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Beaumont Building
April 26, 1997: early on a Sunday morning, hundreds of people gathered on the normally empty sidewalks of Midtown. After a long wait, the air was rattled by 400 pounds of dynamite going off in carefully orchestrated sequence. In a matter of seconds, 70 years of history ended as the Beaumont collapsed into rubble. The crowd cheered. I didn't.

I have witnessed five building implosions, and this is the only one where I felt my heart wrench as the building went down. Watching the buff-colored bricks spill like a liquid from the cornice, then seeing the rest fall straight down into the rising dust cloud, was akin to seeing a piece of fine art burned.

Once the dust had cleared, the rubble was a sorry sight indeed. The cornice looked as if it had done a face-plant into the street. Surviving bits of trim poked from the rubble, as if trying to remind witnesses of what had just been lost.

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