New York, NY – Power outages and thousands of airline flight cancellations plagued the U.S. northeast Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy blew through Atlantic City, New York and other major trade show cities.
Damage reports began coming in from major venues where trade shows and medical conferences had been shortened or postponed altogether even before the huge storm made landfall.
Communications were difficult as venues and many offices of show organizers and contractors remained either closed or without power.
The Atlantic City Convention Center was in one of the hardest hit coastal locations. There were no media reports of major damage to the facility, but Mesco Marine Equipment announced it had cancelled its October 31-November 1 Dealer Trade Show at the facility.
The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York said on its website it had experienced some flooding on Level 1 due to the storm surge from the Hudson River. Maintenance crews were testing the building systems Tuesday and would update show organizers on the situation later in the day.
Untangling Air Travel
Air travel woes raised concerns about attendance being down at shows across the U.S. As of late Tuesday, approximately 18,100 flights nationwide had been cancelled since Sunday, according to FlightAware.com.
However, Peter MacGillivray, vice president of events & communications for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), said the effects on attendance at the opening of The SEMA Show in Las Vegas were minimal.
“The Northeast represents less than 10% of our registration,” MacGillivray told Trade Show Executive (TSE). “We have hotel partners that are accommodating the handful of folks that are impacted. And the airlines are accommodating and rebooking for free. That’s a big help.”
The November 1-3 ING New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo was still on schedule as of Tuesday. The event draws thousands of runners who pick up their entry materials for the New York City Marathon.
As previously reported, Javits Center had two events this week postponed until further notice and another one closed early as Sandy approached from the sea. ISC East was called off by Reed Exhibitions and will be rescheduled. The October 30-31 Advanced Energy 2012 Conference at Javits Center was also postponed until further notice.
The JA Special Delivery jewelry show at Javits Center was shortened to a single day on Sunday as was The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
Urban Expositions cancelled its October 28-30 Ocean City Resort Gift Expo in Ocean City, MD.
ASTRO Rides Out Storm
The 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) resumed in Boston after weathering a gale that forced organizers to shorten the proceedings Monday.
ASTRO spokeswoman Michelle Kirkwood told Trade Show Executive (TSE) the Monday afternoon sessions at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center were scrubbed because shuttle buses were ordered off the road.
“We had added shuttle routes, even to the hotels that were within walking distance of the center,” Kirkwood said. “We had to get everyone back to their hotels by 2 p.m., which is when the buses were pulled off the road.
Some downtown restaurants remained open during the storm Monday night, and major plenary sessions were recorded on video for attendees who were not able to get to the meeting.
“Everything is back on schedule,” Kirkwood said Tuesday.
Reach Peter MacGillivray at (702) 450-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Ed Several, Reed senior vice president, at (203) 840-5932 or email@example.com; Alan Steel, president and CEO, Javits Center, at (212) 216-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Michele Donohue, ASTRO director of meetings, at (703) 839-7384 or email@example.com