Time for Wasting Time: Fascinating Niche Escalator Podcast

We have our own podcast, sure, but it’s just us reading the daily news, newscaster style — a simple way for vertical-transportation buffs to keep up with the latest news by simply logging on to our site and plugging in their earphones. Apparently, there are other vertical-transportation-specific podcasts out there that get a little more jiggy with it. Your author found out about one such such podcast through The Guardian, in a piece titled, “A show about escalators, a show about cows: what’s your favourite extremely niche podcast?” Guardian writers described Australia’s Lindsey Green’s “People Movers” podcast about escalators as an “absolute joy,” with a “well-defined sense of sound design and humor throughout.” Your author visited Green’s podcast website, and was very impressed by the segment titles and photos, such as this one of Green at the Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system in Hong Kong — the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world — which has been featured in ELEVATOR WORLD. We are looking forward to actually listening to Green’s podcast, but fear it will be a tremendous — but fun and informative — time waster.

Green’s joy from riding Hong Kong’s Central-Mid-Levels escalator system in Hong Kong — the longest in the world — is apparent.

“You think you’re better than me???”

The above is a quote by Izzy Mandelbaum, an 80-year-old fitness enthusiast portrayed on Seinfeld by the late, great Lloyd Bridges. Mandelbaum, along with his elderly son, Izzy Jr., and even more elderly father, Izzy Sr…loved weightlifting and lived in the same retirement community — the fictional Del Boca Vista — as Jerry Seinfeld’s parents. The Mandelbaums were fierce when it came to physical training and competition, and Mandelbaum techniques landed them in the hospital. Twice.

I couldn’t help but think of the Mandelbaums when I read the story and saw the video on CBS affiliate Channel 12 News of a misunderstanding between two senior citizen neighbors in a condo high rise in Miami Beach, Florida. With property managers limiting elevator capacity to two in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, an 86-year-old gentleman attempted to enter an elevator already carrying a 72-year-old man and his wife. The elder man misunderstood the 72-year-old’s holding up two fingers. He meant “two passengers only,” but the older man interpreted the gesture as a “peace” sign. What ensued was anything but peaceful, as the younger man shoved the older one to prevent him from entering the elevator and is now facing assault charges.

Nerves are frayed in the COVID-19 era, and it’s a shame these longtime neighbors clashed in such an unpleasant way. Here’s hoping the situation comes to an amicable conclusion.

Escalator Invention in the Running for LEGO League Championship

A recent article from Louisville, Kentucky’s WAVE 3 News is about a sharp team of fourth- through sixth-grade students in a local robotics program who aim to make escalators more accessible to those who can’t see well. The Good Vibrations invention uses a transducer to produce vibrations on escalator steps so riders can feel where they are.

Portland Christian School’s first LEGO League team “is causing a stir in the robotics world,” the source says. 11-year-old programmer Lydia Kratt inspired her five fellow members to help those like a friend of hers with disabilities overcome fears of escalators. They’re in the process of patenting the device for such public places as churches, airports and malls. They ranked third of 49 teams across Kentucky, earning an invitation to the national competitions. They also won first place for a LEGO League Global Innovation award, which recognizes the best project ideas most likely to be implemented.

The sight impaired traditionally use elevators for vertical transportation, where Braille is common. Is it a great idea for them to use escalators, too? Check out the video included in the link above to see how the device works and what the inventors have to say about it.