At 5:45 last night, I boarded an M42 bus at 42nd and 2nd. I had twenty minutes to get across town.
Here's what happened as my bus crossed Lexington Avenue (thank you, New York Times):
When I heard the ruckus, I put my Blackberry away and did what everyone else on the bus was doing, which was leaning out the window, watching people sprint across 42nd street and west, the direction my bus was headed. The bus driver got on the intercom and told us there was some kind of fire and that we might have to disembark (yes, he used that word) and continue on foot. We made it another block before he stopped the bus, turned on his "not in service" light and told us to... disembark (this time he used less polite vocabulary). Then he too abandonned the bus. I walked to west 42nd street and 7th avenue and looked east:
I continued west a few steps, and then my phone started ringing. First, it was Lola, wanting to know if I needed a place to stay. Then it was Sri, who was waiting at the climbing gym for me and knew I was on a bus trying to get across town. Then Bibi, same issue. Then my parents called. My brother called next, all in a row, like ducks.
I still didn't realize how, um, serious the problem was until I left Bibi, Sri, and Pax at the restaurant and attempted to walk home. Here are some photos (thank you, cell phone camera) from my journey:
What the point of upending a mail bin on a fire hydrant is, I have no idea.
However, since it was never my intention to live in New York City forever, and since I know that at best, I will be here another two years (tops), I picked up a piece of the debris in that second photograph there and brought it home. I now own a piece of 41st street.
I am not bothered by the fact that NORMALLY the bus is too much trouble and I just walk across town on the decidedly less congested 41st street to the NYPL before I hang a right onto 42nd. I do not have a witty summation. I experienced danger. And that is all I have to say.