New tower gives residents app to controls NYC spire colors

Queens residents will soon be able to lighten the night in this new rental.

Sven, a 958-unit Durst Organization property in Long Island City — where 288 apartments are income-restricted — will offer a dazzling amenity far beyond the typical luxury-market trappings of a screening room, a gym and a pool.

When leasing soft-launches on Monday, Sven will become the first building in New York where residents can illuminate the tippy tops of city towers — such as the 300-foot spire at One Bryant Park in Midtown — with just the tap of a finger.

Every tenant will receive membership to Spireworks, a mobile app launched within Durst in 2017, that lets its users control the colors and effects that glow at the summits of select Durst buildings — including at the 71-story Sven itself.

The 71-story Sven doesn't have a spire, but residents will also be able to play with the colors that dot its crown.
The 71-story Sven doesn’t have a spire, but residents will also be able to play with the colors that dot its crown, as this rendering shows.

Residents will also be able to control the chromatic display atop 151 W. 42nd St., which is known for its H&M signs, and — on certain occasions — the technicolor array at the peak of One World Trade Center, which Durst owns alongside the Port Authority.

Residents will have the ability “to change New York’s landscape,” said Dan Mogolesko, vice president of residential at Durst. “It’s a really special, intimate experience for the user that all of New York can see.”

Previously, access to Spireworks was exclusive — available by invitation only — and was a favorite flex of architect Bjarke Ingels, who loved to change the colors of building tops to wow guests at cocktail parties. It created such a craze in its early days that the app’s founder, Mark Domino, who’s also the director of digital at Durst and son-in-law of the organization’s honcho Douglas Durst, asked Tinder to take down a profile seeking to pay $1,000 for an otherwise free membership. 

Spireworks opened its doors to corporate events and charities since then. Now, the app has more than 33,000 users. It estimates its numbers will increase by 1,000 to 3,000 per day at Sven.

Sven marks the first residential building in the city where residents have access to Spireworks.
Sven is the first residence in the city to have Spireworks access.
Giles Ashford, The Durst Organization

“That’s significant for us,” Domino told The Post, adding that the invite program is on pause and that Durst is looking for other growth opportunities for Spireworks, such as opening it up to commercial tenants. “It’s not going to double our size or anything — we’re well beyond that — [but] it will definitely bring new interest to all of our lighting installations.”

Spireworks app users can see all available light fixtures and play with them. If there’s no event running — such as a display for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, which has set colors — they’ll be able to see the more general palette Durst set for that particular night. After waiting in a queue (“Tens of minutes tops,” said Domino) users will have a two-minute-long session to change the colors and even play with light effects, such as pulsing or glittering gestures. You can have brief collaboration with up to five other users at once, or you could even play competitively.

Sven, which doesn’t have a spire, will offer residents a months-long, and exclusive, access to change the hues at its crown.

Certain units at Sven look out to the Manhattan towers whose spires tenants can light, which will also include One World Trade Center on occasion.
Sven units look out at the Manhattan towers, whose spires tenants may light. This will occasionally include One World Trade Center.
Giles Ashford, The Durst Organization

“I think with Sven it’s going to be holiday colors since we’re launching so soon,” said Domino. “And then going into the new year it will be more of an open palette, more of a rainbow going into the winter and spring.”

What’s more, a number of south- and west-facing units at Sven will have Manhattan-facing views, and vistas of the buildings whose colors residents can change.

Beyond this light-up perk, Sven — at 29-59 Northern Boulevard — has studios to three-bedrooms priced between $2,950 and $6,000 per month. Handel Architects created the interiors of Sven. It features washer/dryers as well floor-to-ceiling Windows that tenants can tint with an App. Beyond a screen room and a swimming pool, the amenities include private dining rooms, co-working areas, and a poker room. Durst handles leasing from the onsite office.

Rents will run between $3,000 to $6,000 per month, but 288 units are income-restricted.
While rents are expected to range between $2,950 and $6,000 per monthly, there will be 288 income-restricted units.
Giles Ashford, The Durst Organization

Spireworks is also available for on-the go and at-home flexibility.

“It is a really rounded experience, because you find yourself in funny places — on the ferry boats or inbound flights, things like that,” said Domino.

However, it may also help to give an impression of place.

“It can get you to connect with your city for a second,” he added.

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Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

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