July 13th, 2007

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Minor Fire in Brookline

At 7 AM this morning, as gnomi and I were going to work, we saw that a small fire (or at least, what we hope is a small fire) was burning underneath a manhole cover just two blocks from our bus stop.


Smoke From the Street Smoke From the Street
Smoke emerges from the NSTAR manhole at the corner of Harvard St. and Naples St. in Brookline, on the morning of July 13, 2007. Photo copyright ©2007 by Michael A. Burstein.



Although it looks like it could be steam, it was definitely smoke; the air nearby smelled of burning.

After I took the above photo, I went into Ross Cleaners to ask the owner what he knew about it. Apparently, he had seen the smoke emerging from the manhole and he called the Fire Department, who was now on the scene along with police. From what I understand, they were waiting for NSTAR to show up because they can't go into the manhole until folks from the utility company are on the scene.



More Smoke From the Street More Smoke From the Street
Smoke emerges from the NSTAR manhole at the corner of Harvard St. and Naples St. in Brookline, on the morning of July 13, 2007. Photo copyright ©2007 by Michael A. Burstein.



I'm reporting this less than an hour after seeing it, hoping by now that the fire has been extinguished and that the neighborhood still has power...
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Thirty Years Ago Today – This Day In History, 1977: New York City Blackout

Wow. Was it really so long ago?

Thirty years ago today, on Wednesday, July 13, 1977, a blackout started in New York City that lasted overnight into the next afternoon.

I was seven years old at the time, and I remember the blackout somewhat. According to official reports, events leading to the blackout started at 8:37 PM, and the city was plunged into darkness at roughly 9:30 PM. My brothers and I were in our bedroom, reading by the light of the lamp on the bureau of drawers, when suddenly the light went out. I don't recall if we panicked or not. According to my memories, my father came into the room within seconds with a lit candle in a holder.

The 1977 blackout is infamous for the looting and riots that took place. Ensconced in our house in Forest Hills, Queens, none of that affected me. We got the news over a battery-powered radio and then somehow managed to get to sleep that night. My memory tells me that it was a hot night.

I don't recall much of the next day except that we did wait for the power to return. I do remember how we discovered that we had power again. I was outside, standing near the gate and tunnel that led into Forest Close, of which my house was a part. (Basically, the entire block consisted of houses that surrounded a locked in common area of grass and trees.) The tunnel contained a light, and although it was a bright mid-afternoon, we saw that the light had suddenly gone on again. We went back into our house, and sure enough, the power had returned.

References:


From the New York Times City Room Blog:


Copyright © Michael A. Burstein