Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Shake, rattle, Osama?

Posted by metaphorical on 18 July 2007

The fire in Manhattan today (CNN.com story here) was a little disconcerting to those of still in the office, a mere seven blocks away.

Though it turned out to be a steam explosion leading to a transformer fire (with at least three people injuredUpdate: One death), our thoughts immediately turned to past disasters, especially given the obvious proximity to Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building, two obvious potential targets.

A little after 6:00pm EDT, I heard a rumbling, which I took to be thunder, since it had rained in the morning, heavily enough for several trains between Queens and Manhattan to be out of service from flooding. The rumbling continued, though, and eventually I looked out my window to see smoke billowing from what looked to be Grand Central. A minute later, the sounds of firetrucks and then police cars could be heard, and they I can still hear them every few minutes as I write this, about 8:00pm.

The view from my office was excellent:


and that from my editor’s office even better. Our photo editor took a shot from there and sent it to CNN before heading home to Brooklyn, as best she can. By 7:20 or so, it was up on cnn.com as the third of three pictures of the event.


Commuting is going to be quite a nightmare tonight and, surely, tomorrow. My own train lines uptown have been re-routed, so I’ll end up on a bus, in a taxi, or just walking (60 blocks). It’s the people in Queens who have the big problems though. The 7 train runs through Grand Central and has been re-routed as well, so Queens people have very few options, given the flooding problems of the day. My mother drives in most days and at 6:10 was stuck in terrible traffic near the 59th Street Bridge. I’m sure the local news will have shots tonight of people walking across the bridge.

It looked bad for a while, but it turned out to be just another day in the Big Apple.

4 Responses to “Shake, rattle, Osama?”

  1. midwhitecrisis said

    You’re an oak there elizabeth. Here’s the problem. 270,000,000 other people in this country who are wondering how long we’re going to live in fear because of incompetent “leadership”? Will we ever win a war that should have been dealt with swiftly and decisively from the get go? This is not America anymore. America doesn’t freak out at another day in the Big Apple. Do the right thing “leader”. Drop a bomb once and for all and quit playing with peoples lives over politics. End the war now. “American Style”!!

  2. midwhitecrisis said

    You too metaphorical.

  3. ClaireDePlume said

    The view of city mists from your office is reminiscent of a random scene from “Blade Runner”…

  4. Becca said

    Our firm has its New York offices in the Chrysler Building. As of today, they still can’t receive calls. Firm management gave everyone the option of simply taking a day off; for those who do come in, they’ve made meals in the firm cafeteria free.

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