supportive of the cause, she added that she “recommend[s] that the siren be replaced by the iconic pulsing heartbeat effect to reassure our heroic healthcare workers that their efforts will succeed, and soothe nervous New Yorkers now sheltering in place.”

Raheem Kassam wrote:

https://twitter.com/RaheemKassam/status/1244835831308791808

Another user added: “We know we’ve really screwed things up when the Empire State Building gets mad.”

Other residents hilariously lambasted the good-intentioned gesture that resulted in what appeared to be a “Glowing Red Tower of Portending Doom.”

While New Yorkers greeted the poorly-executed gesture with characteristic good humor, the city has witnessed nothing less than a humanitarian disaster over the past days.

On Monday evening, the State of New York reported over 7,000 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to over 67,000, with more than half of the cases in NYC alone.

Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated that the worst of the novel virus outbreak is still yet to come despite hundreds of people dying in the 24 hours prior.

Greater Depression? Aerial Footage Shows Horror of America’s New ‘Breadlines’

A quick Google search shows the horrific scenes from the 1930s as Americans lined up by the thousands for food as The Great Depression struck fast, hard, and deep…

And here is today’s shocking ‘breadlines’ – This video shows hundreds of cars waiting to receive food from the Greater Community Food Bank in Duquesne, near Pittsburgh…

The last two food bank giveaways drew massive crowds and caused major delays on Route 837. When they had one at Kennywood last week, it drew over 800 cars and backed up for miles.

How did America go from “greatest economy ever” to “Greater Depression” so fast?

US Unemployment Rate Could Soon Reach 32%—During Great Depression It Peaked at 25%

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis are warning that if the current rate of U.S. job losses continues, the country’s unemployment rate could reach a staggering 32.1% by the end of June as the coronavirus pandemic-induced downturn sparks mass layoffs across the nation.

Miguel Faria-e-Castro, an economist with the St. Louis Fed, wrote in an analysis last week that 47 million more workers could lose their jobs by the end of the second quarter of 2020, bringing the total number of unemployed people in the U.S. to 52.8 million. As CNBC noted, that number would be “more than three times worse than the peak of the Great Recession.”

Faria-e-Castro’s projection of 32.1% unemployment would put the U.S. jobless rate significantly higher than the Depression-era peak of 24.9%.

“The projections are even worse than St. Louis Fed President James Bullard’s much-publicized estimate of 30% [unemployment],” CNBC reported. “They reflect the high nature of at-risk jobs that ultimately could be lost.”

Faria-e-Castro stressed that “the expected duration of unemployment” could matter more “than the unemployment rate itself, especially if the recovery is quick (and so duration is short).”

“These are very large numbers by historical standards,” Faria-e-Castro wrote, “but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

In response to the St. Louis Fed analysis, HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter tweeted, “It remains simply incredible that Congress is not even in town during a crisis of this magnitude.”

“An astonishing, bipartisan failure of government,” Carter added.

As Common Dreams reported last Friday, 3.3 million people filed jobless claims two weeks ago, shattering the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.

“I have been a labor economist for a very long time and I have never seen anything like this,” Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute wrote in a blog post last week. “Furthermore, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

More than 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg on Monday said they believe new Labor Department unemployment numbers set for release Thursday will be even higher.

Thomas Costerg, an economist at the investment firm Pictet Wealth Management, predicted that new jobless claims could be as high as 6.5 million while Goldman Sachs estimated 5.25 million.

New York magazine’s Eric Levitz wrote Monday that while the “St. Louis Fed’s projection is just a rough estimate… there’s reason to think its catastrophic prediction is in the right ballpark.”

“It’s hard not to suspect that most every part of our economic life is going to get worse before it gets better,” Levitz added.


By Jake Johnson | CommonDreams.org | Creative Commons

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