Bad Weather in New York Breaks NBC Tent
I entered the NBC Learning Plaza on Monday and I met Mr. Dante, a Scholastic editor, who would be my "sherpa" for a planned interview with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. My questions were ready, but Dante told me that the tent over the NBC Education Nation conference was collapsing under the weight of rain water. The ten was built over the Rockefeller Plaza ice skating rink to house the event.
A day before, NBC NIghtly News anchor Brian Williams described during a Teacher Town Hall meeting held in the tent that an inflatable roof designed to shelter Education Nation would not actually inflate. At the last moment, crew members found a replacement and the conference went on. However, a day later, as rain came pouring in over the city and sidewalks got drenched, so did the tent, leaking on dozens of dignataries including NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw.
"All of a sudden, Tom Brokaw told us that we needed to leave because of the weather," says Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic who was participating in the event. "So I have to say, with a lot of teachers and educators in the audience, it was orderly. Teachers know what to do because they teach others what to do."
She was talking about fire drills, tornado drills, and other emergencies that schools must be prepared for. Alexander knew how to evacuate the tent along with the other teachers. IF the audience had been another kind of audience, there might have been chaos.
As for the Education Nation conference, panels were moved upstairs into the NBC building. Some were held in the space set aside for Saturday Night Live comedy show, while others were held in the Dr. Oz studio.
No one was hurt and NBC pages and other workers certainly smoothed things out quickly. Like the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared, NBC certainly was.
PHOTO: Workers clear rain from the Education Nation Learning Plaza on Monday morning. (Photo: Amanda Hebert)