An Explosion in Spanish Harlem Caused Two Buildings to Collapse

At 9:30 or so this morning, a huge explosion was heard and felt in East Harlem. Half of a block from the intersection of 116th St & Park Ave, I could see billows of smoke and dust. Car alarms were going off everywhere.

As of the time of this writing, two people have died and over 60 people were injured as a result from what is believed to be a gas explosion. This explosion was so strong that it collapsed two buildings, sending debris across the street, crushing parked cars below, and sending shock waves strong enough to shatter glass up and down Park Ave.

In no time flat, the neighborhood filled up with rubberneckers, journalists, firemen, an amazing variety of police, and eventually, the Mayor.

I am grateful for our first responders. It is amazing to see them swarm into action so quickly and effectively for the protection and service of everyday people. It is a refreshing contrast to the surveillance and security state that we seem to be morphing into. In this surveillance and security state, too many armed and dangerous public sector employees seemingly target, rather than protect, our communities – particularly where low-income or people of color live.