Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Flight 90 Crash and Nils Lofgren
Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Air Florida Flight 90 hitting the 14th St. Bridge, killing 74 passengers and four people who were on the bridge. I remember that day well. It was snowy, I was home from college for Christmas break. I generally worked during those breaks, taking crazy temporary jobs with Manpower. But I was home that day, I think it was the last day before I returned to school. I remember spending a lot of time watching the aftermath of the crash on tv. Occasionally, I'd go outside and check out the snow, sometimes you'd hear the wail of emergency vehicles heading to or from the crash site, sometimes you could hear the rhythm of rescue helicopters. It was a sad situation.

That night, me and a couple of my friends (let's call them Shortstop and Celtics Fan) had tickets to see Nils Lofgren at the Bayou. This was supposed to be our last night out together before going back to school, we were looking forward to that, and, of course, to seeing Nils. Due to the snow, and the fact that because of the crash traffic was screwed up, we figured the show would be cancelled. We called the Bayou every hour, and finally got somebody who answered, and said that the show was still on. Actually, both shows were still on, he was doing an early one and a later one. So if we didn't go, we would be out the cost of the ticket (probably $12 or so back then). And besides, we really wanted to go. SS and I knew that we weren't going to be getting to use the family vehicles, I didn't even think that the roads were cleared enough to get into or out of my neighborhood. But CF lived only a block or so from Washington Blvd., which would have been plowed, and he had his own car and he was tenacious and wasn't going to be stopped by a near blizzard. So we devised a plan, where SS and I would walk to the Surplus Center, on Washington Blvd., where we would meet CF in his car. I'm still not quite sure on how I sold my parents on the fact that this was a good idea.

The plan worked. SS and I met outside of Surplus Center, and were soon joined by CF. Wilson Blvd. was plowed, so we were able to make it to Key Bridge. I don't recall how we made it through Georgetown, but we did. Due to everything that happened that day, it was a small crowd. The show was great. I remember being in the back of the balcony at the Bayou, where you couldn't see the stage but you could see Nils apparently jumping higher and higher in the air, he seemed super-human. Once I moved up, I could see that he was using a mini-tramp. Impressive.

We were able to stay for the second show, so we got a great dose of Nils. Afterwards, since we were 20 and everything, we thought we'd try to see how close we could get to the 14th St. Bridge. We decided on making an approach from the 9th St. Tunnel (I think, it was some tunnel, and I can't think of any other one that it could be). We didn't make it that close to the bridge before we were stopped by one of a zillion cops. He asked us what we were doing, we said we were just coming back from a concert. He suggested we go home, good advice that we took.

That was a long time ago, I feel like I've gone back and forth on that bridge a million times since then. It doesn't really snow here anymore, I think yesterday it got as high as 70. Nils has achieved a different kind of fame, as Springsteen's guitarist. The Bayou has been closed for too long a time. I still have a lot of great times with Shortstop, but, sadly, Celtics Fan hasn't been around for a long time.


Ed. said...

Great post. Some things about that day I remembered incorrectly. I was at school in WV, but for some reason I thought the crash happened at night, after you guys had already gone out for the show. What time was the crash?

Hard to believe it's been that long. For all of it.

tadcranky said...

It definitely happened in the morning, my recollection is that it had happened by the time I got out of bed (which probably wasn't real early).