Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 11


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I'm afraid we're not surprised by this, but at least everyone seems to be paying attention now:

Queens Blackout May Last Through the Weekend

And it only took four days of complaining!

(Via Laura.)

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Welcome to the club

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But sometimes our mayor is pretty funny, as in this bit from AM New York:

"The sad thing is, this shouldn't have happened," Bloomberg said. "We don't know why, but the most important thing—make sure nobody dies or gets hurt and then help Con Ed to get it back up.

"And then we'll go and try to figure out why and point fingers and beat people over the head and all that sort of thing," added the mayor.  [full story]

Just let me know if I can help, Mike.

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Conned again

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ConEd's statement:

NEW YORK - Con Edison wants its customers in Northwest Queens to know that our crews are doing everything possible to restore power to its customers affected by the recent heat wave. The damage to our equipment was significant and extensive. We worked very closely with customers, businesses and city officials this week to ensure that outages weren't more widespread. We have hundreds of crews working around the clock in the area to assess the damage and repair many power cables, and will keep our customers updated as best as possible as to when full restorations will occur.

We appreciate their continued cooperation and patience during this difficult time. [that's the whole thing, really]

Ah, yes, that clears everything up. At least the mayor showed up to talk tough, as reported by the New York Times:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a news conference in Astoria Park to reassure residents that he was pressing Consolidated Edison to restore power and telling them he was sending hundreds of city workers to help them.
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No power until next week? So says Gothamist. Jesus!

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The 8% solution

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When you call ConEd today, they'll report an 8% voltage reduction in northwestern Queens. In our bit of Astoria, though, it's more like 8% voltage period.

For a couple of days now, throughout the heat wave, our power has flickered from time to time. We had pared our electricity usage down to bare essentials, like air conditioning and some lights. But last night, sometime between 11:00 and 11:30, the voltage fell drastically. Some appliances still ran, like the cheap digital clocks and the fan in the bedroom and the fluorescent light over the kitchen sink. But throughout most of our floor, there was not even enough power to run the lights. (The circuit breakers were all fine—I checked them.)

We sweated through the night with the windows open, though at least the thunderstorm last night had cooled things down. But there were lots of sirens.

By morning, a few of the incandescent lights showed a very faint orange glow if you turned them on. I called 311 and ConEd both, but got no helpful information. Laura took Ella out for a walk and gathered more helpful intelligence: electrical fires in the power lines all over our neighborhood. One man reported watching all the power lines for blocks around catch fire and burn. At 31st Avenue and about 44th Street, Laura herself saw a ConEd manhole cover in the street with black smoke pouring out it while it danced and popped and crackled. It was cordoned off and guarded by a cop.

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Manhattan alignment

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Today is the day for viewing a crosstown sunset:

As long as it's not cloudy out west, of course!

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So I looked online to find out which post office is closest to my new office. Then I set out through the heavy Queens-Midtown Tunnel–bound traffic to walk there. I needed to get there by 5:00 to put a story in the mail.

Turns out that the post office I chose is basically a garage. No consumer services. Thanks,! Don't worry, though, I still made it to the one on 34th Street in time.

I'm usually a completely paranoid pedestrian, but on my little walk around midtown I stepped in front of a cab. Good thing he didn't feel like running over me! Don't need a sequel to last night's excitement.

I returned to discover that the men's room key is missing. All the men in the office were accounted for, so someone probably left it in the men's room. I can't throw stones. It could have been I.

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Dead man's chest?

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What I hoped to be writing here this morning was a thumbnail sketch of my night out with Laura last night, when we attended a preview screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at the Ziegfeld.

But immediately afterward, a loud thump soured what had been a terrifically fun evening. We were walking west on 54th toward Seventh Avenue. A section of sidewalk on our side of the street had been blocked off, forcing pedestrians out into traffic—which, typically, was moving too fast. There weren't barriers or safety cones or anything set up. A long semi was parked just beyond the blocked-off area, so there was a long way to walk in the street before being able to get back to the sidewalk.

We managed it fine, but we were about a quarter-block past the mess when we heard a sickening thump from behind us. Laura said, "Someone just got hit by a car."

We both looked back. All we could see around the parked semi was a couple of cars with their brakelights on and a whole lot of pedestrians converging. We decided there were enough people there already and that going to see what had happened would only contribute to the chaos, but today I think we both wish we knew what happened and how it turned out. I've been searching for any news reports online, but no luck.

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Story of a disaster

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Remember the Greenpoint warehouse fire on May 2nd? Check out these before-and-after photos by Thomas Brodin.

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This has really not been a good week. I blame Work Hell for my temporal dislocation. And for turning me into a complete asshat.

I woke up this morning thinking: "Prince! At Bryant Park! This morning! Yay!"

But then in the shower, I thought: "Wait, Prince is on June 15th. Today is June 16th. I worked until 2 a.m. Wednesday, then slept in through the whole thing Thursday morning. Fuck! Fuck fuck FUCK!"

So I dawdled at home, took the subway to my usual stop, Bryant Fucking Park, and walked to work from there.

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William Shunn