P.W. Feats proudly designed, produced and managed the Christening of New York (LPD 21) for Northrop Grumman
We believe in the transformational power of live experiences. We recently found ourselves being transformed.
We had the unique privilege of teaming with world-class ship builder, Northrop Grumman, to christen a unique amphibious dock ship, the New York (LPD 21). This technologically advanced naval vessel was built in New Orleans – significant for the city’s post-Katrina economy. However, the story doesn’t stop there. Seven-and-a-half tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center is melted into the bow stem of this great ship. Talk about opportunities to deliver emotion.
Our team was charged with crafting and producing an event that maintained the integrity of a formal Navy Christening ceremony, while honoring the heroes, victims and families of 9/11. We did this in the middle of a working shipyard on the banks of the Mississippi River for some 5,000 guests, with shipyard workers who were building this ship, while simultaneously rebuilding their own homes that they’d lost during our nation’s worst natural disaster.
From a heart-wrenching USO show to performances by Charlie Daniels and Rebecca Lynn Howard; from the U.S. Navy Band to a drum corps from the NYPD and FDNY; from emotion-charged speeches by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and his wife, ship sponsor Dotty England, to the cracking of the champagne bottle and the confetti, our team executed one of the most memorable events we have ever experienced.
We built 5,000-seat guest platforms and entertainment staging; solved logistic puzzles that led to a series of barges and temporary bridges to create red-carpeted walkways that enabled the VIPs to travel from the podium to the bow of the ship for the official Christening “moment”; and masterminded the six-camera shoot for daylight IMAG, media feeds, and a live 2 1/2 hour webcast. But the real magic came when FDNY fire firefighter Frank Pizzaro closed the program with Raise Me Up. Our tears joined those of proud veterans, Navy Admirals, U.S. Congressmen, corporate executives, and ship builders alike who witnessed a moment in history like no other. There was not a dry eye in the house.
The real proof of a job well done comes from clients like Debbi McCallam of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, who told us that, for her, the mark of success was seeing our team shoulder to shoulder with hers, not always sure who worked for whom. It’s easy to say we become partners with each of our clients. It’s quite another to experience it.