After explaining that I am not really what you’d call “on-air talent”—I’m a writer, after all—NFPA media guru Kyle MacNaught persuaded me to film an interview about the time I spent touring St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s new water mist fire suppression system. Thanks to him, I think the video offers some nice additional insight for readers about this New York City landmark, and the lengths engineers went through to design and install a fire suppression system to ensure that the cathedral will be around for centuries to come.
There was so much going on in the cathedral—$177 million worth of restorations and 135 years of history—it was hard to squeeze it all into the feature story about the new system, published this month in NFPA Journal.
Aside from the cavernous attic and its new mist system, the magnificent building in midtown Manhattan has many stories to tell. From the crypt below the alter where past Archbishops of New York are buried, to the priest “locker rooms” where Fathers get ready to perform mass, to the myriad stairwells, stone passageways and stained-glass windows hidden from public view. It was a privilege to see the landing halfway up the cathedral’s north tower where firefighters have gathered for generations to train. Many had traced their names and the dates on the dusty windowpanes. Some names dated back to the late 19th century; four of the names belonged to firefighters who died during the 9/11 terrorists attacks.
Many thanks to Kate Monaghan, Tom Newbold and Ron Pennella for showing me around the cathedral that day. And, many thanks to Kyle and his editing skills.
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