Decorative Lighting Installation

Case Study:

How to Accelerate Installation of Decorative Lighting on a 15-Story Historical Landmark Hotel Overlooking Times Square by 2-3X

What was the challenge?

The Knickerbocker Hotel is a historic 15-story Beaux-Arts hotel in Times Square, on the southeast corner of Broadway and 42nd Street, in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. Built by John Jacob Astor IV, this city landmark hotel was designed in 1901 and opened in 1906. A local electrical contractor hired Alpha Platforms to assist with the installation of permanent façade decorative lighting. The hotel's former opulence and beauty had been recently restored with renovations and repairs to brickwork and decorative elements. The project involved attaching, aligning, and turning on lights on the hotel's parade façade in time for its grand reopening.

This project presented multiple challenges.

The renowned building measured 195 feet (59 m) tall with 185 feet (56 m) of street frontage, meaning that no JLG lifts were large enough to reach across the entire façade. To avoid damage to decorative balconies, stone balustrades, sculptures, windows, and balcony gables embellishing the façade, a more gentle and precise height access method would need to be deployed. Due to roof conditions, setting up scaffolding for a building this size would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, the three-story mansard roof required over 20 feet of side reach, which was not accessible by conventional lifts.

And... every window and decoration element had to be lit in such a way to achieve a consistent presentation across all windows.

What was the solution?

To get the job done quicker, Alpha Platforms mobilized a fleet of three aerial platforms of various heights: an A-230 foot boom lift and a 92-foot boom lift and 165-foot high-maneuverability spider lift, with 165-feet being the biggest spider lift in the USA. Each aerial platform lift operated at its own height, thereby increasing the speed of project delivery and cost-efficiency.
While some of the client's team of 10-15 people paired up to work from the cages to drill into walls and hang lights, others on the ground unpacked and affixed lighting onto electric cables and collected fixtures and other materials to then lift them and attach to the building.
After installation, the most critical step was to align every lamp at precise angles to ensure correct positioning and uniform lighting of the building.
The specs of our state-of-the-art A-230 lift:

What was the outcome?

Alpha Platforms' mobile trucks arrived at night to minimize their impact on traffic. Over the next 20 days, from 9 pm to 6 am, we completed a job that would have typically taken 2-3 times longer. Also, had a scaffolding structure been used, it would have blocked the streets of Time Square during the day for several months (which probably would not have been permitted).

The massive time savings was a function of Alphas' boom's side reach, stretching across 185 feet and up to 195 feet without having to move the wheels.

In addition, the exceptionally smooth and steady movement of Alpha lift baskets not only meant that no damage was inflicted on walls, windows, or decorations but that workers in the basket had the safety and steadiness required to achieve the precision required for lighting jobs. In fact, the final lighting alignment is typically the most complex and time-consuming step to complete. But with the A-230 cage swiftly moving across the entire façade, alignment only took three days.

Our precise German-made lifts have become the height access method of choice for those who try them, as they combine unmatched productivity, safety, and reach.
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Notable 230 Foot Boom Lift Capabilities
  • 12-foot extra large cage
  • 1,322 lbs lifting capacity for crew, equipment, and materials
  • Side reach up to 115 feet
  • Unique "under and up" or "up and over and back" access
  • Smooth controlled motions to move close to and around glass and fragile structures
  • Jib length 31’6’’
  • Cage rotation 2 x 80°
  • Parking in tight spaces 8’6’’ wide

Alpha Platforms has helped hundreds of teams like yours

Customer Testimonials
from Case Studies

Mike P.
Building restoration services family business owner

We wanted to give it a try and see what this boom truck could do. We loved the idea of a wide basket that could reach up to 30 feet and get to the brick wall over the roof. The main reason we loved the truck was how it maneuvered the boom to lower the bricks inside a dumpster, which was located behind the truck. It saved us at least one extra day of work. It all went great.

Joseph A.
Head stone mason, national cathedral

The project was performed successfully, and we were really glad to have contactless means of reaching the building, as we all know that pipe scaffold might damage the structure, in this case, very very sensitive.

Jason A.
Director of operations, family-owned regional electrical services provider

Alpha has the most efficient and leanest site setup time I’ve ever seen. My brother, who is the top climber of our group, first struggled to understand how this cage could go around the tower better than the crane - and when it did the whole 360°, he became a believer. Also, each laborer said how incredibly safe they felt - very different from the small crane basket. We were able to secure and push back the panels in place without the basket ever moving.

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