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Explosion Reported Near Grand Central Terminal
By Ed Driscoll · July 18, 2007 03:37 PM · The New, New Journalism

NOTE (3/3/08): If you're clicking in on March 3, 2008, you may be looking for this story, as the photo and story below concern an explosion from last July.

Bloomberg (the wire service, not the mayor) reports:

An explosion was reported near the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 41st Street near Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal, the New York City Police Department said.

There was an underground explosion of unknown origin, possibly a manhole or transformer, said Sergeant Reginald Watkins. Officers are en route and he no additional information at this time. Watkins didn't have any information about a building collapse, deaths or injuries.

"Officials said it was not terrorism related", according to AP.

More as it comes in.

Update: Here's a CBS report:

Fire and emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspected steam explosion near Grand Central Station in Manhattan on Wednesday during the evening rush hour, officials said.

There were no initial reports of injuries, reports CBS station WCBS-TV in New York.

The New York Police Department said a steam pipe exploded, and it does not appear to be terrorism-related.

A large column of gray smoke poured from the vicinity of a building near Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, and the air near the site was filled with ash.

The explosion occurred at 43st Street and Lexington Avenue.

Thousands of commuters evacuated the train terminal, some at a run, after workers yelled for people to get out of the building.

Witnesses reported that their buildings shook.

Photo above via the San Jose Mercury News.

Update: Pajamas has addtional links, and notes that CNN has a live internet video stream covering the event. Meanwhile, Breitbart.tv has a CNN Headline News clip titled, "Hundreds of People Running Down Third Avenue", which initially blames the explosion on a faulty transformer near the Chrysler Building. "It sounded like an earthquake"..."an enormous hole in the middle of the street"..."billowing smoke".

Update: K-Lo writes, "A Lexington Aveneu-er who was there six years ago comments: 'NYC people still remember — though you'd never know it on a normal day. but Lexington has been lined with people stopping and looking with those same faces from a few years back.'"

Last Update? Hot Air's Allahpundit channels his inner Mike Gravel and posts the perfect video metaphor of his thoughts on the story's lack of newsworthiness. From what I've read in his book, I think Drew Curtis of Fark.com probably has a similar take.

But what the heck. Since I'm in for at least a penny on this story, speaking of video, Wired's Danger Room has this impressive video clip:

And the explosion is also a reminder of something that Nicole Gelinas of City Journal noted late last month: Manhattan's physical infrastructure "desperately needs renewal".

More: Last update? Who am I kidding! Reader Peter Malloy writes in, "Ed, you seem to be the aggregator of the hour for the explosion in NYC. I thought I would pass along my eyewitness account":

I was in a conference room on the 31st floor of a building at 43rd and Lexington, with windows looking directly over the incident. At first we heard a very loud rumble. It was not an explosion per se, but a very loud protracted rumble. Our building shook and the lights flickered on and off. We went to the window to see what it was, and saw a cloud of what appeared to be smoke engulf the building nearest the incident. The smoke or whatever it was was at our height and rising. There was a palpable moment where no one said a thing but all knew for a certainty that it was the destruction of that building which could only be caused by one thing. The persistent rumbling was clearly the building falling to the ground and the mushrooming smoke and dust (vapor actually, but we did not know it then) was all too familiar. Then someone said "Lets get out of here" and we moved to the elevators and evacuated the building along with everyone else in it. It happened orderly and without panic - clearly some lessons had been learned. We exited onto Lexington Avenue, took one look south at the seeming inferno and quickly headed north. Being the cynical New Yorker that I am, I had become a little tired of the NYFD hero act. However, as what seemed like all of the east side moving uptown on foot, I could not help but be moved by the fire trucks with firefighters in it rushing south into the mess, not knowing, like the rest of us, what exactly had happened but suspecting the worst.
One person is dead and 20 injured, according to this report.

Meanwhile, Dan Riehl posts a photo of onlookers along with a key detail:

Everyone is taking video, or snapping photos with their cell phones.

I imagine they easily outnumber the journalists doing the same.

That won't make Brian Williams happy.

Update: Ron Coleman has some thoughts on Dan Riehl's post

Yes, we’re all on board — journalism is something you do, not something you "are," i.e., not a privileged caste.
Exactly. Though that's not something that a caste whose privileges are slowly ebbing wants to hear, which helps to explain all of these cranky responses to the people they now share their turf with, however reluctantly.



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