18 August 2004

Previous reports on the RNC:


Cryptome toured the Empire State Building yesterday, took the photos below. ESB's located a couple of blocks east of Madison Square Garden where the Republican National Convention will be held, and offers a singular panoramic view of New York City, the Garden, the nightspots where the GOP nobbies will hoedown, and eyeball of targets galore outside and inside the building -- which itself is bragged locally to be No. 1 Iconic NYC Bullseye, "come rent courageously at a discount."

The tour and photo-taking used a couple of hours, most of that waiting in line to get uptop and back down. It's a two-stage ride, a fast elevator to the 80th floor, then 6 floors to the 86th floor observatory. For the last flight, due to crowds waiting, near rioting, to get on the elevators, harried attendants suggested using the stairs, which we did up and down.

Most of the "no re-entry" fire doors in the stairwell were partly open to the building interior floors, probably for ventilation. A sweltering guard was seen through one of the doors. Open doors in stairwells is serious fire code lapse. It is also a grave security lapse for attendants did not accompany visitors. Guarding an open door does not relieve the code violation. Some of the doors appeared to have defective code-requried automatic closers.

Some of the "floors" were double-height, which migh indicate they housed mechanical and electrical equipment, considered to be the most hazardous spaces in a building which require by code extra measures of safety and fire protection, with fire-proof, self-closing doors obligatory.

Unescorted on the way to the stair, we passed offices on the 80th floor, an architect's name on the door of one, a professional colleague, and we wondered if our colleague was aware that safety and security measures ostentatiously in force at the lobby were being breached high up in the structure. Probably not: few occupants in high-rise buildings regularly examine exit stairs before a disaster, architects least likely.

The visitor accommodations appeared overloaded for safe occupancy and exit in an emergency, although that often happens in tourist traps during peak seasons, not only in NYC. Still, this is the Greatest City in the World's No. 1 showpiece for safety and security. No. 1 after the previous No. 1 safe-and-secure pair failed safe and became the burg's No. 1 disaster gawk.

The RNC convention site and neighborhood from the Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observatory, looking west.

The press bridge across 8th Avenue between the Garden and Farley P.O.
The red-clothed sagging beam to the left of bridge. We've warned the AP team
to beware this beam collapsing when the press herd rushes the bridge.

Empire State Building from West 34th Street, observatory outlined. 1 Penn Plaza at right.