In his 34 years with the New York Fire Department, Capt. James Melvin has seen his share of stuck elevators. But he had never witnessed anything quite like what happened Sunday on Staten Island.

Two construction workers were stuck in an elevator that was filling with water, Captain Melvin explained, with a hint of amazement in his voice. By the time firefighters arrived, the water level had risen as high as the two trapped men’s necks.

“We’ve had plenty of elevator emergencies, but never one that’s down sinking in water,” said Captain Melvin, of Ladder Company 86 on Richmond Avenue. As for the two men, he added, “They were happy to see us.”

The men were working in the former Staten Island Hotel in Graniteville, which is being renovated into an assisted-living residence for older people.

About 9 a.m., the two workers were riding in the elevator and discovered that the door did not open. The men, identified as Edward Tyler and Wendell Amaker, began to hit the buttons for various floors in the hope that the doors on one of them would work.

“They figured they’d try the basement level,” Captain Melvin said.

On another day, that would probably have been fine, but the rainfall on Sunday had led to severe flooding in the basement. And when the elevator neared the basement level, “it hit water and started sinking slowly, until it sank to the bottom of the shaft,” Captain Melvin said.

The two men were alone in the building, he added. There was no one inside to hear their shouts, and a security guard outside was unaware of the disaster unfolding inside, Captain Melvin said.

With a cellphone the men reached the Fire Department. While neither knew the precise address of the building, they said it was near the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Christopher Lane.

When firefighters finally found them, about an hour after their initial call, the two men were standing atop the plastic cart they had been using to transport supplies between floors. Even with the cart’s added height, the water was up to their necks, and about three feet from the elevator’s ceiling, Captain Melvin said.



According to a city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively. Even excluding benefits like health care and pension, more than half the lifeguards receive a total salary, including overtime pay, exceeding $100,000. And they also receive an annual allowance of $400 for “Sun Protection.” Many work four days a week, 10 hours a day.


… says Parker!












I can believe that the typing might be fast, but changing the paper looks complicated.


The Malling-Hansen writing ball was the world’s first commercially produced typewriter, and it was sold world wide. For his invention, Malling-Hansen received the First Price medals at the Scandinavian Art, Agricultural and Industrial Exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and 1888, at the World Exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1878 and at the Philadelpia Centennial in 1876. It was also exhibited on the first annual Kensington Exhibition in London in 1871.

The first model was patented in 1870, but soon went through a lot of improvements, even though the “ball” itself remained the same. On the picture to the right, the writing ball has gained it’s well known shape in 1878. The writing ball was not only the first typewriter to be produced and sold in a relatively large quantity, it is also the fastest typewriter ever made, because of the unique construction of the “ball”. Malling-Hansen was experimenting with the placement of the letters already in 1865 – and he succeeded in finding a placement of the letters that made the writing speed extremely fast. Not many people know that the traditional qwerty-keyboard was designed with the goal of preventing the arms from “hanging up” in each other, and in no way was designed to get the fastest writing speed – on the contrary!

via The International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society: The Writing Ball.



One smelly, but lucky, guy:

A contract worker examining a Raymore sewer drain was swept through the 24-inch pipe this morning — then found alive about 90 minutes later after traveling more than a mile through the system.

A city worker and firefighters heard the 27-year-old man scream for help, popped open a manhole and found him about 9:30 a.m., curled up in a fetal position at the bottom of a 12-foot-deep chamber.

Rescue workers called in an air ambulance to take the critically injured man to a hospital. They loaded him into the helicopter about 10 a.m., nearly two hours after he vanished into the sewer

via Worker swept through sewer drain is found alive in Raymore, flown to hospital –