The apartment is actually on the border of Gramercy and Murray Hill in an area nicknamed "Curry Hill" ie. Little India. Ironically, Indian is the one cuisine that I absolutely refuse to eat and here I am living right in the middle of a couple blocks filled with Indian Restaurants! My door is indicated by the arrow in the photo to the right.
That night I decided to walk around my neighbourhood and explore. I am one block away from Park Avenue South and a short walk to Madison Square Park (not to be confused with Madison Square Garden). On my walk I had my first (minor) celebrity sighting - Ilan, the winner of last season's Top Chef!
My first morning in my new apartment there was flash flooding, but I had an empty fridge so I had no choice but to brave the wet and head out to get some food. Despite having an umbrella, my shoes were soaked right through and I could feel the water sloshing in my shoes.
Later (the rain had stopped), I was walking home from the grocery store and I noticed a whole lot of people standing in the middle of the street, most on their mobile phones, looking northward up Lexington Avenue (my street). I wondered what was going on and turned to see huge clouds of smoke billowing from the ground 15 blocks away on 41st and Lexington.
Being in New York, I automatically assumed an act of terrorism had occurred, as was feared by most New Yorkers. I checked to make sure that the smoke wasn't getting closer, (ie. it wasn't a building that had collapsed). I tried to call my friend, Dani, who lives 4 blocks away from the site of the explosion, but all the phone lines were jammed. I went upstairs to my new apartment to see what the local news channels were reporting but it was a good 25 minutes before anything was mentioned about it! (Isn't that bizarre?)
Anyway, it turned out to be a steam pipe explosion underground and one person died (of a heart attack) and there were a significant number of people injured, mainly with burns from the steam. It disrupted the public transport system and they cordoned off quite a number of blocks surrounding the blast site, where no-one could go in or out due to the risk of asbestos in the air. I was quite lucky I had checked out of my hotel early, as my hotel was in this cordoned off area!