BY Adam Lisberg
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Wednesday, June 9th 2010, 2:06 PM
The Empire State Building has a message to Mother Teresa - you don't deserve to be honored in lights.
The building has colored its famous lighting in the past for Mariah Carey, stock car driver Jimmie Johnson and drug-loving musicians the Grateful Dead, but its owner said Wednesday that Mother Teresa doesn't qualify.
"As a privately owned building, ESB has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations," said Anthony Malkin, head of the family company that owns the building.
The firm "no" comes after the Catholic League and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn both urged the city's tallest tower to turn its lights blue and white on Aug. 26 for what would have been her 100th birthday.
Quinn said she spoke to Malkin on Tuesday and hoped he would change his mind.
"He said he would reflect on it," Quinn said today. "It's a really wrong-headed decision that he has made. It's his private building, and he has the right to make it, but I think it's a hugely lost opportunity for the city."
Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the tower was lit red and white when Cardinal O'Connor died in 2000, and the lights were extinguished to mark the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
"Malkin has made his decision to stiff Catholics," said Donohue, who now plans an Aug. 26 demonstration outside the building. "His decision to double down at this juncture - in the face of massive support for our request - is something he will regret for the rest of his life."
Archbishop Timothy Dolan is monitoring the situation, a spokesman said. He earlier said he was stumped why a nun who devoted her life to helping the suffering was not deserving of the honor.
"I kind of shrug my shoulders with everybody else," Dolan said in March. "I guess there must be a reason. It'd be tough for me to understand a credible one, but I wish they'd kind of tell us. It's tough to be against Mother Teresa?"
The City Council is scheduled to consider a resolution Wednesday calling on the skyscraper to change its mind.
Malkin said the building lights itself up for religious holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Id al-Fitr, but not individuals.
"We try to use the lighting to celebrate everybody who thinks highly of the building," he told the New York Times last year. "We do important Western holidays, we have fun with the Mets versus the Yankees or the Jets versus the Giants."
The decision outraged tourists lining up to tour the building's 86th-floor observation deck today, who saw no earthly reason not to honor a heavenly nun.
"She's not just a Catholic figure - she's an inspiration to everybody," said Mary Shull, 54, visiting from northeast Tennessee.
Added Wesley Dessert, a 28-year-old social worker from Brooklyn: "It's an iconic building in New York, and she's an icon too. It's special to honor her 100th birthday. It's a milestone."
With Frank Lombardi and Samantha Shirley
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/06/09/2010-06-09_no_empire_state_building_refuses_to_light_up_in_honor_of_mother_teresa.html#ixzz0qNrFam6Z