CETW NYC: Despite Hurricane Sandy, the show must go on

Hurricane Sandy blew into town, leaving plenty of work to do to cleaning up New York City, but organizers say next week's Customer Engagement Technology World show will go on.

According to show general manager Lawrence Dvorchik, "everything is fine," and the site of next week's show, the Javits Center, "is up and fully operational."

Power in most of the city has been restored, he said, and the city is getting ready for this weekend's New York Marathon, which New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said is still on. Dvorchik said subway service should be fully restored by this weekend, bus service already is back up and running, and all the city's tunnels and bridges are open.

"What I'm hearing is that 98 percent of Manhattan and everything will be totally fine by early next week. People will not have problems getting in. People will not have problems getting around," he said in a telephone interview today. "Will it be perfect? No, but nothing is perfect. Will they go to the [South Street] Sea Port when they're here? Probably not. Will they go to Battery Park? Probably not. Will they be able to go to Times Square and be totally fine? Absolutely."

One exhibitor, though, apparently thinks discretion is the better part of valor this time. NEC Display Solutions announced today that it has pulled out of the show because of Hurricane Sandy.

An NEC spokesman sent this announcement in an email today:

By now everyone is well aware of the tragedy that has affected the east coast including Manhattan. In the aftermath of the storm, many parts of the city, including public transit, will remain affected for many days, and power outages will slowly be restored. Flying in and out of New York will remain difficult for the foreseeable future.

Based on the ramifications of this disaster, NEC Display Solutions of America has decided to not be present next week at the Customer Technology Engagement World Show (CETW) on November 7-8 at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

We understand you have previously received a letter from NEC Display Solutions inviting you to this event. We wanted to let you know we will let the people of New York focus on trying to get their lives back to normal.

Our thoughts are with everyone who suffered in this tragedy. We wish everyone a speedy recovery.

Dvorchik said that NEC was the only exhibitor to have pulled out at this point, and that he expected the show to go on as normal.

The reality is, he said, that it's not as bad as it looks on television. "People need to remain calm. Its like the old movie line, 'Please remain calm. There is nothing to see here.'"

A spokeswoman at the Javits Center said it has re-opened for business and also said the show would go on as scheduled.

"We are open for business and have been since last night," she said, and a show scheduled for this weekend is set to go on as planned as well, according to the Center's website. The ING New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo is on as scheduled for this Thursday through Saturday, according to the site.

Digital Screenmedia Association Executive Director David Drain also posted about the show on the DSA website today:

While Hurricane Sandy has now come and gone, the effects are still being felt on the east coast. I've had several people ask me in the last two days whether Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) was still taking place next week. The answer is yes.

JD Events, the show's organizer published the following on its website yesterday:

Customer Engagement Technology World Management would like to reassure everyone that the CETW NY event scheduled for November 7-8, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York will take place as planned.

We are in close communications with the Javits Center management, and we are confident the Center will be fully operational prior to our event dates.

We are well aware that Hurricane Sandy has disrupted many people's lives this week, and we wish everyone who has been impacted the quickest possible return to normal in the coming days.

CETW New York is still on target to be the largest gathering place in the world for education, networking, and business solutions focused exclusively on Customer Engagement Technology.

We look forward to seeing you next week and we are excited to host an incredible, must-attend Customer Engagement event in NYC!

- The CETW Management Team

We are hearing some positive signs. The NY Stock Exchange and NASDAQ are reopening today, as is JFK and Newark airports. The MTA tweeted that buses "will be almost at normal strength" this morning. The New York City Marathon is still planning to be held Sunday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the storm. We wish everyone in the affected area a speedy recovery. As NYC Mayor Bloomberg said: "Sandy hit us very hard. It was a storm of historic intensity, but New Yorkers are resilient."

Stay safe everyone. We'll see you next week.

According to the Javits spokeswoman, the Center will release a public announcement, likely tomorrow, that will update the Center's status more fully.

UPDATE: AV and digital signage mount solutions firm Peerless-AV also has announced via Twitter that it will not be attending next week's CETW.

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