There are times, as a smoker, when you can't help but feel bad about your habit. These times generally include smoking around small children, smoking in front of someone who is trying to quit, smoking in front of someone who has lost someone to smoking and/or is sick from smoking. Perhaps an example you may feel even worse about: The time your smoking blew up an entire city block.
According to our source, reader Dan Strauss, this photo was taken in front of a Con-Ed truck at around 9:00am on Broadway somewhere between 34th-38th streets. Who knows, this guy might have had a rough night, he might have been thinking: "this cigarette is gonna save my life," and haven't we all been there? While the logistics of this man's thought process remain a mystery, let's give him the benefit of the doubt: maybe he didn't even see the sign.
I put in calls to both Con-Edison and American Gas Association to discuss the potential ramifications of smoking a lit cigarette in front of a clearly marked Danger: Flammable Gas Sign on a busy Manhattan street. As of yet, no conclusive answer as to just how many blocks said cigarette could have taken out.
In the meantime, let's take a minute to practice some basic gas safety drills and familiarize ourselves with the protocol. I recommend Con-Ed's own gas safety guidelines:
When you suspect a gas leak you should not…
Do anything to create a spark that could cause an
explosion, such as: Light a match, Turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), Use a telephone or cell phone, Ring a doorbell, [or] Start a car.
Con-ed doesn't have a perfect track record, and while there is no way to prove that this guy wasn't one spark away from blowing up the shit out of midtown, common sense would dictate: probably not the best idea.
So if you were walking around Broadway and 34th during your hellish morning commute, as I'm sure many of you were: Congrats, you made it!