New Yorkers React With Varying Degrees of Alarm to Rumbling Midtown Fire

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It’s hard to say how you’d react to plumes of smoke and rising flames from underground until you’re put in that situation, say, outside of your office building on a freezing cold day. Maybe you’d just stand around recording the action with your cell phone, like some people did this afternoon in midtown, near the the Time Life Building, where a manhole lit up and interrupted work. When the sound of an explosion raised the stakes, maybe you’d flinch but ultimately stay put, or perhaps you’d run, or possibly, if you’re a firefighter, you wouldn’t even blink. That’s between you and your mortality.

We’re not judging any of these people, we’re simply observing the complexity of human behavior, most of which now involves smartphones: