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Thread: Fires of New York City

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    Default Fires of New York City

    1776: The Great Fire of New York

    1776 September 21-22 - The Great Fire was a devastating fire that burned through the night of September 21 – 22, 1776 on the west side of what then constituted New York City at the southern end of the island of Manhattan. It coincided with the early military occupation of the city by British forces during the American Revolutionary War.

    On September 21, 1776, British forces under General William Howe occupied New York City. In the early hours of September 21, fire broke out in the city, most likely in the Fighting Cocks Tavern at Whitehall Street. Strong winds quickly spread the flames among tightly packed homes and businesses. Residents poured into the streets, clutching what possessions they could, and found refuge only on the grassy town commons. The fire raged into the daylight hours and eventually consumed between 400 and 500 buildings — about one-quarter of the city. Among the buildings destroyed was Trinity Church. However St. Paul's Chapel was to survive. Afterwards, the British interrogated more than 200 suspects, but none were convicted and all were released.

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    1835: The Second Great Fire of New York

    1835 December 16-17 - The Great New York Fire was a conflagration that destroyed the New York Stock Exchange and most of the buildings on the southeast tip of Manhattan around Wall Street on December 16-17, 1835.

    The fire began in the evening in a five-story warehouse at 25 Merchant Street (now called Beaver Street) at the intersection with Pearl Street between Hanover Square, Manhattan and Wall Street in the snow covered city and was fed by gale-force winds blowing from the northwest towards the East River. With temperatures as low as -17°F and the East River frozen solid, firefighters had to cut holes in the ice to get water. Water then froze in the hoses and pumps. Attempts to blow up buildings in its path were thwarted by a lack of gunpowder in Manhattan. Firefighters coming to help from Philadelphia said they could see signs of the fire there.

    About 2 a.m. Marines returned with gunpowder from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and blew up buildings in the fire's path. By then it covered 50 acres, 17 blocks of the city, destroying between 530 and 700 buildings. The area is now reported as Coenties Slip in the south to Maiden Lane in the north and from William Street in the west to the East River. The losses were estimated at twenty million dollars, which, in today's value would be hundreds of millions. Only two people were killed.

    Insurance was not forthcoming because several insurance company headquarters burned, bankrupting those companies. A description of the conflagration was in the History of New York:

    Many of the stores were new, with iron shutters and doors and copper roofs, and in burning presented the appearance of immense iron furnaces in full blast. The heat at times melted the copper roofing, and the liquid ran off in great drops. The gale blew towards the East River. Wall after wall was heard tumbling like an avalanche. Fiery tongues of flame leaped from roof and windows along whole streets, and seemed to be making angry dashes at each other. The water of the bay looked like a vast sea of blood. The bells rang for a while and then ceased. Both sides of Pearl Street and Hanover Square were at the same instant in the jaws of the hungry monster.

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    1863: The New York Draft Riots

    1863 July 11-16 - The New York Draft Riots (July 13 to July 16, 1863; known at the time as Draft Week), were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself. President Abraham Lincoln sent several regiments of militia and volunteer troops to control the city. Although not the majority, many of those arrested had Irish names, according to the lists compiled by Adrian Cook in his "Armies of the Streets."

    Initially intended to express anger at the draft, the protests degraded into "a virtual racial pogrom, with uncounted numbers of blacks murdered on the streets". The conditions in the city were such that Major General John E. Wool stated on July 16, "Martial law ought to be proclaimed, but I have not a sufficient force to enforce it." The military suppressed the mob using artillery and fixed bayonets, but not before numerous buildings were ransacked or destroyed, including many homes and an orphanage for black children.

    The exact death toll during the New York Draft Riots is unknown, but according to historian James M. McPherson (2001), at least 120 civilians were killed. Estimates are that at least 2,000 more injured. Total property damage was about $1 million. Historian Samuel Morison wrote that the riots were "equivalent to a Confederate victory". The city treasury later indemnified one-quarter of the amount. Fifty buildings, including two Protestant churches, burned to the ground. On August 19, the draft was resumed. It was completed within 10 days without further incident, although far fewer men were actually drafted than had been feared: of the 750,000 selected for conscription nationwide, only about 45,000 actually went into service.

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    1876: Brooklyn Theater Fire

    The Brooklyn Theater Fire was a catastrophic theater fire that broke out on the evening of December 5, 1876 in the city of Brooklyn, NY. The conflagration claimed the lives of at least 278 individuals, with some accounts reporting over 300 dead. 103 unidentified victims were interred in a common grave at Green-Wood Cemetery. An obelisk near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street marks the burial site. More than two dozen identified victims were interred individually in separate sections at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn.

    The Brooklyn Theater Fire ranks third in fatalities, among fires occurring in theaters and other public assembly buildings in the United States, falling behind the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire and the 1903 Iroquois Theater Fire.

    Fatalities mainly arose in the family circle, a gallery of inexpensive seats situated high in the auditorium. Only one stairway serviced this gallery, which sustained extreme temperatures and dense, suffocating smoke early in the conflagration. The stairway jammed with people, cutting off the escape of more than half of the gallery's occupants who quickly succumbed to smoke inhalation.

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    1904: SS General Slocum Disaster

    The SS General Slocum was a steamship launched in 1891. It caught fire and burned to the water in New York's East River on June 15, 1904. More than 1,000 people died in the accident, making it the New York City area's worst loss-of-life disaster until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    The General Slocum worked as a passenger ship, taking people on excursions around New York City. On Wednesday, June 15, 1904, the ship had been chartered for $350 by the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the German district Little Germany, Manhattan. This was an annual rite for the group, which had made the trip for 17 consecutive years. Over 1,300 passengers, mostly women and children, boarded the General Slocum. It was to sail up the East River and then eastward across Long Island Sound to Locust Grove, a picnic site in Eatons Neck, Long Island.

    The ship got underway at 9:30am. As it was passing East 90th Street, a fire started in a storage compartment in the forward section, possibly caused by a discarded cigarette or match. The first notice of a fire was at 10am - eyewitnesses locate the initial blaze at several locations, including a paint locker filled with flammable liquids or a cabin filled with gasoline. Captain Van Schaick was only notified ten minutes after the fire was discovered - a twelve year old boy had tried to warn him earlier, but was not believed.

    On board the Slocum, where the Captain has ultimate safety authority, no effort had been made to maintain or replace safety equipment. The ship's dryrotted fire hoses fell apart when the crew attempted to put out the fire. Likewise, the crew had never had a fire drill. Although the ship had lifeboats and life preservers, survivors reported that the life preservers were useless and fell apart in their hands. The lifeboats were tied up and inaccessible. Desperate mothers placed life jackets on their children and tossed them into the water, only to watch in horror as their children sank instead of floated, due to the condition of the jackets. Also, the population of the boat consisted mainly of women and children, most of whom could not swim.

    It has been suggested that the manager of the life preserver manufacturer actually placed iron bars inside the Cork preservers to meet minimum weight requirements at the time. Many of the life preservers had been filled with cheap and less effective granulated cork and brought up to proper weight by the inclusion of the iron weights. Canvas covers, rotted with age, split and scattered the powdered cork. Managers of the company (Nonpareil Cork Works) were indicted, but not convicted.

    Captain Van Schaick mishandled the situation badly. He decided to continue his course rather than run the ship aground or stop at a nearby landing. (Van Schaick would later argue he was attempting to prevent the fire from spreading to riverside buildings and oil tanks.) By going into headwinds and failing immediately to ground the vessel, he actually fanned the fire. Very flammable paint also helped the fire to spread out of control.

    Some passengers attempted to jump into the river, but the women's clothing of the day made swimming almost impossible. Many died when the three-level floors of the overloaded boat collapsed; others were mauled by the still turning paddles as they attempted to escape into the water or over the sides.

    By the time the General Slocum was beached at North Brother Island, just off the Bronx shore, an estimated 1,021 people had been killed by fire or drowning, with 321 survivors. Two of the 30 crew members died. The Captain lost sight in one eye due to the fire. Reports indicate that Van Schaick deserted the Slocum as soon as it ran aground, jumping into a nearby tug, along with several crew. Some say his jacket was hardly rumpled. He was hospitalized at Lebanon Hospital.

    There were many acts of heroism among the passengers, witnesses, and emergency personnel. Staff and patients from the hospital on North Brother Island participated in the rescue efforts, forming human chains and pulling victims from the water.

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    1907: Steeplechase Park

    Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York from 1897 to 1964. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time.

    It was created by George C. Tilyou, who grew up in a family that ran a Coney Island restaurant. While visiting the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he saw the Ferris wheel and decided to build his own on Coney Island; it immediately became the resort's biggest attraction. He added other rides and attractions, including a mechanical horse race course from which the park derived its name. Tilyou also constructed scale models of world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and The Palace of Westminster's clocktower, containing Big Ben.

    Steeplechase burned during the 1907 season, destroying most of the park. The morning after the fire Tilyou posted a sign outside the park. It read:

    To enquiring friends: I have troubles today that I had not yesterday. I had troubles yesterday which I have not today. On this site will be built a bigger, better, Steeplechase Park. Admission to the burning ruins -- Ten cents.


    The park was rebuilt for the 1908 season, although the new park was not fully open until 1909. It now included a "Pavilion of Fun" in an indoor enclosure covered by steel and glass that covered 5 acres (20,000 m2). Steeplechase burned again in less-destructive incidents in 1936 and 1939.

    At the close of the 1939 World's Fair Tilyou purchased the fair's Parachute Drop and moved it to his park. The ride, which was originally a training device for paratroopers, saw interest during the remainder of World War II, but declined after the end of the war. However, perhaps due to the expense involved in destruction, the ride outlived the remainder of the park, operating until 1964. Still too expensive to tear down, the tower was finally declared a landmark in 1977, (added to the National Register of Historic Places) and the city took the unusual step of declaring it a landmark again in 1988. Today it is the only remaining artifact of Steeplechase

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    1911: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

    The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the largest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York, causing the death of 146 garment workers who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. It was the worst workplace disaster in New York City until September 11, 2001. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for safer and better working conditions for sweatshop workers in that industry. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located inside the Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building of Science. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.

    On the afternoon of March 25, 1911, a fire began on the eighth floor, possibly sparked by a lit match or a cigarette or because of faulty electrical wiring. A New York Times article also theorized that the fire may have been started by the engines running the sewing machines in the building. To this day, no one knows whether it was accidental or intentional. Most of the workers who were alerted on the tenth and eighth floors were able to evacuate. However, the warning about the fire did not reach the ninth floor in time.

    The ninth floor had only two doors leading out. One stairwell was already filling with smoke and flames by the time the seamstresses realized the building was on fire. The other door had been locked.

    The single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly anchored iron structure, soon twisted and collapsed under the weight of people trying to escape (the exterior fire escape may have already been broken). The elevator also stopped working, cutting off that means of escape, partly because the panicked workers tried to save themselves by jumping down the shaft onto the roof of the elevator.

    Much to the horror of the large crowd of bystanders gathered on the street, sixty-two of the women who died did so after realizing there was no other way to avoid the flames except to break the windows and jump to the pavement nine floors below.

    Socialist Louis Waldman, later a New York state assemblyman, described the grim scene in his memoirs published in 1944:

    "One Saturday afternoon in March of that year — March 25, to be precise — I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library... It was a raw, unpleasant day and the comfortable reading room seemed a delightful place to spend the remaining few hours until the library closed. I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines. Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire.


    "A few blocks away, the Asch Building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was ablaze. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.

    "Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.

    "The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines."


    Others pried open the elevator doors and tumbled down the shaft. Of the jumpers, a single survivor was found close to drowning in water collecting in the elevator shaft. The fallen bodies and falling victims made it difficult for the fire department to reach the building.

    The remainder waited until smoke and fire overcame them. The fire department arrived quickly but was unable to stop the flames, as there were no ladders available that could reach beyond the sixth floor. The ultimate death toll was 148, including 141 who died at the scene and seven survivors who later died at hospitals.

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    1911: Dreamland Amusement Park

    Dreamland was an ambitious amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1904 to 1911.

    Created by a Tammany Hall-connected businessman, William H. Reynolds, Dreamland was supposed to be a (relatively) high-class entertainment, with elegant architecture, pristine white towers and some educational exhibits along with the rides and thrills. It was reputed to have one million electric light bulbs illuminating and outlining its buildings, quite a novelty at the time.

    Among Dreamland's attractions were a railway that ran through a Swiss alpine landscape; imitation Venetian canals with gondolas; a "Lilliputian Village" with three hundred dwarf inhabitants; and a demonstration of fire-fighting in which two thousand people pretended to put out a blazing six-story building. There was also (strange as it sounds today) a display of baby incubators, where premature babies were cared for and exhibited. The story of the very first infants is very interesting. The triplets were premature. Incubators were not approved for use in the hospitals. The side shows were owned by the Dicker family [they also owned the hotel next to the park, which burned down in the blaze reported below. The triplets were the members of the family. The doctors advised them of the new invention, but could not use it. So the triplets were placed in the side show, which was allowed. Two survived. They lived on to have full lives until their passing. In a bid for publicity, the park put famous Broadway actress Marie Dressler in charge of the peanut-and-popcorn stands, with young boys dressed as imps in red flannel acting as salesmen. Dressler was said to be in love with Dreamland's dashing, handlebar-mustachioed, one-armed lion tamer who went by the name of Captain Bonavita.

    In spite of its many draws, Dreamland struggled to compete with nearby Luna Park, which was better managed. In preparation for its 1911 season, many changes were made. Samuel W. Gumpertz (later director of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus) was put in the park's top executive post. The buildings, once all painted white in a bid for elegance, were redone in bright colors. On the night before opening day, a concession called Hell Gate, in which visitors took a boat ride on rushing waters through dim caverns, was undergoing last-minute repairs by a roofing company owned by Samuel Engelstein. A leak had to be caulked with tar. During these repairs, at about 1:30 in the morning on Saturday, May 27, 1911, the light bulbs that illuminated the operations began to explode, perhaps because of an electrical malfunction. In the darkness, a worker kicked over a bucket of hot pitch, and soon Hell Gate was in flames.

    The fire quickly spread throughout the park. The buildings were made of frames of lath (thin strips of wood) covered with staff (a moldable mixture of plaster of Paris and hemp fiber). Both materials were highly flammable, and as they were common in the Coney Island amusement parks, fires were a persistent problem there. Because of this, a new high-pressure water pumping station had been constructed at Twelfth Street and Neptune Avenue a few years earlier. But on this night it failed. Water was available, but not enough to contain the fire before it enveloped Dreamland.

    Chaos broke loose as the park burned. As the one-armed Captain Bonavita strove to save his big cats with only the swiftly encroaching flames for illumination, some of the terrified animals escaped. A lion named Black Prince rushed into the streets, among crowds of onlookers, and was shot by police. By morning, the fire was out, and Dreamland was reduced to a soggy, smoldering mess.

    Early editions of The New York Times claimed the incubator babies had perished in the flames; but later the paper corrected this and reported that they had all been saved.

    Though other Coney Island parks were rebuilt after major fires, some multiple times, Dreamland was abandoned after the fire of 1911.

    Dreamland was located between Surf Avenue and the Atlantic Ocean at West Eighth Street opposite Culver Depot, the terminal of New York City Subway's Brighton and Culver Lines. The site is now the location of the New York Aquarium and the West Eighth Street station.

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    1960: United Airlines Flight 826 Crash

    The 1960 New York air disaster was a collision on December 16, 1960, between two airliners over Staten Island, New York City, New York, United States, in which one plane crashed into Staten Island and the other airliner crashed into Park Slope, a Brooklyn neighborhood. The crash killed all 84 people aboard Flight 826 and 44 on Flight 266 as well as six people on the ground.

    The two aircraft collided in mid-air in heavy clouds a mile west of Miller Field, a military airfield on Staten Island, at 10:33 a.m. Eastern Time. Weather conditions at the time were light rain and fog (which had been preceded by a snowfall).

    According to information from the United's flight recorder (the first time a "black box" had been used to provide extensive details in a crash investigation) the United plane was 12 miles off course and in 81 seconds dived 3,600 feet a minute and dropped its speed from more than 500 miles per hour to 363 miles per hour when it slammed into the right side of the TWA plane at between 5,250 and 5,175 feet.

    The collision occurred about a mile west of Miller Army Field. The TWA Constellation crashed onto Miller Field, with some sections of the aircraft landing in New York Harbor on the Atlantic Ocean side. As the TWA plane spiraled down it disintegrated, dropping at least one passenger into a tree in the New Dorp neighborhood. It crashed into an empty field at the northwest corner of the field—although within a few feet of the neighborhood.

    The United plane was supposed to have been circling a point called "Preston" off the New Jersey coast, was supposed to have been at 5,000 feet (and not diving down from 8,700 feet) and not traveling more than 240 miles per hour. United was to say the ground beacon was not working (pilots testified on both sides of the issue).

    At 10:21 a.m., Flight 826 advised its company radio operator that one of its VOR receivers had stopped working (although they did not notify air traffic controllers of the problem) but it made it difficult to fly on instrument conditions. At 10:25 a.m., air traffic control issued a revised clearance for the flight to shorten its course to the Preston holding point by 12 miles.

    The United Plane overshot the Preston holding point and at 10:33 a.m. it collided with the TWA Constellation.

    Following the collision, the crippled United DC-8 careened into the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and crashed, setting fire to 10 brownstone apartment buildings, the Pillar of Fire Church, the McCaddin Funeral Home, a Chinese laundry and a delicatessen. Wreckage was spewed over the Seventh Avenue at Sterling Place intersection, killing six people on the ground, including Wallace E. Lewis, the Pillar of Fire Church’s 90-year-old caretaker; Charles Cooper, a sanitation worker who was shoveling snow; Joseph Colacano and John Opperisano, who were selling Christmas trees on the sidewalk; Dr. Jacob L. Crooks, who was out walking his dog; and an employee of a butcher shop located on Sterling Place.

    Although witnesses speculated at the time that United attempted an emergency landing in Prospect Park or at LaGuardia Airport, there is no evidence that the pilots had control of the DC-8 at any time after the mid-air collision. There was no audible voice radio contact with traffic controllers from either plane after the collision although LaGuardia had begun tracking an incoming fast moving unidentified plane from Preston toward the LaGuardia "Flatbush" outer marker.

    The only initial survivor of the tragedy was 11-year-old Stephen Baltz of Wilmette, Illinois, a passenger on the United jet, who was thrown from the plane into a snowbank at impact. He later died in Park Slope's New York Methodist Hospital a few blocks from the crash. Baltz told rescuers that moments before the collision he had looked out the window at the snow falling on the city.

    "It looked like a picture out of a fairy book. It was a beautiful sight."

    Pictures of Baltz appeared on many front pages around the world such as the Syracuse Post-Standard repeating a story from the Associated Press in which he expressed concern about his mother who was waiting for him at the airport. He gave the only description of the crash:

    "I heard a big noise while we were flying. The last thing I remember was the plane falling."

    With a death toll of 134, the accident was the deadliest U.S. commercial aviation disaster at the time, topping the 1956 midair collision between United Airlines Flight 718 and Trans World Airlines Flight 2 over Arizona's Grand Canyon that killed 128.

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    1975: Eastern Air Lines Flight 66

    Eastern Air Lines Flight 66, a Boeing 727-225 with registration number N8845E, departed from New Orleans Moisant Field, bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport on the afternoon of June 24, 1975. The aircraft carried 124 persons aboard including 116 passengers and 8 crew.

    As the aircraft was on its final approach into New York Kennedy at 4:05 p.m. EST, the crew entered into a microburst or wind shear environment caused by a severe thunderstorm. The aircraft continued its descent until it began striking the approach lights approximately 2,400 feet from the threshold of Runway 22L. After the initial impact the aircraft banked to the left and continued to strike the approach lights until it burst into flames and scattered the wreckage along Rockaway Boulevard, which runs around the perimeter of the airport. Of the 124 people onboard, 106 passengers and 6 crew members died. Ten passengers and 2 flight attendants, who were seated in the rear of the aircraft, survived. One surviving passenger died 9 days later from injuries sustained in the accident.

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    1977: The New York City Blackout of 1977

    The New York City Blackout of 1977 was an electricity blackout that affected most of New York City from July 13, 1977 to July 14, 1977. The only neighborhoods in New York City that were not affected were the Southern Queens neighborhoods of the Rockaways, which are part of the Long Island Lighting Company System.

    Unlike other blackouts that affected the region, namely the Northeast Blackout of 1965 and the Northeast Blackout of 2003, the 1977 blackout was localized to New York City and the immediate surroundings. The 1977 blackout, unlike the 1965 and 2003 blackouts, resulted in city-wide looting and other disorder, including arson.

    The blackout took place during a time when the city facing a severe financial crisis and its residents were fretting over the Son of Sam murders. The nation as a whole was suffering from a protracted economic downturn and commentators have contrasted the event with the good-natured Where were you when the lights went out? atmosphere of 1965. Some pointed to the financial crisis as a root cause of the disorder, others noted the hot July weather. (The city at the time was in the middle of a brutal heat wave.) Still others pointed out that the 1977 blackout came after businesses had closed and their owners went home, while in 1965 the blackout occurred during the day and owners stayed to protect their property. However, the 1977 looters continued their damage into the daylight hours, with police on alert.

    Looting and vandalism were widespread, especially in the African American and Puerto Rican communities, hitting 31 neighborhoods, including every poor neighborhood in the city. Among the hardest hit were Crown Heights, where 75 stores on a five-block stretch were looted, and Bushwick where arson was rampant with some 25 fires still burning the next morning. At one point two blocks of Broadway, which separates Bushwick from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, were on fire. Thirty-five blocks of Broadway were destroyed: 134 stores looted, 45 of them set ablaze. Thieves stole 50 new Pontiacs from a Bronx car dealership. In Brooklyn, youths were seen backing up cars to targeted stores, tying ropes around the stores' grates, and using their cars to pull the grates away before looting the store. While 550 police officers were injured in the mayhem, 4,500 looters were arrested.

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    1990: The Happy Land Social Club

    The Happy Land Fire was an arson fire which killed 87 people trapped in an unlicensed social club called "Happy Land" in New York City, on March 25, 1990. Most of the victims were ethnic Hondurans celebrating Carnival.[1] Unemployed Cuban refugee Julio González, whose former girlfriend was employed at the club, was arrested shortly after and ultimately convicted of arson and murder.

    Before the blaze, Happy Land was ordered closed for building code violations in November 1988. Violations included no fire exits, alarms or sprinkler system. No follow-up by the fire department was documented.

    That evening González had argued with his former girlfriend Lydia Feliciano, a coat check girl at the club, urging her to quit. She claimed that she had had enough of him and wanted nothing to do with him anymore. González tried to fight back and was ejected by the bouncer. He was heard to scream drunken threats in the process. Julio was enraged, not just because of Lydia, but since he had recently lost his job at a lamp factory, was impoverished, and had virtually no companions. He returned to the establishment with a plastic container of gasoline which he found on the ground and took to a gas station to fill, which he spread on the only staircase into the club. Two matches were then lit on the gasoline, which ignited it.

    The fire exits had been blocked to prevent people from entering without paying the cover charge. In the panic that ensued, a few people escaped by breaking a metal gate over one door.

    González then returned home, took off his gasoline-soaked clothes and fell asleep. He was arrested the following afternoon after Lydia was interviewed and got authorities highly suspicious after explaining to them about the argument. Once advised of his rights, he talked freely of how he caused the fire. A medical examination found him to be sane.

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    2001: World Trade Center Attacks

    The World Trade Center was a complex in Lower Manhattan whose seven buildings were destroyed in 2001 in the September 11 attacks.

    The massive attack on One World Trade Center and then Two World Trade Center was accomplished with two hijacked commercial airliners that were deliberately flown into them. Shortly thereafter both of the heavily damaged towers, as well as adjacent buildings, collapsed into enormous piles of debris. The attacks claimed the lives of some 2,750 people.

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    2001: American Airlines Flight 587

    On November 12, 2001, about 09:16 eastern standard time, American Airlines flight 587, crashed into Belle Harbor, a New York City residential area, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York. Flight 587 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Las Américas International Airport, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with 2 flight crew members, seven flight attendants, and 251 passengers aboard the plane.

    The plane's vertical stabilizer and rudder separated in flight and fell into Jamaica Bay, about 1 mile north of the main wreckage site. The plane's engines subsequently separated in flight and fell several blocks north and east of the main wreckage site. All 260 people aboard the plane and 5 people on the ground died, and the impact forces and a post-crash fire destroyed the plane. Flight 587 operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.

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    there was a pretty big fire at the top of a building just south of madison sq park today. it was one of the ones that are being remodeled....

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