2011 IAEC Dinner Cruise

2011-IAEC-Dinner-Cruise
View of New York City from the Princess

Details of the International Association of Elevator Contractors’ (IAEC) 18th-annual dinner cruise, held in New York City aboard the Princess

On August 18, despite the forecasted rain, the International Association of Elevator Contractors (IAEC) held its 18th-annual dinner cruise in New York City at Pier 81 aboard the Princess. It had been one of the wettest springs and summers in memory; however, the fears of uncooperative weather were deterred as attendees busily greeted each other. 

As the anchor was raised and the mooring ropes released, the Princess, carrying more than 320 attendees, began the three-hour trip along the Hudson River and around lower Manhattan. Although it started to rain and became windy, many sturdy elevator people remained on deck with their feet firmly planted as they swayed in rhythm with the waves.

Topics of conversation were myriad. Although many touched on the difficulties and concerns presented by a constricted market, most took the time to catch up with friends and swap elevator stories. Each new story proved funnier and more outrageous than its predecessor. The “topper” had to be the story about a group of building managers, who, during a modernization review, were walking down a hallway when, suddenly, one of the elevator doors opened. There, wearing only socks and shoes, was an elevator mechanic diligently working while singing opera at the top of his lungs. No comment was ever made during the brief serenade or after the doors closed. What was there to be said? It was New York City, it was summer, it was hot, and, hey, he was an elevator mechanic!

As the Princess made the return trip, night had fallen, and the city’s unique skyline was aglow with millions of lights, which appeared to hover just beyond one’s fingertips, ready to be plucked and stored away in memory. Passing the financial district, the absence of two great silhouettes drew different memories. Ten years had passed since those towers fell. The official source of the Hudson River is a lake known as “The Tear of the Clouds.” It is strangely fitting that this great river, spawned in a lake of tears, flows by such a wrenching site.

The concluding ceremony was held on the lowest deck, where much celebrating, drinking, and dancing to (very) loud music took place. This year, the event’s IAEC planners Joseph Neto, Jr. and William Mogg, surrounded by a “bevy of beauties” from their respective companies, presented a check for US$15,000 to Robert Merlo, Jr., Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) chairman. In recent years, the Eastern Region of the IAEC has raised as much as US$250,000 for the Foundation.

As the festivities ended and the boat was docked and goodbyes exchanged, eager anticipation of next year’s IAEC cruise started. Rain did fall as forecasted, but the enthusiasm and enjoyment for all was never dampened. It was New York City, it was summer, there were drinks and food a plenty, and, hey, we were all elevator people. 

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