500 drones will form a giant Candy Crush ad above NYC tonight

Five hundred light-equipped drones are being launched into the sky above New York City this evening to form a giant flying advertisement for the Candy Crush mobile game. (via Gothamist).

The 10-minute-long choreographed performance has been organized for the game’s 10th anniversary and will “turn the sky into the largest screen on the planet,” according to Fernanda Romano, chief marketing officer at Candy Crush.

Due to the city’s Avigation laws (which ban folks from flying a single drone in NYC, let alone 500), the drones will actually be launched from across the Hudson River in New Jersey but should be visible within a one-mile radius of Battery Park in lower Manhattan. The event was given a special use permit as New Jersey state parks also have restrictions on flying drones. This isn’t the first drone light show in the area, with a similar performance for the NBA draft in June this year making use of the same locational loophole.

NYC is hardly known as a popular destination for stargazing thanks to its light pollution, but a flying advertisement turning the literal sky into a commercialized billboard has understandably irked some of the city’s residents. “I think it’s outrageous to be spoiling our city’s skyline for private profit,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told Gothamist. “It’s offensive to New Yorkers, to our local laws, to public safety, and to wildlife.”

Regarding wildlife, there are concerns that the aerial light show could impact thousands of migratory birds in the area. “The Hudson is an important flyway for birds, and luckily it’s been dark,” said Dustin Partridge, the director of conservation and science at NYC Audubon. “To come in like this without thinking about the impacts on the environment and the birds that will be flying in the same air space as those drones is surprising.”