This wasn’t the clinic, this was right around the corner from it, where some private unlicensed construction workers hitting a gas line caused an explosion/building collapse concurrent. So far at least there have been no deaths, although 20 are injured, 2 missing, and 4 totalled buildings means any number of people displaced. (A hotel has offered to give anyone who can offer proof of residence in those buildings complimentary 3 night stays, and a realtor has offered to help them find new places to live ASAP. Noble gestures. But let me just say I don’t remember offers like that pouring in when a similar explosion occurred last year not far from my Dad in Spanish Harlem…just sayin’…)
Anyway, at the time there was a lot of confusion as to what exactly had happened, other than it had been some kind of explosion. Early on I heard someone say it had something to do with Con Ed, and in the lobby where I was waiting a plainclothes cop with a badge on the outside of his grey trenchcoat stepped in, discussing something on his radio about bring in the “terrorist unit”. He stepped back out when he caught me looking over at him. The Loisaida long-timers we know think it smells like dirty landlord/real estate tricks. It wouldn’t be the first time.
It also smells like lots and lots of smoke, naturally. I’ve had an irritated throat and shortness of breath for most of today. Thankfully Eric was on the west side running errands, though when I got through to him and let him know what was going on he immediately wanted to come east and get me. I thought momentarily. “It’s too confusing. The cops keep putting up tape in new places every minute, and giving people contradictory directions of where they can or can’t go.” Besides, why should both of us asphyxiate?
I joined the throng of strangely silent people, save for those arguing with police, in wandering up and down the avenue trying to find a way to actually leave the area said police were telling us it was so unsafe to be in. I finally was able to cross over on 1st street and made my way towards Eric, lines of cop cars and ambulances up and down the streets that were still being closed off. When I reached him I drank his presence in, his energy, our connectedness…I was aroused like an explosion unto myself. I’m a terrible, inappropriate person, but brushes with near death or harm tend to do this to me for some reason. We got home, consummated the terror sex, and I feel into a deep, exhausted sleep.