Harlem Building Explosion

I woke up this morning and began my day how I usually do; wake early, feed Witty, see Sammy off and walk the lil’ man in the park before work. But today the ground shook… literally.

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I live in Harlem and have grown rather accustomed to backfiring buses, dirt bikes, fireworks  and even the occasional gunshot. For the most part, I block it out. This, however, was something much different. This was definitely an explosion and it was coming from my neighborhood.

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At the moment, there are 3 dead and several more missing, but before it was clear what was happening, the not-knowing loomed large.

Already a few miles deep in the park, I couldn’t get home fast enough to grab my camera and head to the scene. The closer I got, the heavier the smoke as it combed through the trees of Central Park and eclipsed the prewar buildings of Spanish Harlem.

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There was a smell of things burning that shouldn’t be and a haze that can only mean tragedy is near. I wasn’t alone. Like a stampede, the news helicopters, bomb squad, police caravans, FDNY responders and journalists swarmed down on the little slice of Manhattan that is often overlooked or at least under-appreciated. At the press line it all became that much more real–not just the eminent devastation, but the reminder that this is a human story and while we want to know all the ins and outs of what happened, it’s important that we balance the sensationalism and quick tongued questions with what should be our own true reaction.

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