New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Minefield

This is the second time recently I have witnessed explosions and fire from manholes. I am learning this is not an uncommon occurrence. The incident in the photo appeared to be an electrical fire - there were intermittent sparks shooting up, large and small explosions with billowing black smoke. The fire department was on the scene promptly and took care of the situation handily and professionally without any drama or fanfare. There are a variety of reasons these things happen. On January 31, 2000, sparks, explosions, smoke or fire occurred in more than 200 manholes across NYC - corrosion from salt used in the winter to melt snow and ice on the streets was the cause. Corrosion of wires has also caused manhole covers to become "live" - in 2004, while walking her dogs in the East Village, Jodie Lane was electrocuted stepping on a manhole cover which had short circuited from contact with wiring. Click here for story. The same year, a skateboarder fell on a manhole cover which was so hot (she heard sizzling), she was branded with permanent scars! Click here for photo and story. In 1999, a carriage horse was electrocuted. Although the East Village death was an isolated incident, hundreds of pet owners or their pets have been jolted by stray voltage in metal covers. The city has 260,000 manhole covers - be careful - it's a minefield out there ...

9 comments:

John Nez said...

Never a dull moment in Manhattan.

During my years there, it wouldn't be at all uncommon to walk past some bank or airline with bombed out windows. The first major 'terrorist' action on Wall Street was in the 1920's when some irate investor wheeled a horse driven wagon full of dynamite up in front of the stock exchange and blew it all up.

I guess making political hay out of such events wasn't the perfected art form back then as it is today.

Marco de Vries said...

Hi there,

My name is Marco de Vries and I live in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, a little village near Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I found your blogger through a friend of mine. Together we visited New York City in september 2005. I took a lot of pictures, some of which I enlarged and framed. They remind me daily of a fantastic vacation.

I am very much impressed by your photo´s. Please keep on the good work so that I can weekly visit your blog.

Greetings from The Netherlands

Marco de Vries

Ianqui said...

Where was this? By St. Vincent's?

Between this and the street grate falling through recently (I don't have the link here, but one can check gothamist), the mere act of walking in NYC no longer seems so natural to me.

Kate said...

And, I thought navigating the streets in some third world countries was a challenge, your narrative to accompany a splendid group of photos amazed me. Never heard of it before.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I can think of a lot of places I would rather be than where explosions or fires happen. The sounds of fire trucks and police car sirens in Baltimore, when we lived there, were hard for us to get used to. I don't know how you survive.

Beth said...

Cool reference to the Stock Exchange episode. Brian might know the full story but while I think people were killed, the building stayed up. You can still see schrapnel holes in the building, though...

Susan said...

I am shocked that this is tolerated! I don't know of any other city where this happens.

There must be a remedy. Why has nothing been done? I mean, for a city is huge and internationally known as NYC to have these safety hazards...not to mention those ugly things sticking out of some manholes (not sure what they are) with gates around them..in the middle of street no less. Weird.

richard said...

Nice blog Brian - my first visit here. I like the photo/reportage style - it conjours up an image of the city for me

Keropok Man said...

wow. manholes in NYC looks dangerous!

In Singapore, we hear of workers suffocating in manholes because of gases that has been accumulated inside.

I guess its equally dangerous ya..