City Secrets

Day 1: Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour

October 5 2018 | Fê Paronetto
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Fernanda Paronetto

We had two priceless days with Siemens USA. We visited some of New York City’s major attractions to understand how Siemens actually helped build the city! So, tag along with me to see what “Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour” was all about!

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour

It’s even hard to start writing about the amazing 2-day experience I had with Siemens a few weeks ago.

A couple of weeks back I was invited to participate in a priceless experience they had put together called “New York City’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour”. I was immediately exited and curious, especially considering the name they chose for the project, ha!

We have millions of people visiting New York City during the year, over 60million to be more exact. Actually, in 2017 the number surpassed 62 million curious travelers and it keeps growing.

Most of you know about my indescribable passion for New York that I’ve clearly spoken about thousands of times before. And, the more I live here, the more I see the infinite stories and historical facts that together have built this tireless and sleepless city.

What people – not only travelers but also locals – don’t actually stop to think about, is “what is the real power that makes this perfect engine function throughout the city?” And, in obvious ways, enhances our experiences through the world-famous landmarks and historical attractions that symbolizes the Big Apple.

Siemen’s technology is literally scattered everywhere you can possibly think about. From the Statue of Liberty, the subway system, the Amtrak and the respected World Trade Center Memorial Fountains, to the ceilings at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the acoustics of Carnegie Hall and even, hidden within the top breweries that make your days eternally memorable experiences.

After all, in a digital area like the one we are living, people are craving these unforgettable moments to share with friends and family. Aren’t you?

So, let me start telling you what where we went and what I saw!


11am – Kickoff Brunch at The Trading Post

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour The Trading Post

We meet the entire group at a great spot I have never been to: The Trading Post.

It was great to meet the group, we all introduced ourselves, learned a bit more about Siemens and had a glimpse of what was about to happen during the day!

The itinerary sounded extremely exciting and up my alley, since I’m all about explore the “behind the scenes” spots and facts about New York!

Oh, and the food was fantastic!

I had the Aspargus Risotto with fava beans, English peas, goat cheese and soft poached hen’s egg, a refreshing salad and a trio of ice creams!

A great way to start the day!


12:30pm – World Trade Center Memorial Fountains

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour World Trade Memorial Fountains

Ok, so this place is quite special. We all know about the 9/11 event, how it impacted not only the lives of so many families out there that lost their loved ones, but also of an entire Nation.

It took years of very hard physical and emotional work to reconstruct that part of the city. And, World Trade Center Memorial Fountains, came out to be a beautiful homage to the lives that were lost.

Obviously the hardest part of it all, was not the physical exhaustion. It was being able to think and put together a project so beautifully and carefully thought for, that was able to truly and respectfully honor ever single life that was lost that day – from people in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the Stonycreek Township in Pennsylvania, to all passengers in the planes, the brave firefighters that fought through the smoke and law enforcement officers.

The project was led by Delta Fountains, experts in designing and manufacturing the most renowned fountains in the world. All the motorized pumps and totally integrated automation technology is by Siemens.

Joe Petry, President of Delta Fountains, talked to us about this monumental project.

Did you know that The World Trade Center Memorial Fountains are, today, the largest man-made waterfalls and reflecting pool in the entire world?

The fountains sit exactly where the towers were originally located and had phenomenal planning for it to be as perfect and precise as it is – mechanically and visually.

Here is the list of the most relevant and even curious facts that you should know about it:

  • Idea of the project was to reflect the absence of the lost souls
  • Fountains run 24h / day at a constant flow what is automated to monitor itself in an energy efficient way regardless of the weather
  • The recirculation systems are able to pump as much as 18,000 gallons of water at peak performance, every minute of every season
  • It’s intelligent enough to know the environmental conditions and understand if, for example, it needs to adjust the water in the system, not to over flow the pumps, in case it’s raining
  • The fall is 29-feet tall and had to be precisely planned to allow water to flow constantly, despite the weather conditions
  • The total drop – including the waterfall and the void in the center – add to 49-feet
  • The void is 40ft x 40ft
  • But, the water pool you can see, is only 1,5-foot deep
  • You can touch the sterilized water beneath the engraved names around the fountains
  • The stainless steel weir structure, designed by Delta Fountains was the most challenging. Through numerous testing, they found out that the weir structure needed to be exactly at 1/16th inch from each other, with an even water flow, over the entire 1,400 linear feet structure, to have the desired results
  • Water rises up peacefully, looks very still and fall perfectly into the fountain because of gaps in the stones
  • Sandy flowed in from the Hudson River, around the fountains, into the structure, causing over U$100 million in damages and flooding all the 9/11 artifacts in the Museum

Siemens cutting-edge automation technologies:

  • It offered high tech engineering, automation control and pump flow precision
  • 16 motorized pumps – controlled through Siemens VFD’s (Variable Frequency Drives) – regulates water passing through weirs. Their biggest challenge during the project was to figure out how to keep 600,000 gallons of water in each pool constantly flowing and crystal clear
  • The solution was the comprehensive Siemens SIMATIC S7-300 programmable controller solution, a first generation technology, that dramatically reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions
  • It’s controlled daily and remotely from Jacksonville, Florida, through the WinCC Flexible, an engineering software
  • The weather station, with PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) monitors the wind temperature, velocity and pressure to control and even shut down the system, in case of extreme necessity
  • Its fully integrated diagnostic system monitored with HMI (Human Machine Interface), with touch-screens make advanced graphics to detail and oversee all details with precision and operating cost-savings
  • The sensors on it and the ability to have preventative maintenance make it electronically sustainable
  • Siemens has the greatest equipment in the market to integrate with the computer system, with 3-year warranty, sustainable practices and was a company clearly not focused only on making money, hence the success!

3:30pm – Carnegie Hall

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Fernanda Paronetto

The Carnegie Hall is one of the world’s most famous concert venue and in the words of many experts “It’s the #1.” It was founded back in April of 1891 – built by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and designed by the architect William Burnet Tuthill.

How did the idea to build the Hall come to life? Andrew Carnegie’s wife, Louise Whitfield, sang at the Oratorio Society and during their honeymoon, she asked Mr. Carnegie to build her a music hall as a wedding gift. And voilá! In no time, it was up and running beautifully!

Here, we were hosted by Richard Malenka, the Chief Administrative Officer and an “unofficial historian.” He is known for having super valuable and curious stories of Carnegie Hall and a priceless knowledge too.

Oh! One of the highlights was actually being able to go on stage at the Isaac Stern Auditorium, also known as the Main Hall. It’s considered the most prestigious concert stage in the US. Why? Because of the mix of acoustical quality/warmth and visual experience. The totality of the experience makes it one of the best.

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Guests on Stage
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Stage
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall History
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Performers
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Weill Music Room
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Weill Music Room Guests
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Vintage
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Rooftop
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Rooftop Guests
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Beatles 1st Show
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Carnegie Hall Archive Room
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Now, here are the top curiosities about the place that called my attention:

  • The fluke!!! Andrew Carnegie hired the architect William B. Tuthill to travel world and build a totally different music hall, from what he’d seen. It ended up being more an Opera house than concert hall. The Fluke: Tuthill never actually built a concert hall!
  • Carnegie Hall boasts its fantastic 165,000 square feet, 3 auditoriums and over 3,600 seats
  • They host up to 700 concerts and 700,000 visitors a year. WOW, right!?
  • Names like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, The Beatles, Igor Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas, Caetano Veloso, Luciano Pavarotti and others have been on stage
  • The building was fully redesigned thinking about technology mixed with sustainability
  • The unique acoustics is a driving force and it’s important to maintain it and to keep the high levels and quality

Siemens was part of the project to modernize the building and is their technological partner, responsible for implementing fire safety, electronic security and building automation. The project not only modernized this historical landmark, but also make it more energy efficient.

Plus, Richard said something super important: “Tech is serving the institution well when it is invisible.” And this is exactly what Siemens has done!

Because of this brilliant partnership, Carnegie Hall has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, 1 point from Gold.

Siemens cutting-edge automation technologies at work here:

  • They’ve installed sensors outside to have a more responsive and immediate response and had to learn how to problem solve the reality of working on a landmark structure and implement a contemporary technology
  • The security system (Siemens SiPass access control), ensures the highest security for guests, staff and talent inside the building
  • The Fire and Life Safety System’s precision and velocity guarantee the emergency control system to immediately activate the fire door closure, elevator management and air handlers
  • The Centralized Control manages the ventilation, air conditioning and heating in one platform, permitting even being remotely controlled, if desired. The system keeps track and analyzes any necessary electrical repair and maintenance
  • The challenges revolved around working on a landmarked building, that restricts countless interventions
  • Now, the 125+ year old landmark is utilizing the next-gen tech found in brand new buildings throughout NYC!

Siemens was able to bring Carnegie Hall into the 21st Century!

Read more.


7pm – Bateaux New York Dining Cruise

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise Manhattan
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise Statue of Liberty
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise Menu
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise Guests
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Bateaux NY Dining Cruise Tables
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To end this fantastic day, with some of the most amazing experiences and priceless knowledge, we headed to Chelsea Piers for a boat-dinner!

The Bateaux New York Dining Cruise was a great experience and way to end the day. But, the interesting information about it, is that the route passes very close to Lady Liberty! To be very honest, I always thought it was a bit too touristy, and it still is, but it’s worth experiencing it once in your life!

And, this is where Siemens comes into play again! They told us that back in 2012, Siemens technology was chosen as the perfect solution to be part of the Life Safety Upgrade Program, led by the U.S. National Park Service, for the Statue of Liberty.

The purpose was to upgrade not only the Statue of Liberty’s emergency rescue elevator, but also the engineering framework called Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) Portal software. In addition, they also used Siemens safety PLC’s – safety modules and comfort panels to ensure redundancy or operations!

As said above, the best type of tech, is the invisible one. And, once again, Siemens showed us how they are part of New York City’s engine!

Here is more on the TIA Portal, in case you’re still curious: 

The TIA Portal allows automation processes to be designed optimally and efficiently from a single computer screen. This ground-breaking innovation shortens the engineering cycle, saves commissioning time, and reduces maintenance costs and TCO (total cost of ownership).

The Life Safety project included the need to upgrade both the safety and function of the 30-year old obsolete rescue elevator which had reached the end of its useful life. The new rescue elevator is a special purpose personnel machine that uses innovative technology to enhance safety and reliability making the system more user friendly. The TIA portal brings efficiency and reliability to the project by allowing and integrated work platform to manage the world class Siemens Safety PLC and Comfort Panel hardware, which make up the heart of the safety rated elevator controller.

The elevator is designed and intended for emergency personnel, not public use, giving EMTs, firefighters, and other service personnel access to the Statue when someone in distress needs to be reached and retrieved. The system includes the Siemens Fail Safe Safety CPU, various digital inputs and outputs, and the Siemens’ HMI comfort panel, all of which were designed and commissioned using TIA Portal. The project also uses PROFIBUS communication protocols and PROFINET industrial Ethernet.

Read more.


As I mentioned, this was a 2-day experience, so take a look what Day 2 looked like!

We started at the Arthur Ashe Stadium where the US Open is currently happening. Then, we headed for tasting and lunch at the Other Half Brewery in Brooklyn. Finally, we finished our day at LO3, a young NY company working on the Brooklyn Microgrid project with a blockchain enabled transactive energy platform!


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Fê is our Founder & CEO! She’s Brazilian (Yup! Not a New Yorker!), but her indescribable passion and curiosity for NY makes her a New Yorker by heart. Fê worked in companies like Kimberly Clark, Quintessentially, Vogue Brazil and Iguatemi Group, and after 12 years of working for these fantastic companies, she decided to go solo and move to NYC!
She lives in Brooklyn since April of ’15 and has been tirelessly working on BTSNYC, working with huge companies on corporate projects, practicing her Arhatic Yoga meditations, finding time for gym and friends! Phiuf!

About Fê Paronetto

Fê is our Founder & CEO! She's Brazilian (Yup! Not a New Yorker!), but her indescribable passion and curiosity for NY makes her a New Yorker by heart. Fê worked in companies like Kimberly Clark, Quintessentially, Vogue Brazil and Iguatemi Group, and after 12 years of working for these fantastic companies, she decided to go solo and move to NYC! She lives in Brooklyn since April of '15 and has been tirelessly working on BTSNYC, working with huge companies on corporate projects, practicing her Arhatic Yoga meditations, finding time for gym and friends! Phiuf!

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