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Coming of Age in New York

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This month, our focus is on modernization with a special emphasis and section on the New York City (NYC) area. My family has a long history with NYC. I first came to the city when I was 16 (a birthday present from my parents). Ironically, my paternal grandmother also came to NYC when she was 16, but she came via Ellis Island as a Hungarian refugee. My father was born to her on Tremont Avenue in the Bronx and worked in NYC as a young man. He later returned to the city yearly to write about the projects and companies of the elevator industry. When my son turned 16, we went to, of course, NYC, and now, T.Bruce has two daughters living, dancing and studying in that amazing city. The oldest went there when she was just 13. In my family, we all seem to gravitate to NYC at a very young age. Perhaps the old adage “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” is true.

It’s appropriate that our focus topic this month is Modernization. In addition to maintenance, this aspect of the industry has kept our industry alive over the past five years of deep recession. John King of Cab Solutions writes about modernizing the elevators at the Beaux Arts Building in NYC working with PS Marcato Elevator and using a wide range of suppliers — Man-D-Tec, Forms+Surfaces and Adams Elevator. Magnetek took a 30-year-old system at 385 Madison Avenue and installed the first Quattro AC drive in the U.S. to bring it up to speed. Susan Flyzik of Eklund’s, Inc. wrote of her company’s modernization of nine elevators at Premier Place, Dallas. By far the most challenging and interesting mods involved inserting large things into small places. Ralph M. Newman writes in Elevator Modernization of Columbia working with Elevator Equipment Corp. to get a 2,500-lb. elevator stuffed into a 1,500-lb. shaft. The ways to save space were fascinating. Again, in only the smallest space, ThyssenKrupp Elevator modernized an escalator in the Sants Station in Barcelona. Because the original escalator was between two walls, the new escalator (an iMod) was installed in modules built to fit.

The New York Special Regional Section (our first regional section) started out as an eight-pager and ended up being 40 pages. What did you expect? It’s New York! The city itself has 35% of the tall buildings in the entire U.S. James Marinelli of Electrodyn writes about the New Requirements for NYC Elevator Systems. He serves on the NYC Elevator Code Committee and estimates there are 72,000 elevators in the city — and they are the largest, oldest, and most diverse and complicated equipment in the vertical-transportation industry. Daniel Safarik of The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat writes in Global Interchanges about the resurgence of the skyscraper in NYC after 9/11 and the 2008 recession. Nikolai Fedak, founder and editor-in-chief of New York YIMBY, notes that you can “Never [be] Too Tall or Too Thin” in NYC. His article talks of handling the space crunch in the city by going up and even cantilevering over other buildings. In their Readers Platform, On the Same Page, Ray Downs and Robert Pitney of TEI Group suggest industrywide safety standards. Peelle’s Michael J. Ryan writes in Old Buildings, New Purpose about large-box buildings that are being repurposed in Brooklyn, bringing 1,300 manufacturing and retail jobs to the area and urban farming on the rooftops. Liberty Elevator’s Muttart brothers had a hand in the elevator work with Peelle. Meanwhile, Columbia’s L.J. Blaiotta speaks of the Elegant Entrances in the Big Apple and his company’s commitment to supplying them. ELEVATOR WORLD’s own Lee Freeland wrote a history of the Elevator Conference of New York, an association with a penchant for education and promotion. Business Is Booming in the Big Apple, according to EW’s Kaija Wilkinson, who spent many days on the phone finding out who (in NYC) is building tall, who’s doing mods, who’s adding staff, and how they all handle the workload. Finally, FIELDBOSS writes about a method of automating operations, and tracking violations and repairs in Managing Elevator Contractor Operations. What a fully packed special section! Look out, Chicago; you’re next.

Much of the building going on in NYC is very pricey high-rise residential space. This is already a city of 8 million, but it continues to grow. Just like my own family, who came early and often to the Big Apple, it seems that many young people are coming and staying — and hoping to make the fortune it costs to live there.  

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