Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Day to Remember

The Empire State Building [center] and the Midtown Manhattan skyline obscured in haze yesterday afternoon from the roof of my apartment building in Bushwick

Manhattan skyline from my roof on a clear day [May 23, 2007]

This morning I have decided to take a temporary break from the usual commentary about the movement for LGBT rights in order to reflect upon the previous day's events. Thunder, torrential downpours [and a rather frantic Milagro and Alegria] literally jolted me out of bed around 6:30. I immediately ran around the apartment to shut the windows to avoid any unnecessary floods only to wait nearly two hours to open them again to let fresh air back in. I almost never use air conditioning so it was certainly a challenge to say the least!

The weather eventually cleared enough to allow me to run a couple of errands in the city. The Weatherbug icon on my laptop indicted more than two inches of rain had fallen onto Bushwick in less than three hours. A number of subway lines in Brooklyn and Queens had flooded. It was quite the mess! I returned home a couple of hours later, around 12:30, and began to work on a number of stories assigned to me. I took my customary afternoon siesta and awoke around 5:30. I turned Channel 7 on and Bill Ritter, somewhat frantically, interrupted the broadcast around 6:15 with news of an explosion in Midtown Manhattan. I immediately thought it was a terrorist attack but it turned out to be a violent -- but thankfully non-terrorism related -- steam pipe explosion. I climbed up to the roof of my building to see any possible smoke. The city skyline was almost obscured in haze but I did see a white plume of steam rising from the East Side through the pollution. In the end, one person unfortunately died from a heart attack as a result of the explosion and a number of blocks around Grand Central remain closed. Gotham certainly tests the will -- and endurance -- of those who choose to live and visit it. Yesterday's events certainly proved this reality.

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