New York Events Set to Resume a Week After Hurricane Sandy

By Anna Sekula November 1, 2012, 5:51 PM EDT

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was one of the first major venues in Manhattan to resume operations after Hurricane Sandy, allowing the ING New York City Marathon and Fitness Expo to set up in time for its Thursday-morning opening.

Photo: Keith Sirchio for BizBash

Hurricane Sandy may have had a devastating impact on events in New York this week—prompting planners to cancel or postpone major conferences, fund-raisers, and other gatherings—but the disruptions to scheduling appear less pronounced for next week. 

In fact, despite an evacuation order and taking on water during the storm, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was one of the first major venues to reopen, resuming operations late Tuesday evening to allow the ING New York City Marathon and Fitness Expo to set up in time for its Thursday-morning kickoff. According to the convention center, all shows starting the week of November 5 will take place as planned, including Ad:Tech and the International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show. 

“A surprising number of people are going forward with their events,” says Bentley Meeker, owner of the eponymous lighting and staging company based in Manhattan. “While we also have a few postponements, we have very little in the way of cancellations. I think it really speaks to the value of events as a marketing tool that we don't have more cancellations." 

Other big events still scheduled for next week include the Billboard Touring Conference & Awards and NBC's Democracy Plaza, a public interactive exhibit and promotion in Rockefeller Center tied to the presidential election that will serve as the hub of election-night coverage from NBC News, Telemundo, and MSNBC. 

However, some—including Microsoft, which was scheduled to host a b-to-b event Monday—canceled plans, citing guest safety and experience. And those forging ahead are relying heavily on the city's infrastructure to be up and running this weekend. 

“As of now we are confident based on the city's efforts that we will be able to host our fund-raiser in its entirety,” says Rebecca Edmondson, director of public relations for Housing Works, which is holding designer sale Fashion for Action November 7 through 11. 

The organization, like many others, is working closely with representatives at its venue on potential obstacles. With some downtown venues on generators, producers are being cautious with the timing of load-ins, while lighting companies are looking at wireless options and candles. 

The situation across the Hudson is less rosy, especially given the extensive flooding, electrical outages, and damage in New Jersey. According to The New York Times, the New Jersey teachers' union canceled a conference planned for Atlantic City, which was expected to bring some 30,000 educators to the seaside town on November 8 and 9.

Nonetheless, the Atlantic City Alliance is hosting a daylong event to preview its $3 million public art project with Fung Collaboratives on November 9, offering to bus guests from New York to Atlantic City. 

The top priority for most is keeping event guests updated, with many looking to social media to make announcements. “The biggest element for us is probably attendee management,” says Adam Sloyer, the managing director of event agency Sequence, which is producing the 30th anniversary event for Enterprise Community Partners on Wednesday. “And proactively communicating to guests that the event is still on.”

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