As residents of New York, New Jersey and the rest of the Northeast began to slowly but steadily dig out from the havoc of Hurricane Sandy, likewise did the tradeshow industry peek out from under the covers, stand up, shake itself off and begin to take stock of its situation.
In essence: It could have been worse.
In a way that not many could have anticipated just a couple of days earlier, New York City and Atlantic City were the hardest hit. A couple of big shows at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center were po
stponed, including ISC East, one of the biggest security-related shows held every year.
ange their plans at the last minute—but they did not find themselves trapped when the storm hit.
Probably the biggest show already open that was anywhere close to being in danger would have been the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Meeting at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where 12,000 attendees were already in place by Sunday night. Show officials said there was an abbreviated schedule of previously planned events on Monday, but otherwise few, if any, disruptions.
As it would happen, our sister publication FOLIO: had scheduled its major annual event, MediaNext, to open on Monday in midtown Manhattan: 1,000-plus attendees, 40 or 50 conference panels and somewhere around 60 exhibiting companies. No ASTRO or ISC East, perhaps, but a sizable event for the magazine industry and a monumental set of decisions to be made about people’s safety.
As of Friday afternoon, the decision was to proceed as planned, assuming the best. However, by Sunday morning it was clear the event would have to be postponed. There were just far too many risks involved. Naturally, it turned out to be the right decision. By Monday night, Manhattan was essentially cut off from the rest of the world, a large portion of it was without electrical power and there was substantial infrastructure damage caused by flooding throughout the city.
A close call, but the right decision.
Michael Hart is the executive editor of EXPO Magazine.