Monday, April 12, 2010


Last night I was cruisin' east on Delancey, riding my bike on the sidewalk which I know I'm not supposed to do, but it was about 2 am and there were no people around so I figured, well, I'm fairly drunk and it's probably just safer for everyone if I just ride on the sidewalk. 

I saw a literal parade fire trucks and lights parked around Broome and Christie, and thought, maybe they're making a movie or something? But then I saw a whole bunch more on the next block, around Forsythe and Christie, and then at the next block on Eldridge and Christie, and then Allen Street at Delancey was entirely blocked off, and then Orchard and Christie was full of cop cars and I knew something big was up.


I rode my bike down Allen Street, asking an officer what happened. He said, fire on grand street. When I got to Broome, a nice officer who was probably just tired yelled at me not to go that way. I told him I lived down Allen, and he said, too bad. I said, how should I go? He said, I don't know, but not this way. So I shimmied over to the other side of Allen and rode my bike down the middle of the road in the wrong direction. There were no cars coming, the entire street was blocked off by fire trucks. As I got to Grand, I saw huge plumes of smoke coming out of the top of the building and I saw people with pets who looked haggard and tired, talking to cops. 

I used to live literally across from where the fire was, and currently live in an apartment building just a few blocks from where the huge fire was last night. I witnessed a fire a few months ago that took a building near East Broadway and Allen and decimated the Hong Kong Market where I used to go to get sushi rice and good produce. 

Seeing each of these fires returned me for a moment to one of my worst nightmares -- that someday I'll be riding my bike home, see a few fire trucks, get closer and notice that where my cozy home used to be is now a giant onion ring cave with swirls of smoke peeling off of it. Some people in my mostly Chinese inhabited building burn paper in the hallways as some sort of spiritual ritual and a few times fire trucks have come because people reported smelling smoke. I exasperatedly ignore it when I smell the smoke,  because I know what it is since I've been there for years, but it's kind of a boy who cried wolf scenario. One day I'll smell smoke and think it's just the rituals, but in fact, the building will be on fire. 

Man o man, this is a sad story, I will try to volunteer to help in whatever way I can, encourage others to do the same, and will take a moment now to be appreciative for what I have.

OK that moment is now over, and I return to my normal life where I wish I had more than I did. 

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