Exploding NYC Manhole Goes Up in Flames


Every now and then it’s really fun to remember that New York City is a dangerous place. Like when you’re walking in the West Village, say Bleeker St. and Leroy St. on a Saturday night, and a manhole starts going berserk on a busy street. That’s what happened to Reddit user dbs176, who pulled out a camera and took the above video on New Year’s night. As fire shoots into the air, along with thick black smoke, tiny explosions sound in rapid succession. It sounds like fireworks, but it looks cooler. So, what happened?

The city seems to not have said, though our camera-person reports that despite the taxis passing in the clip, “emergency crews showed up a few minutes later” and blocked off the street.

“POPCORN MONSTER!” says one YouTube commenter.

The nerds on Reddit have other ideas: “I have a hunch this is an underground power transformer, or a severed cable hitting water and naturally occurring gas. The telltale hum (and arcing) is there, so I hope my hunch is right. Either way, it’s awesome when high voltage shit goes bang.”

“I’d like to believe it is two wizards battling underground in the NYC sewers,” someone calling themselves The_Murderer responded. There’s always that.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 3, 2011

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