|116th St. and Lexington Ave.|
The shock wave was so powerful it shook walls and furniture in apartments four or five blocks away. Police cars, ambulances, and firefighters started to zoom south along 2nd Avenue, and Harlem was all sirens and NYPD cars until late in the evening. 116th and 117th Street are still closed to traffic and the police are monitoring the area.
Many thought of a bomb, and in a way it was. Although it's not official, it seems like a gas leakage was responsible. Not to blame though. CNN used the colorful expression "litany of violations" to describe the conditions of at least one of the buildings (no fire and smoke detectors, blocked fire escapes, faulty light fixtures). Everybody who's aware of the buildings conditions in the neighborhood knows that the expression well describes the case. And they know that, as the situation stands now, it will happen again, just like in New Jersey, Long Island, and Newark last year.
It was impossible not to think of 9/11 after what happened. In fact, it is impossible not to think of 9/11 anytime something resembles even the far echo of an explosion in New York. When a shock wave passes through your walls and compresses your chest from an explosion two blocks away, when the air is impregnated with particles of smoke and dust from the collapse, that's when you get a small feeling of what it must have been like 125 blocks down 13 years ago.