Just what my city needed: snippets of news reports, “explosion,” “partial building collapse,” helicopters overhead. And all about 400 feet from my office.
I’m typing from 5th and 21st St. in Manhattan. The explosion, which turned out to be a boiler (with possible gas leakage), took place at 6th and 19th. Serious, lots of injuries - thus far no deaths, thankfully - but the sort of thing that does happen in old buildings, which which Manhattan has many thousands.
Until last fall, not the sort of thing that would warrant a Breaking News Bulletin on BBC, or eight zillion satellite trucks, or squelched tears from officemates not wanting reminders. (Our offices - mine in particular - had an excellent view of the Towers.)
The reaction is almost funny - so exaggerated as to devolve into self-parody. It’s as if we’re looking for the first signs that New York has become Jerusalem or Haifa. It isn’t, and (famous last words) shows little sign of so becoming - and in the meantime, I’d like a rest. I’d like a little distance, a little skepticism. A little resistance to turning every burst gas main into a replay.