July 15th, 2003


(no subject)

They're demolishing a building across the street from where I work. I thought that all demolishions are done by implosion, but apparently they aren't. They've been working on it for a few weeks now. They never seem to be doing anything dramatic when I walk by, but there is always a little less of the building left. Like when the entire front wall was gone. Whatever part they're working on at any given moment, they have someone spraying with a hose from a good distance away. Does destroying concrete release enough heat to somehow make it combustible? I can't think of why else this is done.

Today on my way to work, I noticed that they were almost done. There were only two stories left, and there was a several foot thick beam which was all that was left of the highest remaining ceiling. They had a large crane swinging a wrecking ball into it. (Actually, it was shaped more like a wrecking propane tank.) I was surprised by how little swinging action was used: the wrecking propane tank was connected to the crane by no more than about 10 feet of wire rope (or whatever they use).

They hammered at one end of the beam, then rotated to the other side about 40 feet away and hammered at that. Then they put the propane tank down and started chewing at what was left with the giant jaws of the crane. They picked up the propane tank again and managed to hammer out a 3 foot long section of the beam, all the way through aside from a bunch of thick cables. Back to the jaws, and while trying to chew through the cables, a section of wall came down probably the size of one wall of an office. They then went back to chewing on the other side of the slowly dropping beam as I went back to work.

Building demoltion can cause strangers to converse while being transfixed together. I think I like anything that can do that to people in a city: A large snowstorm, a sports championship, the OJ trial ending. I think I like routines breaking; normality being torn down.