Starting Your Day Off With a Bang

Photograph by Daniel Katzive.

By Daniel Katzive

Residents in the vicinity of West 70th Street, Riverside Boulevard, and Freedom Place were knocked out of bed by a lightning strike shortly after 6am, with a loud crack and flash, followed by an immediate clap of thunder.

Not long afterwards, a number of fire engines and trucks responded to a report of smoke at 345 West 70th Street, the pre-war Santa Monica Apartments building at the intersection of West 70th and Freedom Place, with the Citizen’s Ap indicating an unconfirmed report of smoke on the sixth floor of the building at that time. The FDNY units cleared the scene quickly after finding no evidence of fire. A firefighter leaving the location said the smoke could have been lightning related, but could not confirm that.

WSR also got reports from readers. “The concussion from the sound of the strike was so strong it knocked things off a shelf here on 83rd Street. Can’t imagine how scary it was to be even closer,” Nora wrote.

So much for sleeping in on a rainy Monday!

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. Ben says:

      The thunder was so loud this morning I thought the building next door had collapsed.

      • Bob says:

        The thunder was so loud this morning, I thought my kids were up.

      • Exactly; I was afraid to raise the blinds & look out the window and see the smoking hole where the building next door had been…

        I finally lay down again, to await the massive sounds from the fleet of fire trucks and ambulances that was sure to race over… but fell back to sleep when they somehow failed to arrive.

    2. Tom says:

      My bedroom lit up like never before. 💥

    3. Yoko Ono Mato-Poeia says:

      Headline suggested gunfire (in some cases).

      • JL says:

        I read the headline a different way. (ie. #2 Tom) I like to think the headline suggested what John and Yoko stood for, and did often.

        Making sweet, sweet …. percussion in the morning.

        >>An 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck central Chile Feb. 27, 2010, for example, was followed nine months later by a baby boom. “We have found a marked increase in obstetric consultations in the areas most damaged by the earthquake,” Chilean Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said>>

        https://www.livescience.com/13031-earthquakes-zealand-increased-birth-rates.html

    4. Harriet F says:

      I always count on West Side Rag. You were the first place I thought to look for info about this phenomenon, which almost knocked me out of bed at 6:05 this morning. Yes, I too thought first of an explosion. Thank you WSR.

    5. NewYorkerUWS says:

      The noise seemed loud enough almost to knock me out of bed.

    6. Lenore says:

      Thank you for this. I heard it and since I’d watched “Call the Midwife” the night before, which involved a derailment, explosion and fire, and perhaps some dire outcomes (tune in next week!), I thought Call the Midwife had come into my bedroom!

    7. Lisa says:

      It woke all of us up here at 89th & West End. We though something exploded nearby it was so loud.

    8. Carol says:

      This was deafening. It sounded like an earthquake!

    9. leader47 says:

      I’m a couple blocks north of there. It was awesome – Mother Nature at her finest!

    10. marian lamin says:

      Heard boom then waited for sirens. Nothing. So I figured it was thunder and went back to sleep. Glad it was nothing.

    11. Les says:

      Woke me out of a dead sleep. Thought it was a bomb.

    12. Susan S. says:

      I was already out of bed (86th and Bway) and could not believe how bright the light was and how loud the thunder was…. there were several other strikes before and after, not as bright or loud…. strange Monday morning.

    13. Lynn says:

      Sounded just as loud at 93rd and Columbus!

    14. Janis says:

      My husband and I were fast asleep in our apartment on W.93 when the loudest BOOM of thunder, rocked us awake.

      My husband, who served in Vietnam, said that through all the rocket and mortar attacks he lived through, even B-52 strikes were more of a rumble rather than the loud crack this came with. Nothing could compete with what woke us up a little after 6 this morning.

    15. Joyce says:

      I thought we were being bombed. It was very scary,

    16. steve says:

      I was just getting back into bed after having walked my dog when the lightening illuminated our apt on 99th and West end….then the thunder clap which caused my dog to whimper!
      Happy Monday Everyone!

    17. Susan T says:

      Yes, it sounded like an explosion. Scary!

    18. Mitch says:

      I thought a building collapsed. Then ALL of the car alarms in the neighborhood went off!

    19. Preston says:

      I heard it all the way up on 122nd street in East Harlem. Legit thought it was a bomb.

    20. RickiLS says:

      I was asleep and I don’t well without hearing aids, but this thunder woke even me!! A the lightening flashes were so bright..90th street and Columbus.

    21. Gaia Stern says:

      Felt it all the way up to the Cathedral Parkway area. I was making coffee when it happened. My plates were rattling Windows shook. Felt the vibration myself. Wow, crazy!

    22. Jeff Berman says:

      The sound of the strike was not that of thunder, but rather three powerful, rapidly successive explosions which, for those of us who didn’t see the preceding lightening flash, made it all the more mysterious and frightening!

    23. Tracy says:

      Was the big bolt we heard on the UWS a separate strike from the WTC lightning this morning? I am at the intersection mentioned in this article and it certainly felt “right here,” but this is the only mention I’ve seen of it! If there was a lightning strike near 70th and Riverside, where did that lightning hit?

    24. elliot says:

      We heard it on the Upper East Side as well

    25. Rosie Ehrenkranz Cohen says:

      I thought it might have been Russia It was frightening. My puppies were shaking The apt on 79th street lit up
      Yes, so much for a sleep in !!

    26. John says:

      The flash was so bright I momentarily thought Putin had lost patience with conventional war.

      • ECM says:

        No, that’s probably a week from now, May 9. This was just Nature’s practice drill. Did everyone remember to duck & cover?

    27. Gail P Dubov says:

      The loud boom woke me up and continued for a few seconds. I honestly thought it was a bomb and Putin was retaliating for our helping Ukraine. When I realized it was thunder, I just thought about all the Ukrainians who hear that frightening sound all day. We are all lucky.

    28. Mary S. says:

      Shook me awake up here on W. 125th. Frightening. Also unsettling how many of us – with good reason – immediately assumed a worst-case scenario.

    29. Julie Brickman says:

      The lightning shock was so strong I went to check if my building, a low rise at West End and 73rd had been hit. Thank you for publishing the information I needed

    30. RS says:

      At 74th Street we thought a building exploded. 6am boom and then a few car alarms.

    31. Carmella Ombrello says:

      It may not have been the loudest thunder boom I’ve ever heard, but it came close. I hope it, and the sudden, unpredictable rain squalls of the last couple of months, convince a few of the Misinformation Mavens that climate change does indeed exist, and is indeed upon us.

    32. ST says:

      I thought it was just another giant, fully laden truck illegally speeding down the block that hit the speed bump. Same boom.