On March 26th, an explosion collapsed three buildings in NYC and damaged another. The tragedy took two lives and injured many.
A nightmare on 2nd avenue—eerie silence muffles the street sound. The police closed the roads, their cars standing in the center with sirens flashing. The balmy spring air contains a certain electricity, stuck somewhere between excitement and utter despair.
As if drawn by magnet, onlookers move closer to the site, hurdling caution tape and evading ambulances. I follow, arriving at a crosswalk where wooden Police barricades proved impenetrable. Many gathered here, gawking at distant flames wrapped tightly around a brick building.
I’d never heard a New York City avenue so quiet. Passerby held phones in the air to snap a photo before wandering away. Others adjusted dog-walking routes toward 1st avenue. No one spoke.
The fire burned in silent vigil. I watched firefighters suspended in the air, pummeling the scalding pile of masonry with water. “Did everyone make it out?” a woman whispered.
I meandered down a closed side-street, the typically lively head shops and tattoo parlors of St. Mark’s Place lay dormant. Media vans pepper otherwise deserted roads—I walk directly on the double-yellow line.
A few blocks over, the noise of the city returns, continuing with machine-like efficiency. Perhaps, it was all just a dream.
From a distance, a cloud of smoke looms above, obscuring the scene in one ominous plume rising endlessly toward the heavens.
I wondered if the souls consumed in the rubble ascended the same way.