The Generator is the Machine of the Moment

So, this story came together during Christmas and New Year's. Not an ideal time to report. It was slow going for a while, then the day I was to file the piece, a bunch of developers began calling me unprompted after hearing through the grape vine what I was working on. That rarely happens and it is a good day for a reporter when it does! I think developers saw this as an opportunity to reassure potential buyers that their buildings wouldn't be impacted if (or rather when) there is another Hurricane Sandy.

I actually got quite a bit of news into the story as well, including that Time Equities is rethinking its condominium project at 50 West Street and may replace its hotel with retail; and that the wealthy owners at Superior Ink in the West Village forked over $1 million last month to start renovations on its building rather than wait for the insurance money.

The other struggle with this piece was how to illustrate it. Generators aren't exactly sexy. I think the photographer did a good job, considering what he had to work with.

Here's the top of the story:

(The New York Times) In the days that followed Hurricane Sandy, the developer of the luxury condominium 150 Charles Street hunkered down with his team of architects and engineers to rethink the building’s design.

Just steps from the Hudson River, the construction site was partially flooded. “Their mandate was to figure out how the building would have stayed open in a storm like this,” said Steven Witkoff, the developer. “They came back with a list of five things, and we implemented every single one.”

HIGH AND DRY At 116 John Street, the backup generator is on the roof. Many buildings are considering moving mechanical systems out of basements to reduce the risk of flood damage. Credit: Evan Sung for the New York Times