For more than five years this city, New York, has been waiting for a shoe to drop. Not a shoe that anyone WANTS to drop, but waiting nonetheless. Yesterday there was a hint of what might be in store the next time a real shoe drops. About 6 in the evening, something went wrong with a 20” steam pipe near Grand Central station, and it blew, creating a 10 foot, or so, hole in the ground right in the middle of Lexington Avenue. We had just passed into the Lincoln Tunnel, having driven from DC to the city, and, en route to our apartment, had picked Jordan up on 44th St. and were making out way up the slow moving west side. Jordan got a text message from a friend …”there is some kind of explosion at Grand Central.. “ was all we knew. Then we tapped into WCBS/880 a.m. and got a few more details. It didn’t sound pretty. The steam was still blowing tons of crap into the air, creating a plume which rose several hundred feet into the air over Lexington.
When the Cops have masks and the People don't....
By the time we got to the apartment, and parked the car, and found out that indeed, it was not the ‘other shoe’, but just an “infrastructure failure” – as Mayor Bloomberg called it – it was too late to try and head down there: I don’t any longer have a N Y police press pass (if you don’t regularly cover murders, they say, don’t bother applying…) and getting by the cops was not easy.
Jack Hammers, piles of rock, and a Wake Up Call
So I watched the TV choppers as dusk fell, from our roof, thought I still couldn’t see the place where the pipe blew. Thursday morning, early, I got up to move the car to the garage (at 6:50am usually – it has to be gone by 7:00 am) and then headed down 3rd Avenue to see what I could see. While I couldn’t get right to the spot where it had blown, I was nevertheless amazed to see how many Con-Ed guys were out there, digging trenches, laying cable, and other “get it running again…” barometers of City Life. I had several impressions:
Tearing Up the street, to built it back up: 7:02 a.m.
1) There are a helluva lot of Hispanic guys working in the street crews, and I have to say, it would be interesting to know if/howmany of them are “Illegal Immigrants.” That seems to be the topic du jour just about every jour, so a little precision would be a good thing.
Things are anything BUT Casual at the Casual Corner
2) There is a whole other city underground, which we, the folks never really even know exists. Cables, tunnels, pipes, wires. And that’s the part you Can’t See!
3) When they do start to put things back together, and today, I must admit, the whole area had the look of “… the Mayor has told us to fix this in a week, and we will have it fixed within a week”
4) Other than 4 in the morning, or a streetfair, you ‘ll never see the big avenues this uncongested. And I mean the Big Avenues.
Who Ever Thought 3rd Avenue could be this quiet at 7 in the morning?
In a week or two, there will still be plenty of traces of what happened yesterday, but I think traffic will have been restored. People do expect their city govt., to take over and make something good of it. Here is another chance for New York to show just how it IS to get things done. It’s a mess, true, but the shoe really didn’t drop. We’re just sayin… David