Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

McLaren Helps Bring The Wall to Life Again in 2010

February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Widely hailed as one of the most technically ambitious rock concerts ever, Roger Waters’ The Wall Live tour of 2010 combined complex engineering feats to produce a spectacular set of audience experiences, including fireworks, oversized puppets, and the live construction and demolition of a brick wall over the course of the show.  McLaren Engineering produced the engineering of the mechanisms to enable this extraordinary show, which Entertainment Division Vice President Bill Gorlin describes as, “more like theater than a rock concert.”  Through months of close collaboration with the production team, Designer Mark Fisher, and scenic vendors Tait Towers, Brilliant Stages, and SGPS, McLaren was able to help produce a set that not only creates incredible experiences for the audience but is also safe and optimized for efficient breakdown and transport.

The centerpiece of the tour is a massive brick wall which is slowly constructed between the audience and the musicians, serving symbolic purposes and acting as a projection surface for the onslaught of artistic imagery used to convey the concert’s socio-political themes.  At the climax of the show, the wall is violently torn down as bricks crash to the floor.  To create a reliably stable wall show after show, McLaren engineered telescoping brick stabilizers which form spines inside the stacks of bricks as the wall is constructed, slowly growing with the wall so as to be hidden from the audience’s view.  As the wall grows, technicians use lifts placed behind the wall to build higher and higher.  Design of the stabilizers and lifts were challenging – not only did they need to be tall, supportive and stable, but they also needed to be slender and lightweight enough to fit tight constraints for space and transportability.  At the end of the show, the stabilizers retract and use paddles to knock down the bricks in a dramatic finish, and after the audience exits, the whole system is packed up and moved to the next city.

Many other elements of the show required determined engineering to enable the elaborate movement and lighting needed to bring The Wall to life.  Enormous inflatable puppets of the Mother, the Wife, and the Teacher required onstage tracks and lifts, and the band itself had a set of lifts in the forestage area.  Sophisticated lighting effects were achieved using a cyberhoist, consisting of a circular truss suspended above the stage with eight movable trolleys each with their own on-board winch and hung lighting unit.  Spotlights and their operators were rigged to fly above the stage and audience, and after much iteration of prototypes, eventually were simplified to only vertical and up/downstage axes of motion in order to enable the crew to dismantle the rig in a timely fashion and keep the tour on schedule. 

Though this wide range of technical challenges is rarely seen in a rock concert, with McLaren’s help Roger Waters was able to produce a fitting tribute and 21st century update to the legendary The Wall Tour of the 1980’s.

McLaren’s Survey Division Welcomes Donald O. Viele

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Surveying is a foundation that enables the development of any engineering project.  Though the design for a structure or site plan may look great on paper, until the boundary, topography, and potential constraints of the physical site is understood and accounted for, the project cannot safely move to the design and construction phases.  Surveying provides the data necessary to develop a successful design and lays the groundwork for any engineering project. 

McLaren’s licensed in-house surveying affiliate LandMetrics Engineering & Land Surveying P.C. provides boundary, topographic, and hydrographic surveying services across the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, working independently for third parties and in conjunction with other McLaren divisions, such as Site/Civil and Marine.  With experience in both topographic and hydrographic surveying, McLaren is uniquely equipped to provide a seamless land/water interface to tackle complex projects along waterfront areas.  The tidal range is a critical aspect of shoreline development projects and is often misunderstood by firms who perform only topographic or hydrographic surveys.  With an extensive portfolio of surveying projects which span both land and water, McLaren has cultivated the ability to deeply understand the shoreline boundary.  McLaren’s survey team is also known for diligent customer service with a focus on responsiveness and timeliness.  Most importantly, McLaren brings to the table a broad range of expertise supplied by an experienced team of surveyors.

The most recent addition to the Survey Division is Donald O. Viele, P.L.S., who joined McLaren as Principal Land Surveyor in October.  As head of the Division, Viele is responsible for overseeing the workings of the entire department, including client relationships, data collection, and determining the results of a survey project.  Viele has over 30 years of experience across a variety of different projects and has worked alongside agencies like N.Y.S.D.E.C., N.Y.S.D.E.P., and the Army Corp. of Engineers.  Two notable past projects include the Concord Hotel Resort Hotel & Golf Club in Sullivan County, NY and highway Route 17 spanning across Sullivan and Orange Counties. 

Coming from a family of surveyors who have worked across all of New York and the rest of the US (“It’s in my bones,” he remarks), Viele is a hands-on guy who spends time in the field to ensure projects are completed and delivered to a high quality.  Viele relishes projects with surveying challenge.  In fact, after years of surveying for boundary disputes, he has developed a specialty in the legal aspects of surveying and even co-authored a book about real property law.  Since joining McLaren, Viele has also cultivated a passion for hydrographic surveys.  As Donald explains with enthusiasm, with “so many elements that go along with it,” hydrographic surveying is a challenge since every project is different.  As the Survey Division continues to expand, Viele and his team look forward to finding new surveying challenges with projects across the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area and coordinating survey efforts in McLaren’s other offices.

With McLaren’s Help, “The E.N.D.” Has Come

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The 2009/2010 Black Eyed Peas World Tour – dubbed “The E.N.D.” (short for “The Energy Never Dies”) – went off without a hitch through a grueling 14-month schedule that spanned Asia, Australia, North America, Europe, and South America.  “The E.N.D.” was “the biggest tour, production-wise, we’ve ever done,” band member Fergie told and indeed, the set was exploding with state-of-the art laser lights, flying stunts, HD screens, and top-notch sound projection which turned each of the show’s venues into a huge, futuristic nightclub. 

The latter end of the tour proved to be one of the most challenging periods for the crew, as the band played in stadiums throughout Latin America.  In each stadium, a local stage roof and stage was erected to support the touring set.  Communication challenges and a more varied level of technical expertise from the staff at the local stages throughout Latin America put the quality of the intricate set in jeopardy.  To assist, McLaren provided on-site engineering and supervision by traveling ahead of the band as part of the crew.  Traveling two days in advance of the tour vans, McLaren’s site engineer was responsible for ensuring that the local stage structures were up to appropriate standards and properly coordinated with the set.   When deficiencies were identified, McLaren provided immediate engineering guidance about where the local stage needed reinforcing, working within the narrow constraints of the short time window and limited available resources. 

With McLaren’s engineer on the scene, the band and crew could rest assured that quality control was overseen and every safety-related detail was attended to.  The band completed their final show on November 13th in Lima, Peru and “The E.N.D.” was hailed as the group’s most successful and technically advanced tour to date.

Preserving New York’s Cultural Treasures

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When one thinks of theater, the first place that comes to mind is usually New York’s Broadway Theater district.  Dotted with 40 active theaters, Broadway productions sold over $1 billion worth of tickets in the 2009-2010 season and accommodated almost 12 million attendees.  This is no small feat for a league of theater houses which were built mainly in the early 1900s and many of which have been in operation for almost 100 years.

Not surprisingly, Broadway’s theaters have required renovating and updating over the years to meet ever-changing standards for safety and patron comfort.  McLaren has provided engineering services for more than a dozen Broadway theaters, including the 98-year-old Longacre Theatre and the 100-year old Winter Garden Theater, as well as contributed to productions in nearly all of the theaters.  With creativity and meticulousness, McLaren has tackled challenges such as scenery and rigging engineering, repairs to deteriorating structural elements and building envelopes, and evaluating loads on the building structure.

Many times, structural documentation is limited or nonexistent, which leaves McLaren with the task of performing investigations prior to and during construction, and then determining how to keep these older buildings operational and safe while making much needed improvements within a limited budget and tight production booking schedule.  Theater owners may not be fully aware of the multitude of potential hazards found in a pre-Depression era theater, however, after many years of experience working with antique theaters, McLaren has learned to spot simple-to-repair dangers like inadequate ladders and guards, tripping hazards, vulnerable façade and beam encasing elements, and the like.  Perhaps the greatest challenge is to keep pace with the demands of modern productions and expectations of modern audiences in buildings that were originally designed for lightweight scenery, primitive lighting, few mechanical elements, and simple heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  McLaren has been instrumental in upgrading and adding lighting positions, determining and improving rigging load capacities, and replacing stage floors, all within the constraints of the existing facilities. 

Through a passion for bringing modernity to some of New York’s oldest treasures while respecting their classic beauty, McLaren has been able to contribute to the successful preservation of this major piece of our national culture.

Bridging the Past with “Walkway Over the Hudson”

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In 1889, the Poughkeepsie Highland Railroad Bridge was an engineering marvel.  That year, the newly completed structure was considered the longest bridge in the world at almost 1.3 miles and boasted an innovative cantilever truss design.  The Bridge carried commuter and freight traffic over the Hudson River for 85 years until a fire in 1974 damaged a large portion of the bridge, rendering it unfit for use and causing the bridge to be abandoned.  Decades later, the nonprofit volunteer organization Walkway Over the Hudson set out to restore the bridge, reclaiming it for public use as an aerial park for pedestrians and cyclists.  Before the bridge could reopen, however, it required a full bridge inspection and repair design, and McLaren stepped in to help.

The first step of the inspection involved an underwater evaluation of the four piers of the bridge in the Hudson River.  Due to the high turbidity of the water, sonar scanning was used to produce underwater images of the bridge piers.  In addition, McLaren’s rope-access trained engineer/climber team performed a full climbing inspection of the above water steel superstructure.  Following the inspection, McLaren performed an in-depth structural analysis to assess the Bridge’s condition and identify needed repairs. Working with Bergmann Associates, McLaren then assisted in designing the repairs to convert the railroad bridge into a pedestrian walkway and public park. McLaren also designed repairs to the bridge piers, addressing deficiencies noted in the inspection.

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened in October 2009 and accommodated over 40,000 visitors in the opening weekend alone.  Widely considered one of the premier waterfront public spaces, the Bridge provides breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley and has even reclaimed its record-breaking status as the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  With McLaren’s assistance, this historic bridge has been preserved for the enjoyment of many generations to come.

Excerpt from “Market Close-up: Seattle Multifamily Market”

October 23, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

From The Linneman Letter, Volume 6, Issue 2 (Summer 2006)

Overview and Economy
The Seattle multifamily market is currently undergoing a rapid recovery driven by the recent economic rebound. The region’s current economic prosperity has spurred a return to a 1.5 percent rate of population growth, the same level as before the economic downturn. With the influx 45,000 new residents annually, occupancy rates are on the rise and apartment rents are following, with overall market improvement expected through the end of the year. 

Employment in the Seattle area is expected to expand by 4.1 percent by year end, continuing the strong 2005 employment growth of 2.8 percent.  At this rate, 52,000 new jobs will be added in the Puget Sound area by year end, with the largest expansion in the professional and business services sector. This employment growth reflects a continuation of trends from 2005, including a resurgence of white collar services, rising demand for office space in downtown Seattle, increased construction, and hires at Boeing to fill a greater demand from airlines.  The Seattle region unemployment rate is currently 4.5 percent, slightly below the national average of 4.7 percent.  This reflects a 30 basis point improvement from the fourth quarter of 2005. 

Even with an improving job market, however, increasing home prices and interest rates are making home ownership a less viable alternative for area residents, who are instead opting to rent apartments.  The median home price has risen 1.5 percent since last year to $325,000, while median household income is $56,000.  Coupled with rising interest rates, these factors have compounded to make homes less affordable, driving the growth of the multifamily market as potential home buyers are choosing to rent apartments instead.

Excerpt from “A Review of Sostanza Trattoria”

October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Festive and glowing, Sostanza Trattoria calls to me like a beacon on a crisp November evening.  Stepping into the dining room conjures memories of my grandmother’s cozy kitchen – with speckled, cream-colored plaster walls and burnt red tile, this is what a dining room looked like in the Old Country.  It’s warm and inviting, and the unmistakable aroma of sautéing garlic and tomato compels me to my seat. 

Our table is adjacent to the rustic stone fireplace and I can feel myself melting into it as the hostess presents my menu.  The antipasto section is filled with simple classics – zuppa Toscana, mozzarella caprese, prosciutto and melon.  Pasta dishes predominate the menu and it’s clear from the unembellished preparation that the focus here is on the ingredients.  Rigatoni with sausage, peppers, and ricotta, creamy fettuccine with peas and ham, even an unassuming linguine with olive oil and red pepper flakes.  These are the authentic Italian dishes that people fly across oceans to eat, and indeed, the further I read the more I feel I’m tucked away in the hills of Tuscany instead of just a few minutes from home in Seattle.  Rounding out the menu are a handful of meat-centered plates, including veal, steak, and pork loin. 

I decide on the Spaghetti Monterosso, a medley of Dungeness crab, prawns, diced fresh tomato, garlic and the ever-present extra virgin olive oil.  At $22, this is actually one of the more expensive dishes on the menu, which I’m pleasantly surprised to find is filled with entrees for under $20.  As the chef prepares my pasta, the waitress drops off a basket of warm bread.  The scent washes me in a wave of nostalgia – it smells like the homemade bread my great-grandmother used to make.  It’s crusty and light, with a fluffy inner texture, but I’m wary of putting it in my mouth for fear of ruining the moment – since I moved to Seattle two years ago from the East Coast, I’ve been disappointed by every piece of Italian bread I’ve tried.  The smell overpowers me, and I’m glad it does.  This is by far the best bread I’ve had outside of the New York metro area.  Our party of four downs a few baskets in reverence.

Excerpt from “Syndicated Client Experiences Starter Kit Video Script”

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(View the full video here.)

What is the Starter Kit?

Syndicated Client applications are sophisticated .Net applications that are web deployed, occasionally connected, and fully exploitive of the desktop, providing the optimal user experience for your content.  Starter Kit is a simple way to create a rich, syndicated content experience which engages the user with a diverse set of media, from documents and photos to video and podcasts

.Net 3.0 and WPF made it possible to build rich, smart client applications that utilized some of the best features of the web application model (URL deployment, for example) while fully exploiting the power and resources of the Windows desktop.  SQL Server Compact Edition enabled those desktop applications to be built and deployed with an in-process database to cache data locally and seamlessly work on or offline.  Now, the Syndicated Client Starter Kit – which is built with Microsoft’s new Sync Framework – further simplifies the development of these applications and facilitates the creation of new types of rich, optimal content experiences for the desktop: applications where content and design are afforded premium treatment and usability is a key consideration.

These Syndicated Client applications exploit the push capabilities of RSS in a model where each application retains full control over the presentation of the content. The Sync Framework and sync service take care of sync, caching, subscription management and the safe caching of authentication credentials.  These services are designed help publishers focus on what matters to them most: providing differentiated content experiences with very rich content, branding, skinning and custom user interface elements for an optimal end-to-end user experience.  With the Sync Framework doing the heavy lifting for sync and caching, each SC app can be relatively small in size – around 1-2 mb typically.

Select Telecom Mailing Insert

October 12, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Under a service agreement, in addition to 24-7 peace of mind service all Select Telecom customers also enjoy the benefit of an annual Telephone Services Audit at no cost.  Let us review your bill and ensure that:

• You are on the best service plan for your needs

• Your recurring monthly charges are the lowest they can be

• You are receiving the highest level of service

Call and make an appointment with your Account Manager today!  (914) 761-1313

Excerpt from “Seattle Transit: An In-Depth Look”

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In one of the greatest diversions of Seattle transit’s time and effort, instead of a true rail system a 1997 vote approved an extension of the existing monorail which would link all four corners of the city to downtown. The flawed Initiative 41 was drafted by Dick Falkenbury, “a long-time political gadfly who earned his living driving a cab and leading city tours… poet-activist Grant Cogswell, and a small band of supporters,” and required private construction of the monorail by the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC) with city approval but no public taxes. Though the City maintained doubts about the project’s feasibility, it was forced to abandon an effort to repeal Initiative 41 in 2000 in the face of public outcry. Instead, a second initiative, Initiative 53, which authorized $6 million for a new monorail plan and reserved $200 million for implementation and included 20,000 signatures collected by a local activist, was approved in 2000. In 2002 voters approved construction of the 14 mile “Green Line” at a cost of $1.75 billion. However the project ran 20% over budget while tax revenues were 30% less than expected, and in 2005, the Seattle Monorail Project was finally cancelled when voters killed a financing plan which would cost the City – and its taxpayers – $11 billion over four decades, including $2 billion in principal and $9 billion in interest. From the very beginning the Seattle Monorail Project was flawed, with unrealistic cost estimates and infeasible financial plans. However, this is to be expected when a transit plan is drafted not by experts and engineers, but by laypersons with little to no experience with transportation networks.