Open thread: The great steam pipe explosion of 2007; Update: One dead? Update: Explosion video added

posted at 7:40 pm on July 18, 2007 by Allahpundit

Wall to wall coverage of this crap on Fox right now. Is it insignificant because it’s insignificant or is it insignificant because I’ve had eight beers? Read Ed Driscoll‘s coverage and Danger Room‘s on-the-scene dispatch and decide for yourself.

Lest this thread go to waste, I offer you video of a recent White Stripes concert in its entirety. Rawk.

Update: It may have been an accident but it was a fatal one, according to MSNBC. NY1 has details:

Officials say a large steam pipe exploded underground, which then reportedly led to the explosion of a nearby transformer…

“I saw a bus fly through the air and slam into the ground,” said a third witness. “Debris and smoke kept billowing out of the ground.”

Local news sources are reporting that some people were lying in the street injured. Officials say that they are investigating possible asbestos in the air.

The locals freaked out, understandably:

Heiko H. Thieme, an investment banker in Midtown, had mud splattered on his face, pants and shoes. He said the explosion was like a volcano.

“Everybody was a bit confused, everybody obviously thought of 9-11.”…

Darryl Green, who works with AT&T, said he could feel the buildings shake, so he and his colleagues dashed down 30 flights of stairs. “As we came out onto the street, the whole street was dark with smoke,” he said.

A small school bus was abandoned just feet from the spot where the jet spewed from the ground.

Debbie Tontodonato, 40, a manager for Clear Channel Outdoor, said she thought the rumble from the explosion was thunder.

“I looked out the window and I saw these huge chunks that I thought were hail,” she said. “We panicked, I think everyone thought the worst, thank God it wasn’t. It was like a cattle drive going down the stairs, with everyone pushing. I almost fell down the stairs.”

Update: Pretty impressive.

Update: Reader Eric McLaughlin was on the scene and e-mails:

I was north on Lexington Ave, having just crossed 39th St, when the explosion occurred. The ground erupted a block in front of me, like something from a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. The explosion went straight up, very little seemed to go to the sides. Time seemed to slow down. I actually saw the street bulging up toward me like something was rising from below. I thought it might keep coming down Lexington. It felt like it was coming straight at me, but that might have been my imagination.

I took cover in a store. I figured it’d be better to put something between me and the explosion instead of running straight down Lex. No one can outrun an explosion, no matter what Hollywood thinks. My first thought was a gas explosion, but if it was I wouldn’t be writing this. I, and a few others, ran through the store, out the back, and into a courtyard in the center of the block.

I waited until I was sure the explosion wouldn’t daisy-chain down the street. A deafening, continous rumble made me wonder if a building was coming down. When the sky didn’t fall around me, I decided to get out of there. I walked back into the store, and saw the street hadn’t exploded either. Looking up Lexington, I saw white smoke, actually steam, blasting up from the street. I ran out the store and down Lexington, away from the geyser.

Here’s a photo. It really does look like 9/11.

0718071805a.JPG

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

You’d have to be a pretty serious fan to go to that concert.

What kind of beer?

BadgerHawk on July 18, 2007 at 7:43 PM

a non-event…certainly unworthy of the attention being given by national news

jediwebdude on July 18, 2007 at 7:43 PM

Beer = Newcastle.

Allahpundit on July 18, 2007 at 7:44 PM

Newcastle? Never had one. Ale, lager, stout?

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 7:45 PM

Newcastle

Good stuff.

Spirit of 1776 on July 18, 2007 at 7:46 PM

Ale, lager, stout?

Nut brown Ale. It’s a staple:)

Spirit of 1776 on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Nut brown Ale. It’s a staple:)
Spirit of 1776 on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Sounds good. I’ll have to try one.

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

You seem to be going heavy on the suds lately.
Just an observation.

Hening on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Yum. Speaking of beer, how did you land this job?

BadgerHawk on July 18, 2007 at 7:48 PM

uuuuhhhhhhhh…okay

boomer on July 18, 2007 at 7:49 PM

I’ve had eight beers?

Do you sound like Senator Byrd right now ?

William Amos on July 18, 2007 at 7:49 PM

Sounds good. I’ll have to try one.
Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

You’ll like it. I never met a real person who doesn’t, ladies included.

Spirit of 1776 on July 18, 2007 at 7:51 PM

Video of the explosion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SImhkapRuIs

TheBigOldDog on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

You seem to be going heavy on the suds lately.
Just an observation.

Hening on July 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Give the guy a break; I’d be drinking heavily too if my job involved having to watch videos of Robert Byrd, Elizabeth Edwards, Keith Ellison, Keith Olberman, etc etc etc.

In fact, just typing those names means I may have to start right now.

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

I’m more of a Guinness girl. On tap only, of course. I have yet to try Newcastle. Maybe I’ll try that instead of Harp at the pub on Friday.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

The White Stripes wrapped up their quirky tour of Canada by playing a show just one note long.

How hip and edgy of them

RightWinged on July 18, 2007 at 7:55 PM

wow and i thought i had a rough day at work but im only on beer 4. Im also a poor recent college grad so i can only afford terrible beer not newcastle, so it takes me longer to choke it down

cougfan on July 18, 2007 at 7:55 PM

Slow news day what with all the democrats in Congress subverting our troops and committing treason.

SouthernGent on July 18, 2007 at 7:58 PM

I sure hope this doesn’t cause MORE global warming!

Wander on July 18, 2007 at 7:58 PM

Just reading this thread has made me reach for the bottle of wine. Tight lines, ladies and gentlemen!

wccawa on July 18, 2007 at 7:59 PM

What the hell would anyone in NYC need a steampipe this big for?

San Francisco, I can understand.

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 8:00 PM

The great steam pipe explosion of 2007

Immediately brought to mind one of the most bizarre disasters in American history – the great molasses flood of 1919.

RedWinged Blackbird on July 18, 2007 at 8:04 PM

The story’s also a wake-up call that quite a bit of Manhattan’s clapped-out physical infrastructure is in desperate need of updating. I’m not sure if that issue is sexy enough for Mayor Bloomberg, though.

Ed Driscoll on July 18, 2007 at 8:05 PM

I happened to be going through Grand Central station when it happened. Very loud rumbling, then lots and lots of people running like Hell. Pretty scary stuff, I gotta tell ya.

I got on the very next train outta there.

commissar on July 18, 2007 at 8:06 PM

I’m more of a Guinness girl. On tap only, of course. I have yet to try Newcastle. Maybe I’ll try that instead of Harp at the pub on Friday.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

Marry me.

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 8:06 PM

I was right there. I work in the Chrysler Building and left at 5:50-ish. Crossed Lexington Avenue down into the Grand Central subway station.

Didn’t hear a thing; saw nothing; felt nothing; knew nothing about this until I got home just now.

Kensington on July 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM

They charged $45 a ticket for that concert. Which comes out to 12.50, American.

Nethicus on July 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM

RedWinged Blackbird on July 18, 2007 at 8:04 PM

Personally, I would rather have gone in the London Beer Flood of 1814.

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 8:08 PM

I offer you video of a recent White Stripes concert in its entirety. Rawk.

Their best performance ever IMO.

infidel4life on July 18, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Ed Driscoll on July 18, 2007 at 8:05 PM

The terrorists don’t have to target New York anymore, just wait for the infrastructure to blow up on its own.

infidel4life on July 18, 2007 at 8:12 PM

It was like a cattle drive going down the stairs, with everyone pushing.

It’s not like that everyday?

boomer on July 18, 2007 at 8:16 PM

I’ve been liveblogging the incident from the outset, and the concern is going to be asbestos contamination. A similar incident in 1989 killed three people, injured two dozen, and spawned lawsuits over the cleanup.

lawhawk on July 18, 2007 at 8:17 PM

RedWinged Blackbird on July 18, 2007 at 8:04 PM

Personally, I would rather have gone in the London Beer Flood of 1814.

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Then there was the Great Molasses Flood in Boston

lawhawk on July 18, 2007 at 8:19 PM

I blame Rudy for not getting the NY Steam Dept. the steam valve handles they needed.

Dusty on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Newcastle? Must be something not available in flyover country.

steveegg on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Didn’t hear a thing; saw nothing; felt nothing; knew nothing about this until I got home just now.

That’s how I was after the Loma Prieta quake in 1989. I was on my way home from Berkeley to Sacramento right about the time the quake hit, but I didn’t feel a thing and knew nothing about it ’til I got home and found that everyone I knew was panicking because they were afraid I’d been caught in it.

It was rather disappointing, actually.

Bob's Kid on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Newcastle? Must be something not available in flyover country.

steveegg on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

See it in liquor stores all over in Minnesota, and have had it in bars here in Minneapolis. It’s good, but just a bit sweet for my taste.

Currently having a Summit Extra Pale Ale- bitter goodness.

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 8:25 PM

I’ll assume this is the drinking thread.

Am I in the right place?

JammieWearingFool on July 18, 2007 at 8:32 PM

Wall to wall coverage of this crap on Fox right now. Is it insignificant because it’s insignificant or is it insignificant because I’ve had eight beers?

You really gotta do something about that drinking problem Allah.

BKennedy on July 18, 2007 at 8:33 PM

Nipple.

Hoodlumman on July 18, 2007 at 8:34 PM

In the time it took to play that performance:
37465 illegals ran across the border
Half of them had an anchor baby.

Thanks for looking out for us.

TheSitRep on July 18, 2007 at 8:35 PM

Currently having a Summit Extra Pale Ale- bitter goodness.
Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 8:25 PM

Another beer I’ve never tried. So much beer, so little time…

At the moment, I’m drinking red wine – a blend of zinfandel and syrah that I’ve had in my basement for a couple of years. It’s not bad.

Slublog on July 18, 2007 at 8:37 PM

In my opinion, Newcastle is better than Elephant, and I really like Elephant. Newcastle’s just harder to find here.

PattyAnn on July 18, 2007 at 8:37 PM

Ah, Newcastle…yum. Bitter is better, but if you can’t have bitter…I’ll take a Newcastle any day.

Jezla on July 18, 2007 at 8:44 PM

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 8:25 PM

I’ll have to go to the more-expensive liquor stores then.

Time to tip back a Spotted Cow or more.

steveegg on July 18, 2007 at 8:45 PM

I’m more of a Guinness girl. On tap only, of course.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

Nothing better than a creamy Guinness on tap! My drink of choice as well. However, if you are really in the mood for one, the new bottled stuff is not bad (not great, but…) The rocket widgets are amazing. Just remember to toss the bottled Guinness into the glass very quickly–the opposite, of course, of how you would fill a glass of draught.

IrishEi on July 18, 2007 at 8:46 PM

Face it, explosions (of whatever kind, with or without casualties) in New York are always gonna be news, if only because the networks live there.

mojo on July 18, 2007 at 8:52 PM

“10th Mountain, you WILL make your way to the steam pipe!! Over”

“Roger that”

dingoatemebaby on July 18, 2007 at 8:55 PM

Alfa organic Belgian beer.

(Not steamed.)

Light, crisp and nutty.

Great with cumin cheese and a crunchy bagette.

(Be right back…)

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 8:56 PM

Drinking thread drinking game: go to Jam Band Fan or Taliban and take a drink for every one you get right. Saw it at http://www.leninstomb.org.

Bad Penny on July 18, 2007 at 8:59 PM

8 beers on a wednesday night? man, not getting this iphone has hit you hard AP.

zane on July 18, 2007 at 9:05 PM

I honestly cannot believe this thread. When does an explosion in Manhattan become a non-event? Terrorism it wasn’t…but here, every time there’s smoke…or what looks like smoke (and this thing got very high) and we get a little testy.

9/11 is still very fresh in the memories of most NY’ers.

Please, don’t trivialize things like this, people.

JetBoy on July 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM

Eight beers???! good grief. I’d be on a table singing “Shout” from Animal House.

Rightwingsparkle on July 18, 2007 at 9:09 PM

8 beers on a wednesday night?

Yeah, well, I take my leisure where I can get it.

Allahpundit on July 18, 2007 at 9:10 PM

Jetboy-

We’re celebrating the pleasure of a non-event.

Not trivializing what it could have been.

But relieved because it wasn’t.

Cheers!

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 9:11 PM

Bob’s Kid on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

I friend of mine had just moved out there for a job. He was in a meeting when it hit and was enjoying riding on his chair when everyone jumped under the table. He said, “Don’t you guys have these all the time?” “Not like this, get under the table you idiot.”

Years later I was visiting him. I was reading on his couch when a small quake hit. He called a few minutes later and started talking about how cool it was when he told me to shut up and just tell him his house was in one piece.

Bill C on July 18, 2007 at 9:14 PM

Yeah, if I’d lived in NYC then and now, I think I’d get a little antsy over any kind of explosion too. I live in D.C. and that’s scary enough!

As for the White Stripes concert, was that seriously the whole concert? Do these people not know that yet during this video? None of them look irate, as I certainly would be.

As for favorite beer? Hmmmm…I’ll have to get back to you guys on that, this could take some serious analysis…

hollygolightly on July 18, 2007 at 9:15 PM

How soon before Keith blames Rudy during a Speshul Komment?

Kensington on July 18, 2007 at 9:21 PM

Of course there needs to be wall-to-wall coverage of this. New Yaaauuuk is the most important city in the world. Just ask any New Yaaauuuker.

Maybe if Bloomberg’s vehicle tax had passed they would have had money to pay off union leaders to allow – err, I mean pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Curious to see how many of those who were killed/injured were outside having a smoke break (since smoking inside is illegal).

Mack08 on July 18, 2007 at 9:22 PM

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 9:11 PM

Yeah, I know. Just on edge a little. And been having the weirdest dream lately that some attack is going to happen soon (August and October always pop up) in NYC.

Even when that brownstone that blew up before…the one that doctor destroyed so his ex wouldn’t get it…put everyone jittery.

PS: Why couldn’t every band at those Live Earth concerts play just one note? Imagine the little carbon feetprints…

JetBoy on July 18, 2007 at 9:34 PM

Newcastle? I would have picked you for a liquor man.
Heineken baby!

SouthernDem on July 18, 2007 at 9:37 PM

I was in my office when it happened. Immediately after, the fire command system in the building came online and an announcement said: “Attention all employees – there has been an explosion at Grand Central Station and 42nd street. Please avoid that area if you leave the building.”

I’m on the 43rd floor of my office building and my window looks south onto 42nd street. I looked out the window and expected to see the Chrysler Building falling over or something. I did, however, see a crapload of smoke (which later turned out to be steam). There was no indication at the time that it wasn’t terrorism.

Sydney Carton on July 18, 2007 at 9:38 PM

Ed Driscoll on July 18, 2007 at 8:05 PM

lawhawk on July 18, 2007 at 8:17 PM

Does this mean NYC will be spending a few billion updating the underground utilities, or will they continue to wait until the next thing blows up, and then fix it?

rockhauler on July 18, 2007 at 9:40 PM

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 8:06 PM

Only if you live in a state that’s not CA because I want outta here.

I also like Spaten Oktoberfest. They only sell it at Oktoberfest because it’s specifically made for it.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 9:41 PM

Bob’s Kid on July 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

At the time of the Loma Prieto quake, I was stationed at DLI (Monterey CA). The power station which served the Monterey Bay area (can’t remember the name or location of it right now) was either destroyed or severely damaged and, as a result all power was out in the area.

At DLI, all the USAF personnel lived in one building and all the NCOs lived on one floor. So we NCOs pooled our funds and caravaned around to the various liquor stores in the area to relieve them of their rapidly warming beer.

Let’s just say that that the formation we had to be in the next morning was a painful one. Good times.

baldilocks on July 18, 2007 at 9:43 PM

meh…best beer? My vote is Stella Artois.

Either that or Fat Tire…but then, I drink that when on my yearly ski vacation in Colorado. And anything tastes better when yer on vacation…

JetBoy on July 18, 2007 at 9:45 PM

Only if you live in a state that’s not CA because I want outta here.

I also like Spaten Oktoberfest. They only sell it at Oktoberfest because it’s specifically made for it.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 9:41 PM

Minnesota; just bring warm clothing and lots of beer.

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 10:00 PM

aww man, Allah has stopped drinking tonight. I was hoping for more robot jokes and an essay on how much he loves us…;-)

Rightwingsparkle on July 18, 2007 at 10:03 PM

Hollowpoint on July 18, 2007 at 10:00 PM

If I drink enough beer, will it keep me warm? If so, I’m bring it lots of it.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 10:06 PM

Screwed up those quote tags. I’m going to have a beer now.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 10:06 PM

I get the impression that allah is beginning to melt down. Yesterday he started a thread then closed it, claiming he “couldn’t take it anymore.” Today he has had 8 beers by 7:40 pm.

I don’t know what he did before this gig, but maybe this blogging thing is taking its toll.

jihadwatcher on July 18, 2007 at 10:06 PM

wait until the next thing blows up, and then fix it?

rockhauler on July 18, 2007 at 9:40 PM

S.O.P.

IrishEi on July 18, 2007 at 10:11 PM

Do you think so? Oh Allah, if you are having a hard time really, shoot me an e-mail. I’ll give you my IM name. You can always talk to me.

rightwingsparkle@hotmail.com

Rightwingsparkle on July 18, 2007 at 10:13 PM

I sure hope this doesn’t cause MORE global warming!

Sorry to say, but it will, at least in theory. That’s because steam, a.k.a. vaporized, is a greenhouse gas. However, since the high priests of the gorebal warming cult only seem to pay attention to CO2, at least we won’t have to put up with their pontificating over this release of steam.

OK, then. What’s all this about beer?

Bigfoot on July 18, 2007 at 10:15 PM

Whoa! That is one serious geyser of steam! How does it work in NYC, that they transport steam all around town. Centralized (and I mean Centralized!) heating??

gmoonster on July 18, 2007 at 10:16 PM

Oops, that should be “steam, a.k.a. vaporized water”.

Bigfoot on July 18, 2007 at 10:16 PM

Maybe AP’s drinking because the Boss still won’t get him an iPhone.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 10:17 PM

JewBoy-

Friends and relatives in NYC area, and I worry about them every week.

I prefer being in the boondocks.

Allahpundit-

iBeer.com is taken, but iBrewski.com is not.

Skoal!

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 10:38 PM

Jetboy-!

Jewboy? (LOL! at myself)

Too many brews in my fingers (and too many anti-semitic jihadi sites in mind, laughing at my non-Freudian TYPO!) obviously.

profitsbeard on July 18, 2007 at 10:41 PM

I bought a case of McEwans Scotch Ale a while ago, that was pretty good. I do like me some Arrogant Bastard Ale too.

Bad Candy on July 18, 2007 at 10:51 PM

Oh, and any good Stout. Any decent Stout makes me happy.

Bad Candy on July 18, 2007 at 10:52 PM

Hard times? I’d rather have a bottle-in-front-of-me than a surgical-frontal-lobotomy!

petefrt on July 18, 2007 at 10:56 PM

I question the timing.

km on July 18, 2007 at 11:05 PM

GAhhhhh, ignore me. i waded in here after reading the R/C thread, all hyped, did not read the thread (and i REALLY hate it when people post comments without reading teh cottonpickin thread). so i trampled on a perfectly mellow thread, when i should have been gently recommending the merits of a velvety Cabernet Sauvignon.

RushBaby on July 18, 2007 at 11:14 PM

[looks around]

yep, RB, ya killed the thread. Nice going.

RushBaby on July 18, 2007 at 11:38 PM

The great thing about the drinking theme in this thread is that the Islamists reading it are probably *seething.*

Seethe, murderous totalitarians, seethe.

baldilocks on July 18, 2007 at 11:45 PM

baldilocks, it’s Moss Landing. And it wasn’t destroyed. But it did suffer pretty serious damage. Over a million people lost power when that quake hit.

I was living in Pacific Grove at the time, which is about 20-30 miles, as the crow flies, from the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake. What a trip. The only reason the Monterey Peninsula didn’t suffer significant damage is because that that part of Monterey/Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach/Carmel rides on top of a big granite plate. We were actually quite a bit closer to the epicenter than downtown San Francisco, but parts of the city sit on top of land fill, which basically liquified when the quake waves rolled through.

I drove up to my grandmother’s place right after the quake hit, to check up on her. We ended up having a freezer party–pork chops, steaks, etc. on the barbie. And gushy Its-Its for dessert!

Fun times. It was very reassuring to have the cops and firemen patrolling the neighborhood that evening. Ironic, considering how much of an anarchist is was at the time.

I remember the stars were spectacular that night….

nukemhill on July 18, 2007 at 11:45 PM

baldilocks, it’s Moss Landing.

Yes, that’s it. Thanks.

I was living in Pacific Grove at the time, which is about 20-30 miles, as the crow flies, from the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake

Cool. I suspect that we were neighbors.

baldilocks on July 18, 2007 at 11:56 PM

Neighbors *later* (I have been station at DLI three times.)

baldilocks on July 18, 2007 at 11:58 PM

I’m more of a Guinness girl. On tap only, of course. I have yet to try Newcastle. Maybe I’ll try that instead of Harp at the pub on Friday.

wherestherum on July 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM

All good beers, but you gotta go with a Fullers. Best ale in the UK. London Pride, baby.

BacaDog on July 19, 2007 at 12:06 AM

station=stationed

baldilocks on July 19, 2007 at 12:09 AM

I remember the stars were spectacular that night….

They were when the 94 Northridge quake hit, too. And the best part about it was all the calls to 911 and the police station from people wondering what the hell all that bright stuff in the sky was.

wherestherum on July 19, 2007 at 12:13 AM

It was like a cattle drive going down the stairs, with everyone pushing.

Funny, I thought New York was always like that.

smellthecoffee on July 19, 2007 at 12:17 AM

Allah P Drunk Posting, since he can’t drunk dial on his iPhone. Drowning his sorrows.

I feel for you.

Mazztek on July 19, 2007 at 12:57 AM

I’ve been liveblogging the incident from the outset, and the concern is going to be asbestos contamination.
lawhawk on July 18, 2007 at 8:17 PM

An opportunity for fred? to lobby against asbestos victims again.

csdeven on July 19, 2007 at 1:01 AM

I remember the stars were spectacular that night….

They were when the 94 Northridge quake hit, too.

For those of us who are used to earthquakes, “earthquake skies” have become obvious.

baldilocks on July 19, 2007 at 1:45 AM

Comment pages: 1 2