Private enterprise to the rescue!

How Victoria’s Secret Saved the National Guard During Hurricane Sandy

The initial call to the Victoria’s Secret crew came at about 7:20 on Tuesday morning. Consulting producer Dave Shapiro and his co-workers were staying a block away at the Hotel Giraffe. They came over, and ran some feeder lines from the Aggreko generators through a transformer and into the building. Some basic lights in the hallways and the basement’s hot water heater were back up and running. It was enough to get started.

Then one of the associate producers suggested they might be able to power the whole armory up. They went into the basement and found the main switch connecting the century-old landmark to the lines of Con Edison, the local utility. The idea was to shut down the connection between Con Ed, then attach the Victoria Secret lines during to the armory’s busbar — the long metal strips that conduct electricity to a switchboard. It was a kludge, and it had to be done right: the producers didn’t want to fry the building when the local Con Ed substation finally started generating electricity again. “I have to admit, I was very skeptical,” Shapiro says.

But it worked. By 7 p.m on Tuesday night, the armory was fully powered; even the elevators worked.

The soldiers were still having communications problems, though. Many of the local cell towers were down, and so was the armory’s internet’s connection. Luckily, Shapiro had answer for that, too. For the show, he had leased a T1 line connected to a microwave dish on the roof. “We plopped two routers in their command center,” he says, “and now they’re sitting on our internet backbone.”

The troops also needed help distributing food. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had begun bringing tractor-trailers’ worth of emergency provisions to the armory. It was up to the troops to break up the pallets, load them in military trucks, and bring them to the seven distribution centers in Manhattan where the Salvation Army would hand out meals to Hurricane victims. One problem: the 69th didn’t have a fork lift. So again, they turned to the Victoria’s Secret crew.

Here you have it!

Meanwhile, Bloombito decided the Marathon wasn’t a good idea.

Over at the White House,

Where’s Obama? In Vegas, with Eva.

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One Response to “Private enterprise to the rescue!”

  1. Kermit Says:

    Not really that tricky to throw the disconnect switchgear from ConEd off and have a temporary connection with the generator.

    My neighbor, a chemical engineer, has that setup for his portable generator to his home wiring system.

    Good work.