how the grand canyon was formed

This happened here yesterday.
No one knew quite what to call it. Residents and office-bound workers near the corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan approached it suspiciously, investigating yet another addition to the gorges that punish vehicles and texture New York's streets.

But if this was a pothole, it was a new breed - it was so deep it looked like an excavation site. Construction workers showed up and blocked off the street. Heavy construction equipment - backhoe loaders, actually - rolled down the block. Barricades were set up to keep the curious away.

Maybe a meteor had hit, one person remarked, or perhaps someone decided to install a seven-foot-deep pool in the middle of 56th Street, in front of a deli and a sushi restaurant.

"I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this," said Ivan Sabio, the superintendent at 29 West 56th Street. "This is a first."

It took some time before Mr. Sabio and the others straining their necks for a glimpse into the mother of all potholes figured it out.

About 7 p.m. Sunday, a privately owned service line connected to the water main on 56th Street broke, and tons of dirt holding up the heavy asphalt above was washed away. With no support, the pavement gave way, opening a 20-by-15-foot chasm in the middle of Midtown and depriving some buildings of hot water and air-conditioning all morning. No one was reported hurt and no cars were lost.

"I told my son that that's exactly how the Grand Canyon was formed. . . "
It's the Grand Canyon of New York! And now I have to get to work.

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