An Open Letter to the Empire State Building,
June 9, 2011
Dear Empire State Building,
I read in the news how the producers of the Spider-Man musical had asked you to change the color of your lights for their opening night. You turned them down, and for the right reason! Their show has nothing to do with you. How right you were to point out that they, in fact, feature your arch-nemesis, the Chrysler Building. It’s like Peter Parker asking Clark Kent to be his best man, am I right? Boy, I hope that irony isn’t lost on them. And kudos to you for your gutsy call.
I’m worried, though, that your refusal may have left you with a lighting gap in your schedule. Never fear, I have the perfect solution for you. On Thursday, July 14th, Simon & Schuster will proudly be launching my new WW2 adventure novel, THE ASTOUNDING, THE AMAZING, AND THE UNKNOWN at the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. Please, turn your lights yellow to help me kick off my book in true New York style.
Not only is the Chrysler Building not in my book, but you’re practically one of the stars! And though my book is fiction, the part you play is based on some amazing true facts. First of all, you were the New York headquarters for the Kamikaze Group—a band of science fiction writers including Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov recruited by the military to create super-weapons. Remember that? Eventually, this oddball group finds themselves trapped in your sub-basement, menaced by the frigid spring waters of Minetta Stream which still flow beneath you. My characters have a discussion about your founder, Al Smith. I don’t think there’s even anyone named Smith in the whole Spider-Man musical cast, let alone a conversation, or even a song.
Why yellow? Have you seen my book jacket, yet? It’s gold foil, man. In fact, it’s the same beautiful gold that they used for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! And look how that book turned out. Your building will positively glow—radiating positivity across the skyline. And let me say this about the Mysterious Bookshop: it’s a New York institution, charming and just the kind of neighborhood business we need to celebrate at this time. Meanwhile, the Foxwoods Theatre? What is that, something from Connecticut? Plus the early reviews on my book have been much better than that show’s. Library Journal said that, “it’s so much fun that it virtually defines what light fiction should be.”
I think it’s been awhile since you’ve changed your lights for a book, hasn’t it? Think about the children—how many of them will be inspired to read when they see your golden light on July 14th. I’ve filled out your application and have submitted it. You should have it by now.
Here’s what I’m proposing to make it worth your while. I’ll spend all day at the Empire State Building, handing out free copies, and signing them! Then I’ll slip downtown for a little while to do my reading. By that time, the sun will be waning, and I’ll bring my Mysterious Bookshop audience uptown—by bus if I have to—and we’ll all go upstairs to join others for the lighting. I’ll read a little more, if people want. Then we’ll celebrate at the Empire Room. The massive Simon & Schuster publicity machine will generate enough publicity for this that I can almost guarantee we’ll have press following us from the store to the summit of New York. Did I mention that they have over 122,000 Twitter followers alone?
I’m going to post this letter on-line and set up a petition. I’m hoping a groundswell of support will help convince you that people want to see literature shining like a beacon from New York’s still most-beautiful and awe-inspiring building. Please, Empire State Building, don’t turn off the dark for reading—turn on the gold for THE ASTOUNDING, THE AMAZING AND THE UNKNOWN.