Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Evacuated from Work! 2 Blocks North and 3 Blocks West of Explosion

I work at 43rd and Madison, in a building connected to the Grand Central tunnels. And I picked a hell of a day to work late! I didn't personally hear the steam explosion that happened tonight, although one of my coworkers says she did.

I was staying late to work a little on my play and around 5:50pm or so a terrified coworker came over to my area and said "A bomb just went off-- a building exploded-- you need to leave! Leave now!" I took the time to shut down my computer and pack it up (well, it had my play on it!!) and put on my rain boots then hightailed it out of the building. The stairwell was packed with people running downstairs.

When I walked out onto 43rd Avenue I was still wondering what had happened and found myself facing a huge column of smoke. Oh, I thought, that's what happened. At the time, everyone on the street was saying a building exploded. I quickly decided that my usual commute home (taking the 6 from Grand Central Terminal to Lexington and 59th) was not a great option, since the explosion was in the direction of Grand Central (good decision on my part). So I walked up Madision to about 51st and then walked over to Lexington and up to 59th.

I managed to leave a message in my parents' home voicemail saying I was all right. Then the cell phone service shut down. The streets were packed with people and no one knew what had happened. I heard that a building had come down and that an electrical turbine had exploded-- but nobody knew anything. I walked passed one delivery truck that was blaring its radio for everyone to hear, all I was able to hear as I walked passed was "people are running from the building." Which was not encouraging.

I got to the 59th and Lex stop and found out that the 6 was not running at all, but the N train pulled up within seconds and I had an event-free ride back to Queens. My cellphone started working again and I got my dad on his cellphone. He was sitting in a pizza parlor in Chicago at a conference. He hadn't heard anything on the news and was not worried.

Looks like I will be working at home tomorrow and until they clear the area for asbestos gas. I am glad it was not more serious!


Little Blue PD said...

It happened on the East side of 41st and Lexington Ave. I was like a block away in the office. At first I thought it was thunder, but it just kept going for like over 20 minutes it seemed, and it was very very loud.

Very scary, the NYPD says it was not terrorism. They say it was a steam explosion. Smoke and steam went up over the 45th floor. There was no black smoke like a fire though. People were running down Lexington. It was pretty scary, I was positive while in the area that it was terrorism.

It happened right around the corner from one of the biggest creators of traffic congestion in NYC.

Will Mayor Bloomberg do anything about Park Ave. being blocked off at 42nd street?

I think Mayor Nanny Bloomie is a very arrogant man. I also highly doubt he rides the subway that much. He's the mayor, I want someone driving him around so he can work and make calls and stuff. New Yorkers shouldn't want him wasting all that time on the subway.

We all have to wonder what Bloomberg is really thinking of with this congestion pricing tax scheme. Maybe he mostly just wants a new tax. Just wrap it up in ‘concern for the environment’, and then people can just demonize those who oppose it.

If he cares so much about traffic jams, congestion and air pollution, why does he let Park Avenue be blocked off? Why doesn’t he do anything about that?

It's true, Pershing Square Restaurant blocks Park Avenue going South at 42nd St. for about 12 hours a day/5 months of the year! This Causes Massive Congestion and Air Pollution!

But apparently it does not bother NYC’s Nanny-in-Chief Mike “Congestion Pricing Tax” Bloomberg?

It certainly supports his claim that the city is hugely congested.

Check out the map! Tell your friends!

Check it out!



The Misanthrope said...

I was so glad to hear from you. Thank you for calling!!

Adam said...

welcome to New York. We don't have earthquakes or landslides but this we got.

Freeman said...

Cripes! I work on 43rd and 2nd Ave. When it happened I was walking out of the building. My first thought was, of course, "How quickly can I get the heck out of here?"

Only in NY, can you have a huge ass explosion that shakes buildings right next to Grand Central station, and then next day everyone sort of says "At least it wasn't a bomb, right?"

Johnna Adams said...

Thanks for the welcome, Adam! It is a lot more memorable than if you had just stopped by with a cake. ;-)

Matt, wow, you are much closer! That must have been awful. I am a little blown away at the cavalier attitude, too. My building never sounded the alarm or told us to evacuate. It was just word-of-mouth panic. And then they told us we were expected to come into work the next day, even though we are right on the border of the frozen zone (one of the frozen streets was behind us). I worked from home yesterday anyway. Good grief.