Boom! Newmark’s Brokers In Exile After Steam Explosion

“At around 6 p.m., I heard this long roar and looked out my window and saw people running. My first impression was that, contrary to other people, one of the buildings under construction was coming down. I immediately got my secretary and rounded up everyone I saw on the floor and took us down a staircase that I knew would come out on the 42nd Street side because it didn’t look like I wanted to be on 41st Street.”

These words, from Newmark Knight Frank president Jimmy Kuhn, describe the moments at 125 Park Avenue last Wednesday as a steam pipe ruptured at the corner of Lexington and 41st Street.

It’s a harrowing story, but unfortunately for Mr. Kuhn and the 160 or so brokers at Newmark, it’s the last time they were at their office. Six days after the explosion, the building remains locked in a frozen zone that is inaccessible to the leasing brokers.

Newmark, which didn’t have phone or voice mail use for several days, has used makeshift offices in buildings they manage, like the Lincoln Building, and in space downtown on Wall Street.

Mr. Kuhn described it as a headache, but said Newmark brokers were working normally and added, “everyone has laptops and BlackBerrys. I will tell you the BlackBerry is the difference between if this happened 10 years ago or today.”