Some of you may have read about an explosion that happened in midtown a couple of weeks ago. First indications were that a generator had blown up, but it later emerged that the loud bang was actually due to the rupturing of a steam pipe under the city. The explosion erupted with such force that a nearby building lost 16 floors of windows to the blast.
New York runs on steam. Apparently it's an efficient way both to heat and to cool high rise buildings. There are seven steam manufacturing plants in the city pumping some 30 billion pounds of the stuff through a system of old, rickety pipes. (Can you tell that I've been reading wikipedia again?)
In the wake of the explosion, the local power supply company is now checking the steam supply to our building, and this might cause interruptions to the hot water, heating and air conditioning services next week. Oh, joy.
Who'd have thought steam could be so disruptive?