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Living It up in the City

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by Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick

There was a time, in the 1960s-1970s, where it was normal for couples to work in the city but move to the suburbs to live when they had children. They wanted backyards and good schools and safety for their kids. But, things have changed, particularly in the big cities, where high-rise residential buildings are proliferating. People are moving back to the cities — now where the action is. They want good views, a subway ride to work, museums and entertainment within walking distance. A prime example is NYC — easily the elevator capital of the U.S. — which we focus on in this issue.

Our Special Section on New York has at least nine articles with a leadoff by Kaija Wilkinson: Big Apple Business Boom. Comments from most majors are that the New York area is “crazy busy” across all boroughs. Most new construction is in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with several high-profile, record-breaking projects.

Modernizations are being driven by new codes, and many of the new buildings going up are residential as more start living in the city. All this drives business for OEMs, independents and suppliers. Other articles from the NYC section are:

  • TEI Takes on Challenges by Karen Jackson: The author gives an update on several projects TEI is working on, all of which are in the NYC metropolitan area.
  • Tribeca Triumph by Alexander J. Saltzman: The Woolworth Building in NYC was once the tallest in the world and an icon to commerce. Some very innovative elevator work was needed to turn it into luxury residences, while preserving commerce on lower floors.
  • One Wall Street by Wilkinson: A story of the complexity of NYC’s largest-ever office-to- condominium conversion, taking place very slowly. KONE has been tearing out 20 elevators on the perimeter and moving them to the center of the building so condos can have window views. A Whole Foods Market will anchor commercial space below.
  • Peelle: A NYC Institution by Michael J. Ryan: The Peelle Co. is celebrating 115 years in New York and being a key player since the 1800s. The author notes the NYC market requires quick problem resolution.
  • Co-Op City by Christopher Rosario: This details a massive, ongoing elevator modernization at a city within a city in the Bronx. With 160 elevators and 44,000 inhabitants, the job is proceeding slowly and should wrap up by 2023.
  • A Long Time Coming by Wilkinson: New York has passed the Elevator Safety Act, in which all elevator mechanics will have to be educated and licensed, in a similar move to those of 30 other states. This is described as a win for everyone — unions, associations, contractors, owners and the riding public.
  • Elevator Manufacturing in NYC by Dr. Lee Gray: Our historian tells how Elisha Graves Otis illustrated the safety of elevators in 1854, but he died soon after — in 1861. Many companies back then used his story to illustrate their own equipment and hoists.
  • Successful Implementation of a Mandated VT Periodic Inspection and Testing Program to Improve Safety and Reliability Emulating the NYC Model by Robert Cuzzi and Harry Vyas: This paper was part of the International Elevator & Escalator Symposium in Las Vegas. The authors recommend third-party inspections in line with the NYC Building Code. They outline the multiple benefits to all, especially in a “vertical city” like NYC.

We have a couple of articles that look to the future:

  • Thinking Forward by Matt Irvin: The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat points out futuristic buildings from NYC to Singapore with stops in Paris, Dubai, Riyadh and Shenyang. The trends are supertalls, observation decks and sky-high infinity pools.
  • Into the Future by Gray: The author had a lengthy conversation with thyssenkrupp MULTI CEO Michael Cesarz. Cesarz tells how MULTI began and where it is now. He also talked about its energy use, which is 70% lower than that of a conventional elevator. Cesarz also talked with Gray about vertical cities of the future.

This book is one of our largest of the year. Please enjoy!

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Elevator World | March 2020 Issue Cover

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