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When travelling, I invariably take note of the various AC installations around about me, just habit I guess.

Airports, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, all get the third degree.

For me it’s always interesting to see how air conditioning is done the world over. The truth is, it’s pretty much done the same way everywhere.

Nevertheless, on my recent (and first) visit to the United States, I was somehow expecting
something different, better, more advanced, from the Country that invented and perfected the air conditioning concept.

Boy-oh- boy was I disappointed. Without exception, every installation I saw looked much the same as everything I had seen before, the good, the bad and the downright disgusting, exactly like here at home.

What was clearly evident however, is the wide use of US manufactured products, as opposed to the imported product. To me, I found this quite gratifying, as will President Trump no doubt. The quality of the equipment, I must say, is top-notch, probably on par with the best out of Europe and Japan. There’s a sense of pride in all things American made.

Another interesting observation was the vast number of AC Contractors plying their trade
throughout New York City. Clearly air conditioning is a huge and (hopefully) a lucrative industry indeed. Given the many hundreds of restaurants, diners, bars and hotels throughout Manhattan, Refrigeration Contractors are equally well represented, as are Electricians and Plumbers.

Building refurbishment projects are everywhere to be seen, as are new construction projects of course, all providing for the absolute hive of activity that exists. The buildings themselves are awe-inspiring to say the least, as they reach upwards in profusion, 40, 50, 80, 100 stories, as they try to outdo each other.

Perched on the very top of many, are the chiller sets, cooling towers and water tanks. How they get up there is a rigging miracle. Servicing and repairs must require guts and nerves of steel. Fear of heights or vertigo is simply not in the O&M manual.

Window-wall units, the venerable window shaker/rattler, is alive and well in the States.

These are installed throughout the many high-rise building, both residential and light commercial. For many of us who started our careers in the 1960’s, the window unit was where we cut our teeth. Extremely popular they were, with thousands being installed everywhere back in the day. Not so popular these days in our neck of the woods. Still, it’s encouraging to see that such a large market exists for this type of AC unit, no doubt to satisfy a definitive need.

My take on America?

Large people :                                                    You bet
Friendly, obliging & helpful :                Without exception
Expressive, dramatic & over the top : Absolutely
Tattooed women :                                             Yes
Tattooed men :                                                  Fewer than the women
Patriotic :                                                            To the extreme
Well organised :                                                 Very much so
Clean :                                                                  Yes
Food :                                                                   Not great. Fast foods and quick meals dominate
Expensive :                                                          Yes. Very. NYC more so

All in all, one cannot help but be impressed. Its sheer size and pace leaves you breathless. It (the USA) gives the impression it’s done it all before and needs no assistance or interference.

There were many highlights of course, New York City, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Disney World, the Empire State Building, a Broadway play, Central Park, Rhode Island Mansions, Capitol Hill and the White House.

So much to do and see. However, not to be missed is ground Zero and the 09/11 Memorial. It is as poignant as it is sad, capturing in fine detail that horrific event, which for me anyway, represented the epitome of Man’s inhumanity to Man, a callous act of pure barbarity.

Would I go back?
The next trip is already in the planning stages.
The West Coast and Deep South.

Patrick Burke

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