New York City Blackout

Yes, I realize this happened a long time ago.

When the big NYC Blackout occurred, I remember that the first thing I thought was, “If I don’t come out of this with a great story, I’m pathetic.”

Well, not only did I get a story, I got some pictures too.

I was working for a pair of Oscar-winning movie-making-mogul brothers at the time. My office in Tribeca shut down around the time of the blackout, maybe two or three in the afternoon, I don’t remember. The local bar was unloading all of its beer for half price so I stayed there drowning myself in half-price love until around six o’clock. Knowing that I would never see this good of a deal again, I drank as many bottles of Budweiser as I possibly could, as fast as I possibly could. I got totally seriously hammered and decided I should probably start walking back to my apartment in Queens.

Yep, I had to walk from Tribeca to Astoria(for the non-New Yorkers, that’s really fucking far). I think it was pretty hot that day, too. Again, my memory of this day isn’t so sharp. Good times.

I stopped by a deli which was selling its cooler goods for basically nothing. I grabbed a 6-pack of Coors tall-boys to throw in my bag for the walk home to Queens.

After a couple hours of walking and rubbernecking, I finally got to the Queensboro Bridge.

This is the sea of people at the foot of the bridge, Manhattan side going to Queens.

I stood there for a while looking around and taking in the scene when I saw a lot of black smoke and what looked to be an apartment fire.

I’m really awesome when I’m drunk so I made a bee-line straight for the fire.

I saw the huge red brick wall that is at least four or five stories tall. It supports an overpass that runs right by the apartment building(pictured below). So what should I do? Climb the wall of course.

Drunk people should climb walls to get very close to fire.

I scaled the wall with my bag over my shoulder. I still had two beers left. No way in hell I was leaving those behind. I got scared a couple times on the way up because the finger-holds between the bricks got really small, and it was a long way down by that point. People were cheering for me. People tend to do that a lot.

Public Service Announcement: Never begin to climb anything which you are not certain that you can summit. Getting stuck sucks.

After a pretty shaky climb I finally threw my leg over the top of the wall and sat on the overpass to catch my breath. I repeatedly flexed and relaxed my fingers, as my fingers were very angry with me.

That’s when I saw where the fire was.

(Click to enlarge)

Oh fucking sweet!

I challenge anyone to tell me the last time they were completely alone in a pitch black NYC with a burning car twenty feet away. You can’t. I am the only person this has ever happened to.

This is a real life car on real life fire and I was the only one there to see it… for about two minutes.

Then the NYPD and the FDNY ruined my party.

They had the sense to stay a block away from the burning car while they repeatedly instructed me over the PA on the fire engine to “leave immediately”. I was a little too busy messing with the settings on my crappy camera to take them seriously.

I realized they were serious when I looked up and saw a fleet of New York’s Finest sprinting towards me with black steel batons shouting things that I would rather not repeat on record.

I got the fuck out of dodge and started to climb back down the wall, but not before I got this picture of New York’s Bravest putting out the fire.

(Click to enlarge)

I guaran-fucking-tee you that there is no way I would have made it down that wall without the adrenaline that came from running from the cops. I slipped off the wall with about 10 feet to go and somehow landed solid on my feet. A lot of people below were watching me come down the wall, and it drew a lot of attention. They were cheering again, I’m used to it. There were several gasps when I slipped, and several relieved sighs when I landed.

I immediately blended into the crowd and made my way home.

Several people went to great lengths to follow me into the crowd crossing the bridge. I guess there’s really nothing better to do during a blackout. A few people who were trailing behind me while I was trying to make myself lost in the crowd congratulated me or asked me questions about what I was doing on the wall.

I only responded with, “I got lost.”

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7 Responses

  1. A delayed response indeed…

    Understandably so, of course -I’ve been drunk for two years before as well.

  2. Seriously, Gigi. Must you post a comment on every blog known to man?

  3. Why yes, anonymous, I must. How else am I going to piss you off?

  4. A car on fire is certainly something that stays with you. I saw one on my morning commute into Melbourne (Australia), right beside the tram tracks. The commuters were wondering why the traffic was so light and if so, what the hell we were doing cramped up next to each other when we could be driving this clear road…until we came to the big ball of fire that was a 5-series BMW, in the middle of one of our major avenues. No cops, no firefighters, no owner, not even rubberneckers, just the commuters on the tram. One of the oddest sights I’ve seen.

  5. I’m guessing PJ that you haven’t spent much time in St Albans (in Melbourne, Australia) :D

  6. My area didn’t get affected. :D

  7. Ryan,

    My name is Michael. I work for Warner Brothers Television. One of our shows (Person of Interest) found a picture on Photobucket you took during the NYC blackout back in 2003. They love it and would like to use it on the show.

    If you can confirm that you took the picture I’ll email you a copy of our standard release to sign. Thanks!

    Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

    Best,
    Michael Moore

    PS I tried to email you at the address provided in your blog, but it wouldn’t go through for some reason.

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