Photo by myself high above Central Park. You can see the bold Art Deco details of the 'Century Building', built in 1931, to the left.
Yet another photo from an apartment on Central Park West. The Upper East Side lies across the park in the distance.
I had to open one of the windows of the apartment a crack to take the above photo. There were strong winds outside and I had visions of me, my camera and anything else flying out and hitting someone on the head below. I have since promised myself not to open the window again.
Call me paranoid, but there have been a number of accidents in New York in recent memory. Last weekend, A crane collapsed in mid-construction on East 50th Street, killing seven people. In December 2007, an architect was seriously injured in a construction accident near Ground Zero, when seven tons of steel fell onto an on-site trailer.
In the same month, two window washers fell 47 stories at an Upper East Side apartment building. They were brothers, and one of them miraculously survived. Before that, in late 2006, a small plane carrying a Yankees pitcher crashed into an apartment tower, also on the Upper East Side.
When I first moved to New York, there weren't so many accidents, but there was definitely the awareness of danger. I recall hearing an experienced architect say how all the buildings that have deep overhangs are inspected, but only by sight. The pedestrian in me was not reassured by this piece of news.
What if the building had hairline cracks not discernible to the human eye? Suddenly I developed a fear of falling cornices. And not only that, I had a general distrust of all scaffolding, which is fruitless because so much of New York is under construction at any given time. Often both sides of the street have something going on, which means there is no safety to be found.
I am reminded of a story of an acquaintance who left his bloodhound in the care of a neighbor. The neighbor left a window open, and the bloodhound jumped out the window. Another neighbor on a lower floor had turned at the precise time to see the bloodhound sail through the air. (Fortunately the bloodhound was fine. He was a puppy and he was saved by his soft, pudgy physique).
Usually, I don't think about such dangers, but once in a while I do. You can't let such fears interfere with daily living. It's all too easy to become paranoid about air conditioners and bricks and bloodhounds falling from the sky.
For more about visual inspections of New York building facades, click here.
For other aerial views of Central Park, click here and here.