A Time To Put the New York Back Into The Times
Thankfully, it was only an explosion of an ancient steam pipe near Grand Central Terminal and not a blast that would have led us to call yesterday 7/18, or something like that.
Still, when a massive pipe bursts in midtown Manhattan during the height of rush hour, sending plumes of brown steam containing who knows what as high as the nearby Chrysler Building, it's a big deal.
The New York Times metro staff realized that -- up to a point.
A large photo ran above the fold, along with a story that jumped to the Metro section, which was entirely fronted with some graphic photos from the scene.
Inside, there was a full inside page and half of another. All told, 20 reporters and photographers were credited with working on the coverage.
So, how come then, there were only three stories on the blast?
Yes, it was an explosion. No, terrorism was not to blame. Still, one person died and at least 30 were injured. Not only that, but subway service was disrupted for hundreds of thousands of riders, while midtown streets and avenues were put in a "frozen zone" that made already-lousy traffic a miasma to unnerve even the most grizzled of city drivers.
The three articles are decent enough, but with so many people on the story, you can't help but wonder if they could have fleshed out more stories instead of combining so many snippets.
It is for times like these that the Times needs to remember the New York in its title is not just a holdover from some bygone era when the paper actually sold more copies inside the city limits.
Three articles also mean that's one less piece than was devoted to preview coverage of the British Open.