After it created a controversy by refusing to illuminate the iconic skyscraper in honour of Mother Teresa, the Empire State Building (ESB) management has cited religious ground to justify its stand.
The management of the 102-storied building had turned down a request by advocacy group Catholic League to go blue and white to mark Nobel laureate Mother Teresa's 100th birthday on August 26.
"The Empire State Building celebrates many cultures and causes in the world community with iconic lightings, and has a tradition of lightings for the religious holidays of Easter, Eid ul-Fitr, Hanukah, and Christmas," Anthony E Malkin, owner of the building, said in a statement.
"As a privately owned building, Empire State Building has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations," he added.
The top of the world's most famous building dons a different colour that corresponds to an important event that is happening or falls on that day. It goes blue and white, for instance on World Ocean's Day or just blue on the day Columbia University students graduate each year.
The Empire management has come under criticism, not only for the decision, but also for not immediately revealing the reasons for the refusal.
There has also been a display of public outrage against the pronouncement especially in light of Mother Teresa's exceptional and decades spanning humanitarian work.
The New York City Council has challenged the decision of the management.
According to local media reports, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had met with Malkin to voice her opposition to the decision.
CBS News reported City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr has introduced a bill formally requesting the tribute on behalf of the City.
"She deserves better. She's one of the greatest women history has ever known," he said.
Meanwhile, NewYorkology reported that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said he would light up Brooklyn Borough Hall in blue and white on August 26 to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Mother Teresa.
"Borough Hall may not be as tall as the Empire State Building, but it is Brooklyns oldest public building and one of the oldest in New York City and what better place than our diverse borough to celebrate not only Mother Teresa...," Markowitz said in a statement.
The three tiers of the building light have also been lit up for private functions - most famously pink when Mariah Carey launched her album and went yellow when the Simpsons movie came out on DVD, according to the Huffington Post.
It also goes green on St Patrick's Day and green, white and orange on India's Independence Day.