After asbestos confirmed, investigation continues in Flatiron

July19 Expolsion info at 22nd Con Ed

Con Ed employees accepting bagged clothing at 22nd Street and Broadway (Photo courtesy of Con Ed)

By Sabina Mollot

In the wake of Thursday’s steam-pipe explosion, the city has confirmed the presence of asbestos. Sixteen inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection have been tasked with investigating the presence of any asbestos in nearby buildings while the site of the explosion is also being monitored.

On Friday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality health advisory for the whole city through 11 p.m. The agency’s warning noted that active children and adults as well as anyone with respiratory problems reduce “prolonged or heavy exertion” outdoors.

The public is still being warned to stay away from the immediate area, where there are still emergency crews at work.

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Steam explosion in Flatiron shuts down nearby streets

By Sabina Mollot

Emergency responders are still trying to find out the cause behind an early morning explosion in the heart of the Flatiron District. The blast occurred at 6:40 a.m. on Fifth Avenue and 21st Street, sending a massive gray cloud shooting dozens of feet into the air and causing traffic shutdowns from 19th to 23rd Streets from Broadway to Sixth Avenue.

Eleven buildings were evacuated and surrounding streets were off limits to residents and workers until police began opening some streets at around 8:40 a.m., and office buildings began letting employees back inside. Town & Village’s block on West 22nd Street was one of those affected.

Town & Village driver Ray Pimentel was in his truck with stacks of this newspaper on his way to the office when he heard the massive “Boom!” nearby. Pimentel said had he not been caught at a red light on Sixth Avenue, “I would have been right in the hole in front of Chase Bank (on Fifth Avenue). I’m alive because of five seconds.”

He stopped his truck in the middle of Fifth Avenue and waited there for the Fire Department, which he said arrived in about seven minutes. Oddly, the blast didn’t smell too strong at that time.

“It was like cooking gas, you know like when you’re doing a barbecue, clean, not too bad,” he recalled.

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Weekend Street Closures

Streets will be closed this Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the last weekend of Summer Street activities. Fourth Avenue between Lafayette Street and East 15th Street will be closed to traffic, in addition to Union Square East between 15th Street and 17th Street and Park Avenue South between 17th Street and 32nd Street. There will be rest stops available at these locations that will offer various activities, including free bike rentals, a zip line, rock climbing walls, water stations and free rollerblade rentals. Visit the website for a full list of activities and a map of the route.

Weekend Street Closures

Streets will be closed on Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the second weekend of Summer Street activities. Union Square East between 15th Street and 17th Street and Park Avenue South between 17th Street and 32nd Street will be closed to traffic and there will be rest stops available at these locations that will offer various activities, including free bike rentals, free bike repair, rock climbing walls, water stations and free rollerblade rentals. Visit the website to see a map of the route and a full list of the activities offered.

Third Avenue between East 23rd Street and East 34th Street will be closed from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. for the Church of the Good Shepherd and Gustavos Adolphus Lutheran Church Fair.

Street closures this weekend

The Department of Transportation announced street closures for this weekend, with some affecting the area around Kips Bay.

On Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., street will be blocked off around Madison Square Park for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party on Broadway between 25th and 26th Streets, and Madison Avenue between 23rd and 28th Streets, as well as 24th and 25th Streets between Madison and Park Avenues, 26th Street between Fifth and Park Avenue and 27th Street between Madison and Lexington Avenues.

Third Avenue between 23rd and 34th Streets will be closed on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. for the Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church Fair and the Tilden Midtown Democratic Club.

Street closures this weekend

The New York City DOT announced street closures for this upcoming holiday weekend. Sixth Avenue, between 14th Street and 23rd Street, will be closed for the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club Festival from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday. Lexington Avenue between 23rd Street and 34th Street will be closed on Sunday for the Bellevue South Community Association Lexington Avenue Jubilee from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Street closures for St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Photo by Heather Holland

The following streets in Manhattan will be closed on Saturday from 11 am to 5:30 pm for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

  • 5th Avenue between 86th Street and 42nd Street
  • Vanderbilt Avenue between 43rd Street and 46th Street
  • 44th and 45th Streets between Vanderbilt Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 46th, 47th and 48th Streets between Park Avenue and 6th Avenue
  • 80th, 81st, 82nd, 83rd, 84th, and 85th Streets between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • 63rd and 64th Streets between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue
  • Madison Avenue between 63rd Street and 64th Street