“You need to get down here! Don’t tear that out!” Those are the words Pete Mortellano of Tampa-St. Petersburg-based G&M Contracting heard over the phone when G&M employees were working to incorporate a restaurant into The Detroit, an 1890s hotel-turned-condominium building, Fox 13 News reports. What the person on the phone was referring to was a fancy antique elevator, with an ornate green cab trimmed in gold, along with all its mechanisms. In addition to the dazzling cab, also entombed in the walls were an electric motor, transfer case, spool, cabling and a hand-wired, hand-numbered switching panel. The system was made by The Warner Elevator Mfg. Co., and was in use when John F. Kennedy campaigned in Tampa-St. Pete in 1959. Fox newscaster Lloyd Sowers said the owners of the new restaurant plan to preserve the elevator, which “even though it hasn’t moved in decades, is now the express elevator to a different age.”
Robots delivering food and supplies to quarantined COVID-19 patients in Chinese hotels, while indisputably strange and sci-fi, makes perfect sense. Now robots, outfitted with virus-killing ultraviolet (UV) light systems, have been enlisted at London Heathrow airport in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the BBC reports. Here, the short, rounded robots — which bring to mind R2D2 — cruise the terminals and enter areas like restrooms (when unoccupied, of course) to disinfect them with powerful UV light (which is also harmful to human skin, hence the provision restrooms be unoccupied.) In the video below, the host describes the airport’s other virus-fighting measures, including retrofitting escalators with UV-light sanitation systems and placing anti-viral coatings on high-touch areas such as escalator handrails and lift buttons.
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.