The Travel Dispatch

Five Lessons From The FDNY

This post was born 08 Aug, 2014 No comments
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So I’ve experienced many weird (and for lack of a better word ‘different’) things since moving to New York City. Cliché as it sounds coming from the mouth of a New Yorker – nothing surprises me anymore. It’s a given that peculiar things just happen here.

I don’t blink when someone brings their own folding chair onto the subway so they can sit down during rush hour. I don’t take a second look when I pass someone taking their bunny for a walk while on a bedazzled leash. My coworker and I thought nothing of it when someone helped lift us up to scale a wall in Central Park so we didn’t have to walk all the way around the zoo entrance to cut back to work. I didn’t even think it was strange when I was tipped $20 after a conversation on the subway (I’m sure this story will eventually come out in my blog).

So it really came as no surprise to me when I was sitting in the conference room at work yesterday and a fireman decked out head to toe in his fighting gear busted in with his ax raised and told me to get out. I calmly told my director who was on the other line that I had to go because apparently our building was on fire.

This was not the first offense in this old pre-war building situated on the Upper East Side. We’ve had fly infestations, decaying rat corpses in our walls and even several floods due to bursting pipes (seriously?! It’s between Madison and 5th in the country’s most expensive zip code. This is not some rundown housing project we’re talking about here). As my colleague likes to joke, we’ve had every plague imaginable and are expecting the locusts any day now. So really – what’s a fire in comparison?

Luckily everyone in the building was fine. The fire was on the 5th floor and was contained to only one apartment and we were back in our 1st floor office hours later. Our rather confused neighbor explained the situation saying, “Umm I don’t know what happened. All I know is that I laid down because I wasn’t feeling well and the next thing I knew I was waking up and the living room was on fire and there were a bunch of firemen in my apartment.” To which my wisecracking colleague responded with, “Did you think you were dreaming?”

In every tragedy there is a lesson learned so as I stood on the street watching the firemen do their jobs, I thought I’d share my new found wisdom with you.

Lesson #1 – Firetrucks Offer Great Opportunities for Selfies

Firetrucks from the FDNY
Get your selfies here! No device too large!

Lesson #2 – Being Near the FDNY Earns You Extra Cash

Upper East Side in NYC
I’ve worked on this street for over 3 years and have never seen this sorbet cart in my life until the fire department showed up.

Lesson # 3 – If You’re Not Careful, It Could Also Cost You Money

New York City on the Upper East Side
My coworkers fell into the money trap. One could say that they got ‘hosed’ (no fire pun intended, I swear) ((That explanation was not a pun on my website name either)).

Lesson #4 – Firemen: Not As Shirtless As The Calendars Would Have You Believe

FDNY
They are wearing way too many clothes.

Lesson #5 – You Can Quickly Become Popular. Everyone Wants To Talk To You

So I felt like it would creep out all the people I met if I asked for their photos to put up on my website and technically I was still at my daytime job so this lesson is sadly picture-less. But seriously, having firemen blast a 5th floor window with a water hose attracts people like ants to a picnic. “Excuse me m’am (umm. no. I am not old enough to be called m’am) do you know what’s going on?” “Hi, what’s happening?” “OMG is someone in there?” “Is that a fire?” “Can you please take my picture for instagram in front of the firetruck?” By the amount of people around with their iPhones and iPads snapping pictures, you would think they were filming Chicago Fire.

 Things like this happen at your office? Let me know in the comments below!

Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?

Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!


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