photo by Gerardo Vitale
Most thought the noise and vibrations were hail. But it was a curtain of bricks that rained down that morning on First Avenue, not far from me, at 64th Street. It was December 7th. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt. I walked by later in the day not having heard the news, and the street was sectioned off.
A uniformed guard was there in front of the tape-off street and would not let anyone pass. I am pretty sure most of us suspected another bomb scare or some other act designed to shake us to our core. No information was given. Someone said something about cleaning. I had to reroute myself, and walked home and read this terrible news. Thank heavens it was a weekend, how many would have been injured and killed, had it been a weekday?
I love my neighborhood. I am truly lucky to be here. Yet the pace and ubiquity of noisy, polluting construction is surging ahead at breakneck speed. Some photos I took this month near me, will tell the story better.
I did not include photos of what happened today.
This morning a massive crane fell onto Worth Street in Tribeca. People fled and thought it was an explosion when they heard the metallic crash. One man was killed, two injured seriously, and one sustained minor injuries. If this had happened 15 minutes later the street would have been much busier with young ones heading to dance class and Gymboree. You should read about it.
I fear for this great city, with infrastructure that is crumbling. What else do you call it when bricks rain down, and huge cranes fall from the sky? I am sure this happens elsewhere, but Manhattan sure seems to be the epicenter for this “Race to the Top” sort of building.
Tall, needle-thin buildings are going up, up, UP. On my street. To the East and to the West.
When I took this photo I flinched. It was an instant visceral reaction. I am feeling vulnerable. All other days I accept the debris, jackhammers, and endless seams of scaffolding as just the normal clutter and sounds of the city. I used to hear a symphony, but lately, I hear only isolated brassy bass tones. They vibrate much too loudly.
I hear BOOM. I feel Chicken. Henny Penny, I feel Little.
Do you hear it? Do you see it where you are?