The MTA doesn't know went wrong in a planned blast for the Second Avenue subway yesterday that sent debris flying into the intersection of 72nd Street and Second Avenue. Upper East Side residents, however, were quick to offer analysis. "I thought I was in Beirut," one woman told ABC 7. Not to be outdone, another told the Post, "It's like the blitz in London in World War II!" At press time, it was unclear if anyone had yet compared the explosion to Hiroshima, but MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota did issue a lacerating statement. To get the full effect, read it aloud in the voice of Winston Churchill:
What happened at the Second Avenue Subway construction site today is completely unacceptable. The MTA is investigating what went wrong and will not resume work at the 72nd Street site until we receive a full explanation for what happened and a plan to make sure it does not happen again. While I am thankful that no one was injured today, I fully understand why neighbors of the construction site are upset. I am, too. The safety of the community is the MTA’s utmost priority. We will continue working with the community to ensure their concerns are heard and acted upon.
Luckily no one was injured in the explosion, which happened around 12:45 p.m and sent debris eight stories high. A worker at an art gallery tells the Post, “Huge plumes of smoke and rock came shooting out of the hole across the street. When they hit the windows we all froze. Nobody was hurt [in the store], but the noise was unbelievable." The blast shattered windows in nearby buildings but did not cause any major structural damage, according to a preliminary investigation by the DOB.
The MTA tells NY1 the force of the explosion knocked off the wooden piling and steel plate covering the blast area. But one source tells ABC 7, "The explosives were set without proper precautions in place. This type of underground blast requires a protective covering be draped across the surface to prevent any release of rocks, dust and debris. The protective covering... was draped in such a way as to prevent a vertical release of debris, rather than taking this extreme angle into account. So the debris blew-off in a 35-degree angle to the surface."
Here's video taken moments after the explosion:
North Carolina resident John Wilson tells the Daily News he was in the neighborhood "getting my new hip put in," when the explosion occurred. Wilson, an amateur photographer, appears to be the only one who got good photos of the moment of the explosion. His wife tells the tabloid, "I turned to run and things were coming at me. I wanted to protect my husband, but he seemed to be enjoying it." Wilson explains, "I thought it was just kinda cool. Stuff happens and where else would this happen but in New York?" Sounds like somebody wasn't IN GERMANY DURING THE FIREBOMBING OF DRESDEN!