That's an interesting way to end the workday (NYC explosion).

At about 6:00 tonight I was in my office at 40th & Madison in New York. I heard a rumbling and I thought, “what a big thunderclap.”

Soon, I thought, it’s a darn long thunderclap – and it’s still going on. I opened my window, and it was a lot louder and still rumbling.

I went to the other side of the office and saw people streaming out of a nearby building at 41st and Park. I thought to myself that it might be a good time to end my day – immediately, and the rest of my office concurred. We locked up the office and took the elevator down.

Once we got outside the building, there were throngs of people calmly streaming west. I joined the stream and walked toward Times Square. Pretty much everyone was heading away from the Grand Central area. As I looked back down 42nd Street, I saw a plume of smoke rising from a building to the east. Police officers (both in cars and on the run), ambulances and fire apparatus were heading to the problem area.

At Times Square, I jumped on the subway and caught an express train home. When I got in, I caught the end of the local news, which said it was a steam pipe explosion, and the national news isn’t covering it, so it couldn’t be too serious.

Still, it was an interesting moment thinking it could have been a serious problem.

Steam explosion causes scare in NYC

Ya think?

I live and work very close to that area. Do you know what street/avenue the explosion was on?

ETA: Never mind, article said it was Grand Central Terminal.

It is apparently on 41st and Lex, though they’re closing the streets all around the area. They’re responding as a four alarm fire.

WNBC news is emphatically saying that it is a steam pipe explosion, not terrorism.

msnbc said 41st and 3rd.

i’m looking at video now. wow!!! it is amazing. it looks like old faithful going off. actually quite a bit bigger than old faithful. really, really, unbelievable pictures.

a school bus near the steaming plumbs and 2 people reported injured.

It’s on 41st between Lex and Third. I’m sitting here in the Bronx thanking God I didn’t go downtown to a 6:30 cocktail reception for a group I belong to (thank God it’s on West 52nd and Broadway, folks should be OK.)

Two injuries, most people seem fine just mud-covered. Looks like Old Faithful, mostly steam, sometimes water and blood-colored mud.

The 4 and 6 aren’t running between Brooklyn Bridge and 86th and the Shuttle’s down; the 5 is running on the 2 line. Avoid!

WABC is having good coverage.

A representative of the NYC Office of Emergency Management is saying on TV it was a 20-inch steam main, a major artery from Queens to Manhattan. The line has been shut off and the geysering is from residual pressure in the line being released.

He is emphatically saying that people should not remain in the area.

20 inch main… that would explain the huge geyser.

one woman is saying the geyser is getting a bit smaller. only 10 stories now.

huh, only 10 stories??!! she did state that at the onset it was over the roof of some of the buildings.

Update: seems like the MetroNorth trains are running; if you can get into the station, says the MTA, you’re OK. Might be worth taking any train north to 125th and switching to the subway there. The 47th and Madison entrance is open.

Oops, the 4 is now shut down to Bowling Green.

Edit: Rocking Chair, it’s a mixed-use neighborhood with old brownstones and small office buildings in with the skyscrapers.

Damn right, unless you want “parboiled” on your death certificate. Live steam,if it’s hot enough, can do to skin approximately what paint stripper does to paint.

CNN is speculating about possible contaminants in the air. True, there may be asbestos around the pipes, and steam is a great solvent and will probably aerosolize anything nasty in the vicinity; but even purest distilled-water steam is still very damn good stuff to stay the hell away from.

(Why yes, I have gotten too close to the tea kettle on occasion. How did you guess?)

How close is too close? I’ll be headed towards 2nd/1st in about forty five minutes. Do I need to be too concerned?

I’m sure that the police surrounding the area will not let you get too close. Good luck.

You kidding me? We know when a cat in Queens goes missing.

Do you think this will be cleared up soon? I’m supposed to take the train down on Saturday!

Well, at 6:30 the local NBC affiliate went to the national news, which was all about the Brazilian plane crash, Al Quaida and trivial things like that. The local news team cut back into the national news at about 6:45, and they’re in full coverage mode at the moment.

Anaamika, I expect that they’ll have train and subway service back by then, as long as you don’t need to go onto the block where the actual explosion was. They actually just said that Metro North was running now.

the mayor is to speak around 7:45.

they are saying 11 injuried, 2 critically. i’m thinking the ones who are at cornell are burn injuries as ryobserver describes.

here in philly we have steam injuries more often than people think due to the steam vents on the sidewalk. some times they “stutter” and splatter on pedestrian and street people.

yep, from the video the buildings are various sizes. one reporter said at the onset the water was shooting around 30 stories. i was hoping she wasn’t refering to the chrysler building, mehitabel, when she said above rooftops.

It will affect train traffic. Other than that, meh…

What to do with a Steam-Pipe leak on 34th street?

“Breathe, my pasty friend, Breathe!!!”

Did you have the freak flooding in the morning like us people in the 'burbs did? I was thinking the flooding could have had something to do with the explosion.

Hey, there’s a big crater with a tow truck in it! The steam seems to have stopped.

It was on ABC’s national broadcast at 6:30 EST.

Looking at the pictures now that the steam has stopped, I’m reminded of that scene in Ghostbusters where the manhole covers were blowing up. That’s because there’s something wrong with me.