With a 400-plus team of building managers, responsible for some115 assets totaling 37 million sf, Popkin was concerned with morethan simply how and when he would get home. In fact, as of Sundaymorning, when this interview took place, he was still monitoringthe condition of buildings from his Westchester home and preparingto determine what aspects of the firm's emergency preparednessplan--in place since Sept. 11--worked and what aspects failed.

As he reports, the first priority was to determine howwidespread the problem was. From his MetLife building perch, hecould see the stilled roof fans of Grand Central Station and heknew immediately that, "this was extensive."

Communication was key, says Popkin, but server-basedBlackberries such as his company uses were down and cell phone usewas sporadic at best. Equipped with two way radios, the managercould at least communicate with other CBRE staffers at 200Park.

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John Salustri

John Salustri has covered the commercial real estate industry for nearly 25 years. He was the founding editor of GlobeSt.com, and is a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Journalism award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.