Michaela Merz

November in New York

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621187_web_R_by_Sylvia Krahl_pixelio.deNew York is terribly expensive but one pays for uniqueness. That’s the law of demand and supply. I have always wanted to make my turns with skating shoes on the absolutely tiny ice in front of the Rockefeller Center. The dream became true for mere 29 dollars entrance and 15 dollars for the rental of the skating shoes. But the adrenalin kick I already got before. In the news I saw a report about two men, who had been cleaning the windows of the highest building of the World Trade Center on Ground Zero out of a lift. The nightmare of all window cleaners became real when the left rope respectively the steering mechanism stopped working and the platform on which the two men were standing was no longer in horizontal position but almost vertical to mother earth and all that in the dizzy height of the 70th floor. The two of them were hanging there for 90 minutes, waiting for their rescue, which came from inside of the building through a broken window. From the outside one could still see the provisionally repaired window for days. At the end of the interview the two rescued men were asked whether they would continue working in their job and the younger one answered – “Sure, but for a certain time only indoor service. One also has to clean the windows from the inside”.

I thought of these two when I got ready to sleep in my hotel room in the 28th floor. As the jet lag made itself felt brutally, I was fast asleep within seconds. Sometime an unknown noise woke me, as if an alarm clock or radio turns on. I was angry but not willing to let my sleep be disturbed. And suddenly someone said in my room that there is water damage on the 27th floor, please keep ready for further information.

I sat up in my bed, turned on the light and discovered a radio system under the ceiling. Of course, I thought, they have to be able to reach the guests fast in case of an emergency. But what has water damage on a lower floor to do with me? Water can neither climb up the stairs nor take the elevator to come up, if anything, it must be the floors below having a problem.

I remembered how years ago I stayed in a cheap hotel in London. It was an old building and our rooms were on the third floor. We had seen the musical Mamma Mia and at about 1am I was in the shower and wanted to go to sleep soon. Then my oldest daughter, who was with me in London, came into the shower. Mummy, she said, I think there is a fire alarm. And indeed, there was a fire alarm but I was not ready to leave the room naked. Within minutes we were standing in front of the hotel and could admire the pyjamas of our fellow lodgers. And then already the fire brigade arrived. It was cold and many were shivering but there was not much to be done. After half an hour the spook was over, a drunken student had caused the alarm as a joke. We got tea and for the next hour there were many agitated discussions at the reception and at the bar among the pyjama wearers about the fire and the alarm.

By then the next announcement came from the radio in my room saying that the evacuation instruction would follow shortly and that I should get ready. From the third floor of that old hotel I could have roped along the rain drain to save ground if absolutely needed. But how on earth does one rescue oneself from the 28th floor? I got up, looked out in the corridor and there was nothing and nobody, I studied the emergency plan and again the two window cleaners came to my mind.

The entire thing was not logical at all! Why does the floor above get alarmed, if there is water damage below? Why such unsettling announcements in the middle of the night? Adrenalin spread through my entire body and I was wide awake. But now further information came. I checked again the corridor and then I returned to bed and slept again.

Believe me, it is not a pleasant feeling to ponder in dizzy heights of a New York hotel about how to get back to save ground.

Bildquelle: Sylvia Krahl  / pixelio.de

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