On a sunny Thursday afternoon, October 5th, 1950, as people made their way back from lunch, Greenpoint’s Polish working class neighborhood was suddenly torn wide open.
Without warning a huge explosion suddenly vaporized a 10 foot section of the intersection at Manhattan Ave and Huron St, and manhole covers over a three block area went flying into the air some shooting up over three stories, before crashing back onto the street.
WIndows were shattered all along Manhattan Ave. and the explosion was so loud and forceful the people thought Brooklyn had been hit by an atom bomb. Amazingly only three people were injured.
Despite investigations, what ultimately caused the explosion was never discovered, though the assumed culprit was a build up of gases from one of the nearby refineries, likely Standard Oil.
Visit New York State with Atlas Obscura Trips
Only in Queens: Tasting Our Way Through New York’s Most Diverse Borough
Manhattan may have name-brand recognition and Brooklyn a certain cache, but Queens is the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Join us, October 4-7, to dig into Queens’ rich neighborhood life.