I live in Madrid since 95 but for 18 years before that I lived in NYC. Living in Madrid I had forgotten how dangerous life in USA was.  In Madrid we don´t have hurricantes, flash floods,  tornados, no major thunderstorms, no extreme swings in weather that could actually be lethal (Madrid is never that cold that a person could freeze to death on the streets). Spending these days between Manhattan and the Hamptons I am reminded of how dangerous life around here is. In Spain we don´t have conversations about the weather. But over here people have them because the weather is hard to ignore. This morning I woke up to one of those thunderstorms that sound like warfare. It was so tough that I could not sleep. Later I found out that we could not go to the Hamptons because most of Long Island was flooded, that 4 Long Island homes had caught fire because of lightning, that there was a major tornado in Islip, that thousands of basements were flooded. So we made the safe choice and stayed in Manhattan until we heard a loud noise that turned out to be a major explosion caused by a bursting steamed pipe that made a transformer blow up.  The latest I hear is that one person was killed and 26 injured.   All this happened at the NYC Library a place we had passed before with our baby seemingly safely tucked in his stroller. Also during ths afternoon I saw A Mighty Heart, a film about terrorism that reminded me of how this city was attacked in 1993 (I had a chance to witness the first WTC attack and used to work in that building years before it) and in 2001. And when I was watching the film I was frequently thinking about how the Bush Administration made the problem of radical Islam worsen and how much easier it must be for Osama Bin Laden and others to recruit now as opposed to 10 years ago. Is the next attack on Manhattan going to be nuclear? Unlikely but not impossible.  And the paradox on this danger is that overall NYC is an extremely tolerant, thriving, very successful place run by a moderate mayor (with whom I had a chance to have dinner last Friday) who is a model for top management in government. Well, I know that today was a particularily bad day. Maybe things are not that extreme. But they certainly seemed out of control during the last 24 hours.

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ANDY on July 19, 2007  · 

Strange, this ConEdison FAQ says the cast iron pipes were all replaced with steel as of 1999, but the news says this pipe was from 1929.


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PG on July 19, 2007  · 

I couldn’t disagree more with this post. Madrid and NY are very different indeed but the comparison you’re drawing is unfair; it would be like comparing 11-M in Madrid to a placid springtime afternoon in Central Park. Security and safety? Both cities have similar crime rates but Madrid has many more terrorist attacks on the record than NY (without the government-generated paranoia though). Weather? Okay, you can’t freeze to death in Madrid – but what about those 3 months a year when you’re at 45 degrees and it feels like someone has turned on a giant hairdryer on you? Floods in NY are bad, but so is the drought in Madrid. The list goes on and on… On a personal note, I’m also Jewish, born in Argentina, raised between BsAs and NYC, lived many years in Madrid (I live in London now), and I’m an Internet entrepreneur (not as successful as you but I’ve had a nice couple of exits :)) – I really enjoy your posts and usually agree with your p.o.v…. except when you write about the wonders of that huge town nailed in the middle of Spain they call Madrid.

3.0 rating

Miguel on July 20, 2007  · 

Hi think that is not possible compare Madrid and New York. Madrid is good city if you live in a good neighborhood, but if you live in carabanchel, san blas it is not safe. I agree that Spain is away of natural disasters, but the rates of crimes and violence are incresing in Madrid, The user who post 2 comment can send me an email to migvalencia@gmail.com, I am also Spanish entrepreneur of internet, living in London. Thanks Martin for your Blog.

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