Updated (3:25 p.m.): According to eyewitness reports and alerts from the city’s emergency management office, Fire Department and EMS workers are on the scene at 72nd St. at 2nd Avenue where a explosion in the Second Ave. Subway station cavern at that site went awry. Bystanders say a blast sent rocky debris flying and may have damaged sidewalks. There were somehow no reported injuries, but East 72n St. is now closed from 1st to 3rd Avenues. The Times had the following report while The Daily News had some very dramatic photos:
An intentional underground explosion on the Second Avenue subway project at 72nd Street broke windows above ground Tuesday afternoon, the authorities said. There were no reported injuries. “We were doing a controlled blast,” said Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “when clearly something went awry and an explosion was felt at street level.” The blast occurred around 12:45 p.m.
Michael Horodniceanu, president of the M.T.A.’s capital construction division, said that workers had been blasting to clear an escalator wellway from the street to the subway, but that “we do not know why” the blast caused damage up on street level.
Windows were cracked on several floors of the building at the southwest corner of Second and 72nd that houses the Kolb art gallery, including in the gallery itself. Inside it, people could be seen inside cleaning up what looked like debris.
Reporting from the scene, amNew York’s Marc Beja had a bit more:
@marc_beja: Explosion caused no utility damage, minimal structural damage. Mostly busted windows. Blast was to make elevator shaft
— Second Ave. Sagas (@SecondAveSagas) August 21, 2012
Apparently, this is not the first time a blast at 72nd St. did not go as planned as the MTA says something similar happened earlier this summer. The MTA, meanwhile, has said construction at 72nd St. has been halted while an investigation into the cause of the accident is underway. Despite some grandstanding by prominent political commentators, this is one of the few serious disruptions to impact a rather complicated problem, and officials seem to be taking it quite seriously.
I’ll try to update as more news comes in. If anyone has any images from the scene, drop me a note.