We doubt they'll be paying livery cab drivers to park over dangerous-looking grates until they can be checked, but Con Edison is promising to check all 18,000 of its sidewalk grates after a woman plunged through one Thursday morning, landing close to a potentially lethal source of electricity. She was eventually rescued by two firefighters. The regional electric utility is still in the process of identifying electrical "hot spots" that have killed at least one person and a number of pets. The New York Times article included a statement from a Con Ed spokesperson who reassured that a repeat of the accident was unlikely, but people the Times informally surveyed sounded unconvinced:
“Sometimes when you walk on them, they shake,” said Erica Busby, 41, who was on her lunch break on York Avenue on the East Side.
“Most of the time, they’re really slack. I think that’s probably why she fell in, because it was really loose.”
Leslie Bramm, 43, a resident of Washington Heights, said he comes across faulty grates daily. “You can see when some of them are sagging, or broken on the ends,” he said as he approached a building on the East Side.
Earlier this year, a commission issued a fairly critical report of Con Ed's senior management for serious failures displayed during last summer's blackout. In 2004, Con Ed settled a suit brought by the family of Jodie Lane, the Columbia grad and East Village resident who was electrocuted by an electrified sidewalk spot. The street where she was killed has been named Jodie Lane Place. In the summer of 2004, a young woman who wiped out off her skateboard was branded by a super-heated Con Ed manhole cover.
(con ed cone pile, by the known universe at flickr)