Castleknock College Union

Timothy D. Lynch, class '80, Vanity Fair Hall of Fame

Where are they now

Feb 1, 2013
Timothy D. Lynch, class '80, Vanity Fair Hall of Fame -

Tim Lynch, NYC Engineering superhero

The Union would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to Timothy D. Lynch, class '80, who as Head of the Forensic Engineering Buildings Unit of New York City, has been nominated to the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame for his work in safeguarding the citizens of Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.

Tim joined us in Knock in 1976 and over the next four years developed a reputation as an excellent track athlete and a solid rugby player. He was as tough as old boots both on the field and off, and yet was very dapper with it and showed an early interest in curios, antiques and restoration. Academically also his proficiency in Tech Drawing was an early barometer of things to come, and thus it was no surprise when he graduated to Queen's University Belfast where he took a Civil Engineering degree. His family were in the building trade in Dublin, so engineering was in the blood.

New York City was to be the main beneficiary of this pedigree, with preservation at the core of all that he does; preservation of the buildings and preservation of the lives of all who work and live in them. His career started in private practice where Tim was involved in the restoration of many landmark buildings including including Carnegie Hall, City Hall, Park Slope Armory and the Brooklyn Academy of Music and also the “Brownstones”, the Nineteenth-century town houses, built as Tim pointed out when “Napoleon wasn’t dead that long”. He then moved across to City Hall, a move driven in no small part by his involvement in the work around the aftermath of 9/11, Initially he lead the excavation team and then head of the Forensic Building Unit, a mandate that covers the 975,000 buildings in New York City, 4,000 of which at any given time are undergoing construction work.

The Hall of Fame nomination is recognition of determination, courage, incorruptibility and selflessness in public service while at the same time demonstrating how engineering can be mastered and applied in a manner that serves us all. He has shown engineers can be real heroes and make a real difference in a way that all can understand.

The nomination in full reads as follows -

Because, when danger loomed high above the streets of New York City last October, Michael Alacha and Timothy D. Lynch, very much like superheroes, vaulted upward under adverse conditions and thwarted the menace. because, as Hurricane Sandy lashed the city with 80-mile-per-hour winds, the pair quickly assessed the damage to a snapped construction-crane boom atop One57—at 90 stories, projected to be the city’s tallest residential building (where the duplex penthouse is tagged at a vertiginous $90 million). because engineers Alacha and Lynch, emergency and forensic specialists for the city’s Department of Buildings, raced to the scene, took an elevator to the 20th floor, and hoofed it the remaining 53 flights. because once they arrived, hundreds of feet above West 57th Street, they braved life-threatening gales as storm winds tore through the open construction site. because the men understood the risks, estimating there was a very real chance the 26,000-pound boom, thrown over the back of its mast and dangling by frayed cables, would plummet—directly onto a gas main below, with unthinkable consequences. because they took part in evacuating and cordoning off the immediate area, and, over the next few days, working with colleagues such as Frank Damiani and Faisal Muhammed, assisted in devising a plan for workers to manually rotate the boom so that it lay flush with the building, permitting it to be secured with steel cables and eventually cut up and removed. because Alacha, 54, whose home in the Rockaways was flooded throughout the ordeal, and Lynch, 50, a dedicated runner who dashed up the stairs twice, came to the rescue and helped save the city—or at least some of its prime real estate, including Carnegie Hall.

To keep freezing New York winter temperatures at bay, Tim to this day, still wears his Knock scarf. We are honoured that he does so, for he has done his alma mater proud.