No one at ELEVATOR WORLD is fan of Zoom screenshots. Most people look odd, old and disconnected (pun intended). However, in the January 2021 issue of their NEII Insider newsletter, our friends at the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) recently shared a lovely Zoom screenshot of the staff wishing the industry a Happy New Year. The colorful, doctored-up shot shows staff holding masks in front of a background of fireworks. Each team member looks happy, youthful and hopeful. Pictured are: Executive Director Amy Blankenbiller, Chelsea Chaney, Government Affairs; Nicole Van Velzen, Communications, Katelyn Baldwin, CodeFinder Database editor, Megan Hensley, project manager; new team member Phil Grone, Government Affairs; Kevin Brinkman, Codes & Safety and John Carlson, Codes. Cheers, NEII! All Zoom screenshots should look like this.
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.
Don Gelestino, president of Champion Elevator in NYC and good friend of ELEVATOR WORLD, recently shared on his LinkedIn page a link to a blog posted by Avire on its website that we found fascinating, and a great read for anyone sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: “The History of Elevators: Where Did it All Begin?” If you said it started with Elisha Graves Otis in the 1850s, you’d be wrong. Turns out, you’d have to go back about two millenia to possibly find the answer: Tradition has it that Archimedes, the renowned ancient Greecian scientist, invented the elevator in 236 BCE. We say “possibly,” because the ancient Egyptians are believed to have used a hoisting device, powered by animals or good-old human elbow grease, to build the pyramids more than 2,000 years before the birth of Archimedes.
Granted, we’ll probably never know who first used an elevator-like contraption, but the Avire blog does take us through the device’s documented history, noting that they were used in the Roman Colosseum (built between 70 and 80 CE), and were popular among 18th-century monarchs. Finally, the Avire post takes us through a timeline of post-Otis improvements. It even hints at what the next big thing may very well be.