An Eyewitness Account of the Steampipe Explosion

Well, I am sure by now you have all heard about the steam pipe explosion in NYC.  A 24 inch steam pipe was breached by cold water which caused the pipe to explode.  According to sources from Consolidated Edison, NYC’s eletricity provider, the pipe was 83 years old andwrapped in asbestos.

If you read this, keep in mind I only wanted to give you all the perspective as it occurred.  The media’s melodrama gets a little old.

I work 2 blocks from the explosion.  The explosion actually occurred at my normal bus stop. 

I had been planning to catch the 6 o’clock bus to catch a yoga class.  Thankfully, I got sidetracked on something I was working on and when I looked at the clock, it was 5:58.  I started packing up when the first explosion hit.

It is surreal to see so many people walking the streets abruptly turn, and start running in the opposite direction.  The explosions were so loud my windows were shaking.  I immediately ducked as I was concerned they were going to shatter.  I grabbed my things and headed out of the building.  We all learned after 9/11, the last thing you want to do is linger.  When I hit the sidewalk, it was chaos.

I looked toward the explosion and saw the smoke spewing as high as the Chrysler Building.  I have to tell you, thoughts of 9/11 were racing through my mind (I happened to work across the street from the WTC, but was lucky enough to have the day off).  No one knew what had happened (I actually called Darrell and said the bastards got Grand Central), all we knew was the sirens were screaming, emergency personnel was speeding and we knew it was bad.  I took off north to get away from the smoke, and yes, I was scared; and yes, I thought it was another terrorist attack.  Fortunately, it was aging infrastructure.

Now let me tell you about NY’ers.  Admidst this chaos, people were just moving quickly (although some idiots were stopping to take pictures-gotta wonder what they were thinking about), no one was pushing and shoving, it was just a surge northward, away from the smoke.  No yelling, no screaming, albeit, I saw a few tears shed.

I really do believe we’re starting to get used to this constant threat.  It’s interesting how it occurred; it’s like a subconscious state of awareness that kicks in when it hits the fan, you just start acting, not really thinking. 

I had walked more than 10 blocks before I thought about calling home (I stopped when I couldn’t hear the explosions any longer).  Don’t let anyone tell you differently, the explosions lasted more than 10 minutes.

I did manage to flag a bus down when I walked to the West Side.  A special thanks to the Express Bus drivers who during the chaos, just stopped to pick people up and get them out of the area. 

When I got home, much wine was consumed, many calls had to be made and the utter feeling of exhaustion hit.  As I write this today, I am still feeling quite tired.

One more thank you is in order.  My guardian angel has been working overtime.  I plan on getting to church (I hope the walls won’t shake) and lighting a candle of thanks.


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