The New York offices of Duane Morris and Reed Smith were left in the dark by Thursday’s blackout, which missed Philadelphia, only one month after One Liberty Place went through a one-day loss of power, shutting down the firms’ Center City offices.
Last week’s power outages, which struck large swaths of the northeastern United States and Ontario, had a ripple effect in Philadelphia, since many of the city’s law firms maintain offices in Manhattan and a few New York firms have a presence here.
If you want to know what it would take for Duane Morris Chairman Sheldon Bonovitz to ride a public bus, your answer is a blackout that leaves an estimated 50 million people in the dark.
On one of his regular visits to the firm’s Manhattan office, located at 44th Street and Lexington Avenue, electrical power went out shortly after 4 p.m. while Bonovitz was meeting with several of his colleagues. The group looked out the window and saw that traffic lights were not functioning and people were streaming onto the streets.
Much of the Duane Morris crew, though, kept working without the benefit of lights or air conditioning for more than two hours. That’s when Bonovitz — all the while still sporting one of his trademark bowties — and several of his partners descended 32 flights in a dark, swelteringly hot stairwell with the aid of flashlights.
Bonovitz decided to leave New York City with a partner who lives in North Jersey and find his way home from there. Easier said than done. They walked toward the Port Authority but had no luck catching a ferry. Things were not looking good until Bonovitz’s colleague saw the bus that he usually takes parked on 39th Street. The driver informed them that she was about to depart for Lincoln Park, N.J., so the pair hopped on board the air-conditioned vehicle.
“I thought it would take us two hours with all of the people on the streets, but this driver was amazing,” Bonovitz said. “Passengers were cheering her on. It was kind of like a college football game.”