There I was sitting in Bryant Park with my post-5PM 50%-off sushi for din-din and I hear all these sirens.
Well, NYC is always up to something that demands a siren. So I didn’t think much of it.
By the time of the twentieth siren, I began to wonder what was up.
Bryant Park is just four blocks from the explosion.
You would have never guessed anything was wrong. I couldn’t. NYC just swallows sounds.
I tried to phone out but I couldn’t get through on my Thiefphone. I still didn’t think that odd because everyone else in the park was yakking away just fine on their cells.
I asked a woman nearby if her cellphone was working and she filled me in on the big bang. She had been at Grand Central Station and was among the crowd that had been evacuated. She told me it had been a transformer explosion and that 41st street was “dark and filled with smoke.”
Finally my brain reminded me that I carry a radio for such situations. I turn it on (it’s always tuned to 1010 WINS-AM for news) and the report says it was a steampipe explosion that left a “thirty-foot gash” in the street.
Well, that’s not something you get to see every day, so I decided to make my way over.
Yeesh. They’d already started isolating the area. The closest I got was 38th Street on Lexington, or two blocks from the scene.
Just as the linked report says, the steam at times rose as high as the Chrysler Building and it blocked the view up Lexington from sidewalk to sidewalk. The mud spurted up to fifty feet high at times. It looked like a volcano had opened up in the street. All those TV shots you’ve seen? I was standing right behind that phalanx of cameras.
After about twenty minutes, I got bored and left.