TMC’s own Richard Zippy Grigonis missed the New York explosion by a few hours. Thankfully he is OK. Here is what happened from his perspective:
I’m fine. I had an 12:30 p.m. appointment in the Chanin Building, an Art Deco skyscraper built in 1928. It occupies Lexington Avenue from 42nd Street to a point about half-way down the block toward 41st Street.
At about 1 p.m. I got in a cab, which made a right onto Lexington Avenue, moving south over the intersection of 41st and Lexington. Nothing exciting about that, at least not until nearly 5 hours later, at about 5:57 p.m., when a transformer beneath 41st Street exploded, tearing open a 20-inch diameter steam pipe that blew a big crater across 41st Street (between Lexington and Third Avenues) and sent mud and rubble flying into the air, accompanied by a huge roaring geyser of 1,000 degree (Fahrenheit) superheated steam that sent big cottony clouds soaring higher than even the nearby 77-floor Chrysler Building.
The crater swallowed a tow truck, and the explosion killed one person and caused hundreds to flee the area, which of course was engulfed in steam, asbestos and other toxic airborne substances. Grand Central Station, nearby subways and traffic in general came to a halt.
All though no terrorism was involved, the magnitude of this disaster reminds me of the World Trade Center and my visit to the Wild Blue Restaurant at the top of one of the towers just before 9/11.
I think maybe I shouldn’t visit New York City so often!