"Stupendous. A work of colossal magnitude and merit."

"The audience was delighted at the massive display before them. The production qualities were magnificent."

"One of the great comebacks of all time."

Reviews of the latest Broadway sensation? Nah. The superlatives are playful compliments to everyone involved in the production of the 2008 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), held Jan. 22-24.

Touted as "the world's largest HVACR marketplace," the AHR Expo returned to New York City for the first time in 17 years. The show ditched the Big Apple largely for several reasons. One was that the people who worked at the Jacob Javits Convention Center had a reputation for being, well, let's say less than cooperative. Plus, taxis were hard to get, and New York was notoriously pricey.

Times and attitudes have changed since 1991. Prices around town are mostly reasonable, cabs are plentiful, and the level of cooperation on the part of the convention center is dramatically improved. While it still takes two or three workers to plug in a projector for a product presentation, there are no threats of bodily harm for making the request. And while some cab drivers outside of the convention center would gladly gouge an unknowing customer (me, for example) for a short ride, others are polite and fair (my experience as well). So, nothing's perfect, and, after all, this is New York.

After all was said and done, the 2008 AHR Expo fulfilled its promise of giving those in attendance--from professional engineers to contractors to distributors--the chance to see nearly 19,000 of the latest products and services the HVACR industry has to offer.

"We are thrilled to surpass so many major milestones (see Page 10) at this year's event," Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Co., producer and manager of the AHR Expo, said. "As it has been 17 years since the show was last held in New York, HVACR professionals took full advantage of the city's accessibility to visit the world's largest HVACR event and see the thousands of new products and technologies on display."

Stevens said that while he was optimistic this year's event would turn out well, he had no idea how successful it would be. The best news of all is that not a sour word or complaint had been heard from exhibitors as of a week after the show, he told me.

And that speaks volumes.