Two weeks ago I was in New York City for the Audio Engineering Society convention, so Kevin (Major Metal) organized a meetup in Manhattan with some NYC-area TBers. I arrived at 7 P.M. at the Heartland Brewery on 43rd St, near Times Square. The Major, Michael, and Dave were already there, and we found each other easily even though I'd never met any of them before. Here's Major Metal: Here's Michael: And here's Dave: It was a blast meeting these guys, and they're all really cool people. I like brews that I can't see through, so I drank a couple pints of the brewery's fine oatmeal stout, and a buffalo burger with fries for dinner. Here we are at the table (from left to right: Bob (me), Dave, Kevin, and Michael): Dave's from Scotland originally, so he told us of St Andrews, which he said was the only Scottish bar in all of New York. It was only a block north of where we were, so we walked to it. St Andrews served Scottish beers and ales, as well as scotch whisky, including 195 different single malts. Decision, decisions I went for the Bruichladdich. The other guys started with some beers. Here are Michael, Dave, and Kevin: Here are Michael and me: And Dave, Kevin, and me: We sat there enjoying the good drinks and good craic, and even the UConn-Syracuse football game was on the nearby TV, which the Huskies won handily. It doens't get any better than this, at least not without hockey, too. Suddenly several FDNY firefighters walked in the front door, in their boots, coats, helmets, oxygen tanks, et al., and they headed toward the back where the stairs were that led down to the basement and the mens and ladies rooms. We were surprised to see them until we noticed the smoke rising up from a manhole cover in the street, just outside the bar's front door. An underground transformer had caught fire. There was no point in us leaving and breathing the acrid smoke outside, so we stayed for--I think--two more rounds of drinks. Even the firefighters said we should stay if we didn't really need to leave. Soon, the lights started flickering intermittently as a result of the transformer burning. The flickering went on now and then for about 45 minutes or so before the electricity went out completely. By that time, the flames and smoke were belching out of the manhole cover. I didn't think to snap pictures of the fire until the flames had died down below their peak, but here they are, as seen through the front window: Kevin had to leave before the rest of us did, so we said our goodbyes and I thanked him for organizing the night. The other remaining patrons, the waitstaff, the firemen, and we three just waited around, illuminated only by the bar's emergency lights. It reminded me of waiting out a storm with a bunch of strangers. There wasn't much else to do but chat with everyone, have a laugh, and finish our drinks. Dave quipped that he'd always dreamed of being trapped in a bar, but the experience wasn't as good as he'd anticipated. Finally, the bar manager decided to close down, so one by one we stepped into the bar's entryway, closed the inside door, took a breath, and then stepped through the outside door and made our way briskly toward Times Square and cleaner air. Thanks to Michael, Dave, and Kevin for a really good time, and extra thanks to Kevin for making it happen.