04.08.2020|Inside Verizon

Manning the fort.

By: Jeremy Godwin

V Teamers connect Fort Totten, a new base for New York City’s first responders.

On a typical spring day, New Yorkers flock to Fort Totten Park in Queens to birdwatch or paddle a canoe around the preserved Civil War fortress.

But not this spring.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the New York metro area, government officials developed a plan to use the park as a base of operations for the military, fire department, up to 300 ambulances, and as a potential site for a field hospital. But before any of that could happen, Fort Totten’s infrastructure needed some critical 21st century updates.

“There was nothing in the park,” said Billy Iacovetta, Construction Manager. “The communications needed to be set up so the first responders could be reached at a moment’s notice.”

Part of the challenge of setting up a COW (cell on wheels) in the park was the compressed timeline. “It typically takes days and days to get this going,” explained Brian Casserly, Construction Manager. “However, we were able to use a new asset that had only come ten days earlier and have it out here fully constructed in less than four hours.”

At the same time, a landline crew got a jump on installing new fiber in the street. Field Technician Christopher Alessi helped get the job done. “It was non-stop. We’re running from one manhole to the next, fibers weren’t making it. It was tough.”

“They worked really hard physically and mentally,“ said Billy. ”That’s a tricky area. They’ve changed the roads. We would look for one road that was no longer there anymore.”

“We worked through several issues and were able to deliver the fibers and turn on the circuit at the end of the same day,” said Construction Manager Gerhard Roethel.

“What’s special about it is how quickly it all came together,” commented Christopher. “It took a lot of communication and coordination.”

Billy can’t say enough about the quick work the team accomplished together. “We did something that is going to save some lives.”

Brain Casserly agrees. “We should all be proud that we’re all out here helping all of our other first responders.”

Special thanks to Brian, Billy, Gerhard, Christopher and all of the following V Teamers who played key roles in getting Fort Totten connected and ready for their fellow first responders.

  • Jarett Slavens
  • Thomas Callaghan
  • Miguel Bobe
  • Chris Alessi
  • Rob Jarzynka
  • Steve Mullen
  • Simon Cheng
  • Dave Roberts
  • Anthony Cillo
  • Ahmad Roshdy Abderrassoul
  • Dale Delauney
  • Khondoker Kudrati Khoda
  • Reginald Valmores
  • Joel Antoine
  • Derick Jolliffe
  • Jonelle Byron
About the author(s):

Jeremy Godwin is a member of the Verizon Corporate Communications team and a regular host of Up to Speed. He's the team's resident tech geek and media junkie.

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