Thursday, June 17, 2010

USS Intrepid honors Teresa

Last Updated: 4:46 AM, June 15, 2010
Posted: 2:30 AM, June 15, 2010

The Intrepid is lighting the way.

The iconic museum announced yesterday it would glow in blue and white on Aug. 26 to honor Mother Teresa on what would have been her 100th birthday -- a tribute the Empire State Building has refused to make, sparking fury across the city.

"We'd be thrilled to represent what Mother Teresa has done in terms of public service. We are the essence of public service. We give back every day," said Susan Marenoff, executive director of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

She refused to criticize Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin, who has been criticized by Catholic groups and politicians throughout the five boroughs for denying a request to light his skyscraper in the colors of the late nun's order.

Marenoff contacted City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has taken up this cause, after hearing news reports about the Empire State Building controversy.

Malkin last week issued a statement attributing his decision to a policy of not lighting the building for religious or political events.

"Every venue has the right to decide what is appropriate for them. I think it is appropriate and very relevant for us," Marenoff said.

The aircraft carrier museum is illuminated red, white and blue most nights, so the staff will simply replace their red lighting with additional blue and white lights.

Quinn, who has tried to no avail to persuade Malkin to change his mind, said his refusal has inspired New Yorkers, with more than 400 joining a Facebook page she set up to commemorate Mother Teresa.

"The message here is that New Yorkers are inspired to do everything they can with the power and resources they have to spread the message of Mother Teresa," Quinn said.

"We're not going to let one individual's rejection of that stand in the way of the rest of the city embracing this message."

She said it is "disappointing that the most iconic building in the city won't be part of this."

The Post yesterday reported that the 14-story Hutchinson Metro Center in The Bronx also will light up blue and white on Aug. 26.

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