I was walking out of the office to the subway, headphones on, minding my own business and just cursing the slow people in front and the tourist taking a photo of the Chrysler building when there was a bang and then a rushing sound. I looked up to find what looked like the centre of Lex and 42nd crossing pouring out smoke about one block in front of me.
The general tendency was to go the other way, so that’s what I did before stopping and taking a few images. Interestingly, that this may have been a bomb was not my first thought – maybe I’ve seen too many on the news but given the upward flow and the continued rushing sound, i thought it was more likely a gas main or something that gave a continuous fuel supply.
I thought I’d go back to the office but that was evacuated but I’m lucky enough to live close enough to walk. So 40 blocks later, the shaking has stopped and I think I’m going for a drink.
Update: In the pub, there were 2 other guys who were around the same area. One of them worked above the steam/transformer explosion and said stones were hitting his 14th story window. They thought it was the building next door and it was not until he saw the news in the bar that he realised it was in the middle of the road.
Update: (from press conference) it was a 2 foot pipe installed in 1924 that burst, cold water on the pipe is likely suspect. At the moment 20 people injured 2 people critical, one fatality. Tow truck went into the crater. Oh, great, asbestos released possible – advised to take clothes and put away until confirmed. Grand Central open; Lex ave line impacted – nothing running in the area. Shuttle impacted, 7 not stopping at Grand central. Roads closed all the way round it at the moment.