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.
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.
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.
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.”