It was the last Tuesday of the month, and, like clockwork, the geeks arrived in droves. Dozens of engineers, computer programmers and physicists — most of them grayed and balding, dressed in what might best be described as retro-nerd — crammed into an upper-floor conference room near Union Square.
“I bet you’ve never seen this many engineers in your life!” exclaimed Arnold Wong, a mischievous smile creeping across his face.
He was right.
Twelve evenings a year, members and guests of one of the local chapters of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or I.E.E.E., the largest technical society in the world, convene in a borrowed space on the 19th floor of Consolidated Edison’s headquarters on Irving Place.
Over pizza, soft drinks and sweeping Manhattan views, they engage on topics concerning the engineering infrastructure that keeps New York City running…