Nov. 7, 2012 at 2:29 AM ET
There are plenty of election night maps but there's no cooler map than the one on the rink at Rockefeller Plaza.
While they can easily be mistaken for Ghostbusters or pest control, the team of four women and four crew guys are actually responsible for rushing out on the ice and laying down vinyl cutouts of each state, either in red or blue, depending on how the state is called by NBC News. The ice is sprayed down with water from tanks carried on their backs before and after the vinyl is placed.
“This is an elaborate process,’’ Brian Williams said Tuesday on NBC. “They lay the state down, they squeegee it and then these guys come and spray it down with water to the thrill of the crowds assembled around the perimeter of the rink.”
Hannah Rappleye, 26, a freelancer for NBC News, was prepped on what she needed to do as a member of what Williams dubbed "Team Zebra" when she arrived earlier today. The toughest part? “The vinyl stinks,” she said.
Before they make their debut on the ice, cutouts of each state in red and blue are stored in a room inside Rockefeller Center, and Rappleye wasn’t joking — it smells like the inside of a well-worn shoe. Rappleye and her teammates remove the alternate colors for each state and place them in the corner of the room, while states waiting to be called lay in four rows.
As for the moniker given to them by Williams, Rappleye said, “I have no idea where that comes from. I’m going to have to ask him about it. I just hope it’s a term of endearment.”
More from TODAY: