Empire State Building
Empire State Building

Jul 1, 1997 12:00 PM

The Empire State Building, the centerpiece of New York City, rises 1,454 feet above the street. Built with a 60,000-ton steel frame, the building's exterior walls include 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10 million bricks and 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel. The building can withstand wind pressures of 50 pounds per square inch, and is so strong that in 1949 an Army bomber inflicted only minimal damage when it accidentally crashed into the 79th floor.

More than 850 tenants occupy the Empire State's 102 floors. Prominent tenants include Empire Diamond, Bank of New York, Fleet Bank, Monet Group, New York Life Insurance, Accessory Street, OshKosh B'Gosh and a multitude of attorneys. The edifice incorporates a U.S. Post Office and commands its own zip code. More than 3.5 million people visit the building's observatories each year. And a famous cinematic gorilla even hung from its steeple back in the thirties, in an effort to elude capture.

Security for this massive office building/tourist attraction is handled by Philip A. Marazita, CPP. As director of security, Marazita is responsible for the security of the building's tenants and visitors, purchase and maintenance of security equipment, and 24-hour-a-day/seven-day-a-week staffing of the security department.

Marazita, who has been with the Empire State Building for more than a year and a half, started his career with the New York Police Department, taking early retirement at the rank of sergeant. At the NYPD he was responsible for training recruits in a street environment. Prior to accepting the present post, he was branch manager for the Westchester/Rockland office of American Protective Services. Prior to that, he was a contract manager with OCS Security, and with Service Link - both located in New York City. At one point, he also served as assistant chief of security at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine. An extensive card and reader network

With a staff of 30 proprietary and 75-100 contract officers, Marazita oversees a security system that was in place when he arrived.

Northern Computers Inc., Milwaukee, manufactured the access control system. Proximity readers are used in building operation areas such as the operations and leasing office, machine rooms, maintenance shops and, after midnight, at the front door. Card readers are also used within the building's lower level and telecommunications area where radio and television stations house their broadcast equipment. Magnetic locks from Locknetics Security Engineering, Forestville, Conn., are used at some of the doors that employ card readers, as are electronic door strikes from Rofu International Corp., Tacoma, Wash.

The employee digital badging system works through Northern Computer's Winpak software. All building employees, including contractors, carry a badge. Some of the cards also have card reader capabilities.

Biometric palm readers from Recognition Systems, Campbell, Calif., are used at the night service elevators and in the command information center (CIC). The devices are used, according to Marazita, "because cards are easily lost. The palm readers ensure that individuals entering the building during off hours or the CIC at any time are properly identified." The security operation will also use palm readers for time and attendance of building employees in the near future.

CCTV, metal detectors guard public spaces Model 750 cameras from American Dynamics, Orangeburg, N.Y., are located in public areas such as the observatory levels, concourse and lower lobby and the second floor where visitors buy observatory tickets. The second floor also uses Metorex Inc., Princeton, N.J., metal detectors, as well as x-ray machines from Control Screening, Greensburg, Pa. Earlier this year, before the metal detectors were installed, a gunman on the 86th floor observation deck killed one man and injured six others before taking his own life.

Other areas that use cameras include the loading dock and outside perimeter sites. The loading dock also houses a motorized crash barrier gate. Some cameras are fixed, while others are pan, tilt and zoom. Fixed lenses range from 2.5mm to 25mm, depending on how much coverage is needed in a specific area. Zoom lenses range from 16mm to 160mm. The system was installed by CCTV Limited, Long Island City, N.Y.

Cameras input into a bank of multiplexers from Robot Research Inc., San Diego, located in the command information center. The CIC also incorporates American Dynamics matrix model 2050 switching bays, as well as American Dynamics monitors and a Northern Computers file server and main station. "Having all the cameras input into the multiplexers provides for maximum recording information. From there they loop to the distribution unit. This provides for the ability to control any camera or group of cameras through any of the monitors," says Gary Gray, president of CCTV Security.

Passive infrared motion detectors are used in stairwells. They are in a continual activation mode, unless a specific use of the stairwell is in progress. If movement is detected, an alarm is triggered on Northern Computers' N-1000 panel, which reports to a console in the CIC. Stairwells also incorporate CCTV cameras and audio boxes. Most camera sites throughout the building are accompanied by audio boxes.

Key control system added Since coming on board, Marazita has installed an electronic key control system that is used for all conventional lock keys. Made by Key-Trak, Oviedo, Fla., the system uses a computer and locking drawers to safeguard and control key access.

"If we need to access a particular tenant's offices, the keys are kept in a room that is alarmed and monitored. The computer enables us to quickly find the key by simply punching the room number or tenant name into it. Then the computer directs you to the proper drawer and key grid coordinate," says Marazita. The system will record the name of the individual removing the key and give special instructions such as who is authorized to remove it and alarm codes for entering the offices.

The Empire State Building incorporates its own power generator that functions if the city experiences a power outage. If a power outage occurs, there is a three-second delay before the internal generator kicks in. An uninterrupted power supply system takes up the gap so the security system does not experience an interruption.

Still in the future for the landmark, says Marazita, "is a 'package intercept' for centralizing all deliveries to minimize the amount of unidentified delivery people entering the building."

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