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Friday | 23 July, 2010 | 5:47 am

Steel takes the stage

By Lisa Rummler

July 2010 - When it comes to steelwork, there is no room for drama--unless your company happens to specialize in steelwork for Broadway theaters. This is the case with Koenig Iron Works Inc., Long Island City, N.Y., a full-service miscellaneous and structural steel fabricator and erector.

Since it opened in 1907, Koenig Iron Works has established itself as a leader in steel construction in the New York metropolitan area, according to the company's website.

Fast-forward more than a century, and the founder's grandson is running the show and keeping the tradition of excellence alive.

"We have been doing specialty structural steel and miscellaneous ironwork for three generations," says Barry Leistner, president of Koenig Iron Works. "We established relationships throughout the city and started doing a lot of work for theaters."

The show must go on
One of Koenig Iron Works' most recent jobs took the company to The Metropolitan Opera, New York, which will feature Richard Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung" cycle of operas over the next two seasons.

The "Ring" set weighs about 45 tons, and engineers initially feared the floor under the stage would collapse, according to an article in The New York Times.

To provide the necessary structural support for the set, Koenig Iron Works installed three 65-foot I-beams under the stage.

"The I-beams, the sort used to build high-rises, were chopped into smaller pieces, shoved through holes in walls of the rooms below the stage and spliced together," according to the article. "They had to be passed over gas, electric, water and telephone lines that traveled below the ceilings. Each end of the beams was attached to a load-bearing wall."

The work took place over a period of less than a month--the project began May 16 and mostly wrapped up the first week in June.

"It was a tight space and an aggressive schedule," says Leistner.

Take a bow
Koenig Iron Works completes its fabrication work in Long Island City before doing on-site installations. The company works with stainless steel, structural steel, bronze and aluminum, and it handles structural steel sections up to 36 inches.

In addition to Broadway theaters, including the Winter Garden Theatre[www.shubertorganization.com], Koenig Iron Works serves developers, contractors, and various industries and institutions throughout New York City's five boroughs.

Some of its projects include a Home Depot in Manhattan and New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.

Steelwork always poses challenges, and Leistner says the associated difficulty and specialization ratchets up when it involves theaters.

"A lot of coordination is required for supporting sets, lighting and sound equipment," he says. "The restraints of scheduling and difficult rigging make it a lot more involved." MM

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