Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Explosive Day in Manhattan

So around six o'clock, we heard a massive explosion outside of my job on 42nd street and 3rd avenue, and the entire building began to shake. I made my way to a window and looked out, only to be greeted with what looked like a volcano emerging to the east on 41st street in between 3rd and Lexington: a furious jet steam rising up from a crater in the ground with a circumference of about fifty yards. In sixty seconds, the white smoke obscured the buildings in that narrow street to the point where you couldn't be sure if they were even still there.

I went out to the lobby, only to encounter my boss who was shaking and appeared on the verge of tears, the poor thing. I walked her out to the fire escape and then slipped back into our office space to see if anyone was still there. There wasn't, so I made my way to the fire escape stairs and walked down nine floors.

On the street, people were everywhere, displaying a range of emotion from bewilderment to fear to despair to despondency. Sirens were sounding everywhere and police cars were whizzing by. There was a strong hissing sound coming from the site of the explosion and the thick white smoke was shooting straight into the evening sky. At this point, we had no idea what it was, but I was encouraged by the white smoke going up: that looked like steam to me, not the thick black smoke you associate with explosives. Still, we had heard that someone had blown up the subway and maybe this was a ruptured gas line that had cracked the surface.

The phones were still working and I contacted my parents and some of my friends, who worked in the area. Everyone seemed to be fine, some were even unaware. A couple of times, my blackberry went off to display an email from my bank saying that my online statement was ready for me to view, and another was a notification from this blog, saying that Cairogal had just left me a comment. Great timing, Cairogal!

By this point, we had confirmed that it was just a transformer that had exploded, and not terrorism. The streets were still packed with people and we weren't allowed back in the building, but the relief was evident on everyone. ConEd had showed up at this point and were working away on manholes that were a few blocks away from the site of the explosion. Steam was coming out of them though, so we were concerned that another explosion could be on its way. At this point, I decided to walk up to 59th street and take the R train home. Too much of the wrong kind of excitement, for one day!


Blogger Cairogal said...

"and another was a notification from this blog, saying that Cairogal had just left me a comment. Great timing, Cairogal!"

I try and do my part to keep everything in perspective in times of crisis.

2:01 AM  
Blogger ZeRoCoOl said...

ya Pfizer is about a block or 2 away from grand central. I was stuck on the R headed to my apt in soho it sucked.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Basil Fawlty said...

Cairogal: Well, you're doing a heck of a job:) Actually, your message reassured me that the world wasn't ending.

ZeroCool: I must work across the street from you, then.

12:22 AM  
Blogger ZeRoCoOl said...

Actually I am an orthopedic resident at Saint Vincent downtown. I was visiting my ex gf who happens to works for pfizer. So if you're downtown and happen to break a bone (baad el shaar) at 4:30 in the morning we might actually meet. Yes us residents always get choice hours can't wait to leave this town when I'm done.

7:12 AM  

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