Last weekend, of course, we heard a lot. The Wife questioned one singular loud pop/bang that we heard at about 9:30 last Saturday morning: "Could that be a gun shot?" she quizzed me. It was very loud, a single pop. 9:30 in the morning... Looking out the window we could see pedestrians (we live a block from a major subway station, so there are people walking on the street here 24/7) looking around for the source of the sound.
I must admit that right after I proclaim "youths playing with fireworks" I wonder to myself if there are youths practicing bomb making. I worry about becoming xenophobic toward my Muslim neighbors (probably at least 20-30% of this neighborhood) with all the fear of Islamic extremism in the air.
Last Saturday, the day we heard the big pop in the morning; that night just as the Wife and I began to get cozy in bed, there is a series of bang/pops/explosions. A series of 6 to 10. Then there is a series of sounds that would be at home in a Star Trek battle. "Put phasers on high. Fire to stun or disable". I decided to get out of bed and look out the window. While I am fumbling for my glasses there is crescendo of three to five pops/explosions followed by loud clank of metal object hitting the street. When I look out I see a few people who were frozen / stunned begin to run. From one spot on the street about 20 yards away I think I see smoke coming from the street. There is a manhole cover around there and I assume it was the manhole cover that caused the clank sound. Several more pops and "phaser" sounds follow. A car comes along and in its headlights I can see for sure that there is smoke coming from the street, I assume from the manhole. I wonder if the youths had dropped their explosives into hole in the street and it has affected whatever is down there or just deterioration of the infrastructure.
Firetrucks arrive first. They inspect the house closest to the disruption beneath the street. From what I see their power is out. Firemen put up accident scene tape blocking the street and sidewalk. Minor traffic (it is now about 12AM) but major pedestrian jam backs up in front of the house. Police arrive to keep people from going across the street near the disruption. Mixed success since the few police wander around talking to the firemen and looking at the disruption for their own curiosity.
Finally CON-ED shows up and they put up their cones and police take down the tape blocking traffic. At that time I realize that while the smoke was coming from the manhole by my neighbor's house that the clank was caused by two two-feet by 4-feet sections of street coverings that were displaced leaving a 4' x 4' square hole at the corner of our lot.
The wife and I drift back to bed. The next morning CON-ED is still at work, we see them pull out about 30' of thick charred cable from beneath the street.
It is a shame that along with careless / thrill seeking youth I now consider youth playing a more deadly game as possible source of disruption to life here in the neighborhood. All the while the most concerning issue is the crumbling infrastructure.